COLUMBUS, Ohio – Finally, Josh Oglesby was facing questions about the shots he made instead of the ones he missed.
"It's a lot better," the Iowa shooting guard said Tuesday to a chorus of laughs after he scored several key buckets during Iowa's 71-65 win at Ohio State to open the Big Ten Conference season.
Oglesby's shooting struggles had been well-documented through the nonconference season. His percentages have hovered in the low 20s. But he stood up to media questions, and coach Fran McCaffery and Hawkeyes like Mike Gesell preached their faith in Oglesby.
What better place than Value City Arena to show your worth.
"I'm just so proud of him," McCaffery said. "He just keeps battling."
The 6-foot-5 senior delivered maybe the game's biggest bucket as the Hawkeyes were in a dry spell – a pull-up jumper in the free-throw lane after Ohio State got to within 63-60. He got a defensive rebound on the other end, which led to Jarrod Uthoff's 3-pointer and an eight-point lead.
"That's what seniors do, man," fellow senior Aaron White said.
"All the plays he made were feel plays. If somebody would've stepped up, he probably would've kicked down to me or kicked it out. He took what was there."
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Midway through the second half, with the shot clock winding down, it was Oglesby that swished a 25-foot, contested 3-pointer to put Iowa up 57-45.
"If you're a shooter, you've got to be able to make a play off the dribble for yourself or for someone else," McCaffery said. "And that's what he did. And I thought his defense was spectacular."
Oglesby responded well to more minutes after starter Peter Jok got into early foul trouble. His line: eight points, three rebounds, two assists, no turnovers in 27 minutes. He was 3-for-6 from the floor, 50 percent. He entered at 25 percent (17-for-68), a number that brought out the what's-wrong questions.
Baby steps. Giant win.
"This helped me and my confidence," Oglesby said. "I'm just ready to play Nebraska now (on Monday)."
Hawkeye players, led by Mike Gesell, are fired up after beating Ohio State to open the Big Ten season.
Russell shut down: Star freshman D'Angelo Russell had his worst shooting game of the year for Ohio State – 4-for-16, including 1-of-8 from 3-point range.
Russell scored 13 points. He averaged 17.1. He was 7-for-8 with 24 points in his previous game against Wright State.
"The only thing we did was respect him and lock into him," McCaffery said, "and try to make him work."
Ohio Homecoming: Iowa's White was likely playing his final college game in his native Ohio. The Strongsville native counted about 30 family and friends – and a warmer reception on a weekday-afternoon game than he got here last year.
"Last year they kind of booed me. I think that was the students," White grinned. "They're not a big fan of myself, I guess."
Final shots: Jarrod Uthoff has 28 points, 19 rebounds and 10 assists in his last two games. "He could be a special player in this league. The last two games, I thought, he's been spectacular," McCaffery said. … The last time Iowa won consecutive games in Columbus was 2003 and 2004. … The Hawkeyes and Buckeyes meet again Saturday, Jan. 17 in Carver-Hawkeye Arena – Iowa's fifth Big Ten game. That'll be a 1 p.m. start.