What Iowa did that 'stunned' Thad Matta

Chad Leistikow
Ohio State Buckeyes head coach Thad Matta (left) and assistant Jeff Boals react during the second half of the Hawkeyes 71-65 win over the Ohio State Buckeyes at Value City Arena.

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Just where did these Hawkeyes come from?

An Iowa basketball team that struggled to score, period, against Northern Iowa 10 days earlier couldn't be stopped for a while Tuesday in Value City Arena.

Hawkeye fans, you weren't the only ones surprised.

"They stunned us early by pushing the ball up the floor," Ohio State coach Thad Matta said after his No. 20 Buckeyes fell, 71-65. "They scored 17 points in the first four minutes."

Actually, it was 3:58. And it happened in Iowa's first eight possessions for a 17-5 lead.

Chalk it up to an aggressive game plan from coach Fran McCaffery and assistant Sherman Dillard. Iowa drew two shooting fouls in the first 55 seconds. Peter Jok and Jarrod Uthoff drained 3-pointers. Aaron White slammed home one of his four dunks. A Mike Gesell jumper banked in.

This was not the same Iowa team that went 3-for-24 with 10 turnovers in the second half of a 56-44 loss to UNI.

"They came out in the 2-2-1, and we really attacked their press," Gesell said. "They want to slow you down with that. … We attacked it, and they were back on their heels a little bit."

Iowa's hot start helped produce a 46-percent shooting night (23-for-50) – a huge improvement from the season percentage of 40.7 that rated 277th nationally before Tuesday.

Any inklings this was coming?

"Nothing different," Gesell said. "We have great shooters on this team. Some days you're going to be hot, some days you're not."