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Men’s Basketball: No. 16 Ohio State hopes to avoid three-game losing streak against Iowa

Ohio State sophomore forward Kyle Young (25) and sophomore forward Kaleb Wesson (34) defend against a member of South Carolina State’s basketball team during the first half of the game on Nov. 18. Ohio State won 89-61. Credit: Amal Saeed | Assistant Photo Editor

After losing two straight games, including Wednesday’s 64-61 defeat to Rutgers, Ohio State is in danger of its first three-game losing streak in the Chris Holtmann era.

But the Ohio State head coach said he wasn’t thinking about any added pressure, and neither was freshman guard Duane Washington.

“We’re just treating it like every other game,” Washington said. “We’re gonna take the same approach, and we’re gonna go there and we’re gonna do what we gotta do.”

To avoid the record losing streak, the Buckeyes go on the road to face Iowa, a team that has won nine of its first 10 games at home.

Projected Starters

No. 16 Ohio State (12-3, 2-2 Big Ten)

G — C.J. Jackson — Senior, 13.1 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 3.9 apg

G — Luther Muhammad — Freshman, 9.7 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 2.0 apg

G — Keyshawn Woods — Redshirt senior, 7.7 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 3.3 apg

F — Andre Wesson — Junior, 7.3 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 1.7 apg

F — Kaleb Wesson — Sophomore, 17.1 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 1.5 apg

Iowa (13-3, 2-3 Big Ten)

G — Jordan Bohannon — Junior, 11.1 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 2.8 apg

G — Isaiah Moss — Redshirt junior, 9.3 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 2.4 apg

G — Joe Wieskamp — Freshman, 11.4 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 0.9 apg

F — Tyler Cook — Junior, 17.3 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 2.7 apg

F — Luka Garza — Sophomore, 12.6 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 0.9 apg

The Hawkeyes are led by junior forward Tyler Cook, who leads the team with 17.3 points and 8.3 rebounds per game.

But Cook is not 100 percent for the matchup against Ohio State, with the junior forward missing Iowa’s previous game against Northwestern with a knee injury.

Holtmann said, regardless if Cook plays, that the Hawkeyes are not a team defined by any single player.

“When you look at their teams in the past is he’s always had really good depth,” Holtmann said. “They’ve got great balance and great depth that’s why it’s hard to key on just one guy.”

Iowa is the No. 36 team in the country according to KenPom, and have wins against Iowa State and Nebraska, who, at No. 12 and No. 16, rank ahead of the Buckeyes, who sit at No. 26.

The Scarlet Knights found ways to score off a size advantage in the middle. The Hawkeyes work more around the perimeter, shooting 23.1 attempts from 3 per night.

However, Iowa also finds a way to the charity stripe 22 times per game, compared to its opponents, who average 11.4 free throw attempts a night.

The 463 free-throw attempts this season is No. 1 in the NCAA.

“In order to get to the line, I think you have to have seekers and not avoiders, and they have big-bodied seekers that are seeking contact, guards that are seeking contact,” Holtmann said. “They’re getting to the line better than anybody in the country.”

No. 16 Ohio State takes on Iowa on the road at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday.

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