COLUMBUS, Ohio -- With No. 15 Ohio State clinging to a four-point lead over Iowa, Deshaun Thomas blocked a layup in the final minute to preserve a 72-63 victory over Iowa on Tuesday night. Thomas, who scored a game-high 16 points, blocked Mike Gesell's layup, corralled the rebound and sank two free throws to seal the win. Aaron Craft and Lenzelle Smith Jr. added 12 points each for Ohio State (14-4, 4-2 Big Ten) while Evan Ravenel scored 11 off the bench. Iowa (13-6, 2-4) was led by Aaron White, who scored 13 points to go with seven rebounds. After closing out the first half on a 15-6 run to make it a 12-point game at the break, Ohio State kept the momentum going early in the second half. They came out of the break on a 19-9 run keyed by Thomas, who had managed only five points in the first half. Thomas looked like he was finally starting to find that familiar rhythm when an errant elbow caught him just inside the temple area around his right eye. He was bleeding on the floor and had to go to the locker room with Ohio State leading Iowa 53-36. However, he already had scored nine points to start the second half. Thomas returned with less than eight minutes to play. By then, Ohio State's lead had been cut to 14, at 54-40. Iowa freshman Anthony Clemens drained a 3-pointer to make it an eight-point game with just under six minutes to play and Ohio native Aaron White cut it to five with a jumper at the 2:33 mark. The lead would eventually get down to four, forcing Thad Matta to call timeout with 1:17 to play in the game. That set up the block by Thomas, which sparked a 9-4 run for the Buckeyes to close out the game. The Buckeyes owned a 34-22 lead at intermission. With his first steal of the game off White, Craft became Ohio State's all-time career leader with 205 steals. Craft would spend the last eight minutes of the first half on the bench after picking up his second foul. Backup Shannon Scott keyed a 15-9 run to close out the first half against visiting Iowa (13-5, 2-3 Big Ten). Scott, who missed the potential game-tying 3-pointer against Michigan State on Saturday, had four points and three assists in 13 minutes off the bench, as 15th-ranked Ohio State (13-4, 3-2) took a 34-22 lead into the locker room at halftime. Thomas had just five points in the first half after scoring 28 during the Buckeyes' 59-56 loss in East Lansing. Craft went scoreless with two assists and two turnovers in 12 minutes, but OSU head coach Thad Matta got eight points from Smith along with seven points and five rebounds from LaQuinton Ross, who came off the bench to give them some good minutes in the first half. The Buckeyes connected on four of their first five shots out of the gate to take an 8-5 lead in the early going of Tuesday night. The Hawkeyes started just 3-14 from the floor in their first game since upsetting Wisconsin 70-66 on Saturday. Iowa did hold an 11-10 lead at the under-12 timeout thanks to some early domination on the boards. The Hawkeyes out-rebounded Ohio State 23-15 in the first half, including an impressive 11-2 edge on the offensive glass. They turned that into 10 second chance points, but that accounted for nearly half of their first half offense. The Buckeyes held Iowa to just 8 of 32 shooting in the first half, including a 3 of 10 on 3-pointers. Ohio State shot nearly 54 percent in the first half of basketball back on their home floor. NOTES: Craft recorded the 205th steal of his collegiate career in the first half of Tuesday night's game. With that steal, Craft broke a tie with Jay Burson for the most career thefts in OSU school history. ... Craft played only 12 minutes in the first half because of foul trouble. ... After scoring 28 points on 10-of-20 shooting in the loss at Michigan State on Saturday, Thomas was limited to five points in the first half of Tuesday. He took only five shots, making two of them.
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