COLUMBUS, Ohio -- 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."
Melsahn Besabe had 11 points and 10 rebounds, Mike Gesell added 11 points and Jarrod Uthoff had 10 off the bench for the Hawkeyes (14-3, 3-1 Big Ten), who ended a string of eight straight losses to the Buckeyes.
They did it on coach Fran McCaffery’s return to the sideline. He had been suspended by the Big Ten for one game after angrily confronting the officials at last Sunday’s 75-71 loss at No. 4 Wisconsin. He sat out Thursday night’s 93-67 rout of Northwestern, with assistant Kirk Speraw filling in for him.
"What’s interesting about that, the way our guys handled that whole thing, was incredibly businesslike," McCaffery said. "They were just like, ‘Here we go. Business as usual."’
How big was the win? It erased several ugly marks the Hawkeyes had been carrying around for years.
It was Iowa’s first win over a top 5 team since an 83-65 victory at No. 2 Missouri on Dec. 15, 2001.
Iowa was 0-2 on opponents’ home courts this season coming in. Their three losses have come against teams with a combined 45-2 record (Villanova, Iowa State and Wisconsin) -- with each loss coming by five or fewer points.
The Hawkeyes had not beaten Ohio State -- one of the Big Ten’s bullies since Thad Matta came aboard a decade ago -- since 2008. They hadn’t beaten the Buckeyes in Columbus since 2004, making a long, quiet flight home on the last seven trips.
Creighton tops Xavier 95-89
OMAHA, Neb. -- Even with a bad shoulder, Doug McDermott was as good as ever for Creighton.
The two-time first-team All-American scored 35 points despite playing with a sprained left shoulder, and the Bluejays held off Xavier 95-89 Sunday to move into a tie for first place in the Big East.
"It felt a lot better when I woke up this morning, and I thought that was a good sign," McDermott said. "I really didn’t even notice it in shoot-around, so I didn’t really think about it. I thought I played well enough with it being a little sore."
McDermott’s last basket was a 3-pointer that pushed Creighton’s lead to 80-70 with 4:05 left. Xavier wasn’t done, though, pulling to 89-86 before the Bluejays put away the game at the free-throw line.
The Bluejays (14-2, 4-0) won their ninth straight game and now sit atop the Big East standings with Villanova. The Musketeers (13-4, 3-1) had their eight-game win streak ended.
Creighton, which came in shooting a league-leading 43 percent on 3-pointers, made 14 of 28. Xavier hit 12 of 26 from beyond the arc.
"I don’t know if this is what they envisioned when they reformulated the new Big East, and I’m not going to act like I’ve been coaching for 40 years, but I don’t know if I’ve been involved in that many games that were as exciting from a fan’s perspective," Xavier coach Chris Mack said. "They present so many problems, and offensively they may be one of the most talented teams I’ve ever coached or scouted against."
McDermott, who sprained his shoulder Tuesday against DePaul, made 13 of 24 shots, including 4 of 10 3s, and had seven rebounds and three assists. He had 30 or more points for the sixth time this season.
McDermott didn’t practice Wednesday or Thursday and went through light workouts Friday and Saturday. Creighton coach Greg McDermott, his dad, said he was worried Doug might get winded. The senior forward ended up playing 33 minutes, second most on the team.
"If he can get (his arm) above his head, he was going to be effective and play," Greg McDermott said. "I didn’t think he shied away from contact, he continued to make tight curls and he didn’t favor it whatsoever. They threw a lot of different things at him as far as switching and being physical. He was very efficient with what he did."
Xavier trailed by double digits much of the second half but cut it to three, 89-86, when Myles Davis hit a 3-pointer with 29 seconds left. The Musketeers cut an 11-point deficit to three points largely because Creighton missed 4 of 8 free throws over a 1:07 span.