Luka Garza scored 24 points, and No. 20-ranked Iowa led wire-to-wire in its Big Ten Conference defeat of Ohio State, 85-76, Thursday in Iowa City, Iowa.
Garza added to his case for national Player of the Year honors from the outset, opening his balanced all-around night with an assist to Connor McCaffrey. When McCaffrey nailed the 3-pointer, Iowa (19-8, 10-6 Big Ten) was off to the races.
The Hawkeyes jumped to an 18-3 lead just more than five minutes into the game, and they led by double digits for much of the night. Ryan Kriener scored 12 points, Joe Wieskamp added 13, and Bakari Evelyn chipped in 15 points off the bench.
Garza's typically productive night included six rebounds and four assists. He shot 9-of-15 from the floor, pacing the Hawkeyes to a 55.8 percent night.
Ohio State (17-9, 7-8), meanwhile, sputtered early offensively, shooting below 20 percent from behind the 3-point line for much of the night. A late barrage pulled the team's average to 30 percent, but the burst could not dig the Buckeyes from their hole.
E.J. Liddell came off the bench to record 17 points and eight rebounds for the Buckeyes, Duane Washington Jr. scored 15 points, and Kyle Young scored four of his eight points to pull Ohio State to within single-digits on two occasions.
But Iowa never let Ohio State come any closer than seven points after the initial flurry.
The Hawkeyes improved to 13-1 at home on the season. They also maintained pace amid the logjam of teams that went into Thursday tied for third in the Big Ten.
Iowa was one of four teams with six conference losses, and one of five with nine league wins. A top-four finish earns a bye to the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals.
Ohio State, meanwhile, is aiming to avoid finishing No. 11 or worse. The Big Ten's bottom four teams play two more tournament games than the conference's top four.
Wins in five of the Buckeyes' last six heading before Thursday pulled them to .500 after a slow start to Big Ten play, but they fell into a tie with Indiana for 10th place. The Hoosiers host Penn State on Sunday.
--Field Level Media