COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State men’s team started the season with 15 consecutive victories, but has dropped its last two games.
The third-ranked Buckeyes think it might be time to circle the wagons.
LaQuinton Ross scored 22 points but the Buckeyes watched No. 20 Iowa make all the big plays down the stretch to beat Ohio State 84-74 Sunday.
The loss came after the Buckeyes’ 72-68 overtime defeat at No. 5 Michigan State on Tuesday night.
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For players not accustomed to losing often, this is close to a crisis.
“The worst thing we can do is feel sorry for ourselves,” point guard Aaron Craft said. “We can’t keep this going. We have to find a way to pick ourselves up. No one’s going to do it for us. It’s the 12 players on the team and the coaches and that’s about it.”
The Buckeyes (15-2 overall, 2-2 Big Ten Conference) don’t have to look far to see what went wrong.
After averaging 10.3 turnovers a game heading into the Michigan State game, they totaled 38 in their losses.
During one span in the final minutes against Iowa, a game where they made 17 turnovers, the Buckeyes handed the ball over without a shot five times on 11 possessions.
Coach Thad Matta is mystified by his team’s turnaround on turnovers.
“I’ve got to figure that out,” he said, shaking his head.
“The biggest thing is getting our guys to understand you can’t let one mistake compound into another mistake. That’s kind of what happened to us today. We played some really good basketball — so did Iowa. They’re a great team. But it’s that consistency and understanding of what needs to be done, when it needs to be done, how it needs to be done.”
Roy Devin Marble scored 22 points and Aaron White added 19 for the Hawkeyes (14-3, 3-1), who ended the game on a 22-9 run.
It was Iowa’s first victory over a top-five team since an 83-65 upset at No. 2 Missouri on Dec. 15, 2001.
The Hawkeyes had not beaten Ohio State — one of the Big Ten’s powerhouses since Matta came aboard a decade ago — since 2008. They hadn’t beaten the Buckeyes in Columbus since 2004, making a long, quiet flight home on the last seven trips.
Craft said the two losses were not connected in any way, other than the Buckeyes didn’t play well enough in either one.
“This is just not us,” he said.
Top 5 women
No. 2 Notre Dame 79, at Virginia 72
Natalie Achonwa scored a career-high 26 points and grabbed 16 rebounds to lead the Fighting Irish (15-0, 3-0 Atlantic Coast) past the stubborn Cavaliers (8-8, 1-2).
“Welcome to the ACC,” Hall of Fame coach Muffet McGraw said after her team’s first victory by single digits this season.
Virginia was outscored 20-8 at the free-throw line.
At No. 3 Duke 78, Boston College 57
Richa Jackson scored a season-high 17 points and Haley Peters added 15 to help the Blue Devils (16-1, 3-0 ACC) beat the Eagles (10-7, 1-2).
No. 5 Louisville 62, at South Florida 54
Shoni Schimmel scored 25 points as the Cardinals (16-1, 4-0 American Athletic) held off the Bulls (8-8, 3-2).