- Associated Press - Thursday, February 11, 2016

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - If there’s been a knock on No. 7 Ohio State this season, it’s that the Buckeyes can let inferior opponents hang around on the road.

Ohio State on Thursday night had no trouble showing what it can do wherever it plays, blasting Iowa 98-81 in a gym where the Buckeyes have struggled for years. Kelsey Mitchell and Shayla Cooper each scored 20 and Ohio State won its eighth straight.

Ameryst Alton had 18 with six assists for the Buckeyes (20-4, 12-1 Big Ten), who also won in Iowa City for the first time in eight years.

“To come in here and get a win is a big deal,” Ohio State coach Kevin McGuff said.

The Buckeyes had little trouble with the reeling Hawkeyes (15-10, 5-8) this time though, pushing a 14-point halftime lead to as much as 23 late in the third quarter.

Ally Disterhoft had 20 points, seven rebounds and five assists for Iowa, losers of three straight and six of eight.

Ohio State never trailed Monday in a 94-86 win over No. 5 Maryland that put it alone atop the Big Ten standings.

The Buckeyes carried that momentum to Iowa City, burying the Hawkeyes long before the thought of an upset could cross their minds.

“We did a good job getting balance from our offense and not just settling for 3s the whole game,” McGuff said.

Ohio State hit 6 of its first 10 tries from 3 and led by 13 after just a quarter. Disterhoft kept the Hawkeyes from being blown out by starting 6 of 8 from the field, and back-to-back 3s from Alexa Kastanek brought Iowa within 47-39. But the Buckeyes closed the first half with three easy baskets that put them ahead 14.

“I thought we had really good energy to start the game,” McGuff said. “We really got the pace going to our liking, and I knew that was going to be a big key.”

A 12-2 Buckeyes run early in the third quarter, highlighted by three straight layups from Cooper, essentially put the game out of reach.

Ohio State’s 17-point win was its largest on the road in Big Ten play.

“They’re obviously a very, very good team with a lot of scorers out there. A lot of weapons,” Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said. “The 10-0 run at the end of the first quarter was just a really tough one for us.”

Kastanek scored 15 points and Whitney Jennings had 14 for the Hawkeyes.

TIP-INS

Ohio State: The Buckeyes’ four losses came to No. 1 Connecticut, No. 2 South Carolina, No. 3 Notre Dame and Northwestern. … Asia Doss finished with 12 points and seven assists.

Iowa: The Hawkeyes streak of NCAA Tournament appearances is in jeopardy. Iowa has reached the tournament eight years running - and it reached the Sweet 16 a year ago. … Freshman Megan Gustafson had 13 points with 11 rebounds.

STAT LINES

Ohio State outscored Iowa in the paint 54-40. …The Hawkeyes started four underclassmen as they continue to rebuild from last year’s Sweet 16 team. …Alexa Hart had 13 points, eight rebounds and five blocks for Ohio State.

COURTSIDE

Mitchell had a rough possession in the third quarter, rolling her ankle and falling on her hand on the same play. She limped for a few series but stayed in the game. “I’m fine,” Mitchell said.

UP NEXT

Ohio State plays at Penn State on Sunday.

Iowa travels to Minnesota on Monday.

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Follow Luke Meredith on Twitter at www.twitter.com/LukeMeredithAP and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/LukeMeredithAP

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