COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — There’s an invisible line that a good team must cross to become a national or even conference contender.
Iowa climbed over that mental barrier on Sunday.
Roy Devin Marble scored 22 points, Aaron White added 19 and the 20th-ranked Hawkeyes ended the game on a 22-9 run to hand No. 3 Ohio State its second loss of the week, 84-74.
It was a watershed game for a program that has fallen short in big games continually over the past several years.
”This is the biggest one,” said Marble, a senior who has been on the front line of the Hawkeyes’ fits and starts lately. ”It’s the most important one. Now, to have done this, this is the biggest one – thus far.”
They did it by playing their best when they have frequently buckled – with the game on the line in the closing minutes. Three times this season they had top 10 teams down by double digits but couldn’t close the deal.
Not this time.
”We’ve proven all year long that we’re one of the top teams,” said White, who stuck it to the biggest powerhouse in his home state. ”This finally puts it on our resume to signify that. We’ve been up on teams that are highly ranked, but we’ve lost those games down the stretch by not making key plays. I’m really happy, because that’s all we’ve been stressing, the 40-minute game and playing to win. And that’s what we did.”