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IOWA 76, OHIO STATE 67: ALL HAIL ANDREW WHITE

(Well, I can't really call this one "White Power," after all.)

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Aaron White—or, as Dan Dakich repeatedly referred to him, "Andrew White"—took over the second half as Iowa held off visiting Ohio State and moved to 4-1 in Big Ten play, winning 76-67.

What's particularly big about Iowa's spot in the Big Ten mix is that even coming into the game, Iowa had played the toughest Big Ten slate thus far, according to KenPom.com's conference SOS ratings. Ken Pomeroy also still had Ohio State as the second-best team in the Big Ten (and we trust KenPom more than, say, RPI) so that gap between Iowa and the rest of the B1G will only widen once these results are plugged in. [UPDATE, 4:30 p.m.: Iowa's Conference SOS seems to have dropped to third by a minuscule amount. I don't understand this stat fully, apparently. Huh.] To be tied for the Big Ten lead even in the middle of this monstrous first half of the schedule (more on that later) is a major victory for this Hawkeye squad.

Ohio State's a very talented and athletic team, but it's not a large or particularly deep team inside, and Iowa's inside players repeatedly victimized Ohio State's post defenders. Aaron White scored a team-high 22 points, with 18 coming in the second half. Adam Woodbury put together his single best game as a Hawkeye, recording his first career double-double (13 points, 10 rebounds) in Big Ten play. White and Woodbury combined for 25 of Iowa's last 31 points of the ballgame, and that's even taking into consideration the three game-finishing free throws from Mike Gesell and Jarrod Uthoff. Nobody on OSU fouled out (mostly because the Buckeyes weren't close enough to foul very much late) but Iowa drew 18 fouls on the Buckeyes' forwards and centers in 120 combined minutes of play. By comparison, even in a foul-happy game, Iowa's bigs only committed 11.

Iowa jumped on the Buckeyes early, scoring on its first four possessions on the backs of three steals and staking a 9-0 lead. The Buckeyes chipped into that lead early, but it was 37-26 by halftime, and Ohio State never got closer than six points in the second half (68-62, and Iowa hit a free throw on the next possession, so OSU was never so much as in position to make it a one-possession game).

We mentioned that Woodbury played his best game as a Hawkeye; White's performance was way up there for himself too. Eighteen points in one half is stellar, and he played with such confidence that he was utterly unguardable down the stretch, and as Ohio State's offense heated up the Buckeyes still had no chance to make a serious run at Iowa's lead. White was a true point forward, bringing the ball up and beating his man straight off the dribble with impunity, and also attacking the rim from the post with authority and cleaning up second chances. Truly, he had a great game.

That's great, because Uthoff was mostly quiet, as can be expected with OSU's perimeter defense staying in Uthoff's face for the whole game. Uthoff wasn't making many mistakes or hoisting up bad shots, so kudos to him for maintaining excellent recognition of his opportunities and not forcing when they're not there, but that's about all the praise we can give him for a seven-point, five-rebound afternoon.

Dominique Uhl was fearless and his progress is apparent. He was a no-show down the stretch, which is absolutely fine (he's still not one of the eight best players on the team at this moment, but his presence in the first half indicates that he's being expected to be good soon), but he displayed great footwork on defense and is beginning to develop an inside-outside offensive game that may make him a matchup nightmare once his instincts mature.

Mike Gesell also played with tremendous confidence and it had a notable impact on the way the team played as a whole. You'll notice Iowa didn't have its customary second-half swoon (yes, the lead diminished from 16 to 6, but that was as much both teams' shooting correcting to more normal percentages as anything; that's basketball) and a big part of that was Gesell's ability to keep Iowa's offense running more-or-less smoothly and not committing silly turnovers.

It's also easy to avoid cold snaps when you can get to the free throw line with ease, and sure enough White led the parade there down the stretch. White was 10-12 from the line as Iowa was 25-for-35 as a team, including 6-for-8 in the final five minutes.

This isn't quite a "Move Your Feet" win—it's not like OSU was ranked, or like Iowa hadn't already beaten the Buckeyes in Columbus this season—but it keeps Iowa tied for first in the Big Ten. With two of the next three games against Wisconsin (sandwiching a deceptively difficult game at Purdue), where Iowa sits in the Big Ten hierarchy coming down the stretch will be decided in the next few weeks. But here we are right now, and it's pretty cool.