COLUMBUS (AP) -- Almost no one for No. 14 Ohio State was thrilled with the way they played Tuesday night.
Still, the Buckeyes will take the outcome.
Deshaun Thomas, who missed part of the second half with a cut above his eye, scored 16 points and Ohio State built a 24-point lead and then hung on to beat Iowa 72-63.
"We're happy we got the win, but we're not happy with the way we got the win," post player Evan Ravenel said.
Thomas, the Big Ten's leading scorer at 21 points per game, sat out about 3 minutes while an open cut over his right eye was bandaged. He had to get what a team spokesman said was six or seven stitches to close it.
His absence came at a time when the Buckeyes (14-4, 4-2 Big Ten) seemed to lose their focus. A majority of it was Iowa contesting every play and fighting back, but it was as if they were content to just ride out the final few minutes and hope for the best.
"We didn't do it the prettiest way. We didn't finish it the way we wanted to," said point guard Aaron Craft, who set Ohio State's career mark for steals in the game. "But we got the win. We found a way to fight and get the win."
The Buckeyes led 53-29 after Ravenel hit a free throw with 12:48 left. Most in a crowd of 16,040 were itching to head for the exits and beat the rush.
Slowly but surely, however, Iowa (13-6, 2-4) knifed into the lead.
"A lot of times teams don't have the maturity or the patience to try to chip away," Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said. "That's what we did. We got it under 20, then we got it under 15, we got it under 10, we got it under 5."
He said it's important for teams to know they can't erase such a big lead quickly.
"We got a couple of turnovers, we got a couple of runouts, a couple of easy baskets, and we got to the free throw line," he said. "That's how you have to do it. You can't just start jacking 3s. It's got to be easy baskets, free throws and an occasional 3."
Aaron White, an Ohio native playing his first college game in his home state, hit the second of two foul shots with 1:30 left to cut the once huge lead down to just 63-49.
Craft added a foul shot with 1:02 left and, after forcing a turnover, Thomas made two more with 52.9 seconds remaining.
Roy Devyn Marble, who had a miserable shooting night for the Hawkeyes, then missed two free throws before Craft made two more to push the lead to 68-59 with 40 seconds left and end the threat.
"I do think in the league we're in right now you take your wins and semi-celebrate them," Ohio State coach Thad Matta said. "By the same token, you've got to look at things and say, 'OK, how do we get better?'"
NO. 3 KANSAS 59,
NO. 11 KANSAS STATE 55
MANHATTAN, Kan. -- Travis Releford scored 12 points and No. 3 Kansas held off No. 11 Kansas State down the stretch for a 59-55 victory Tuesday night that gave the Jayhawks sole possession of first place in the Big 12.
Ben McLemore and Jeff Withey added 11 points each for the Jayhawks (17-1, 5-0 Big 12), who pushed their nation-leading winning streak to 16 games and ended the Wildcats' 12-game home winning streak.
Shane Southwell, who scored a career-high 19 points, got Kansas State (15-3, 4-1) within 56-53 with a scooping layup with 38.2 seconds left. Naadir Tharpe made two foul shots to restore a five-point lead.
VILLANOVA 73, No. 5 LOUISVILLE 64
PHILADELPHIA -- Achraf Yacoubou hit the tiebreaking 3-pointer late in the second half to help Villanova to the upset.
The Wildcats (12-7, 3-3 Big East) led by as many as 10 points in the first half and rallied late in the second to send the Cardinals to their second straight loss. Louisville (16-3, 4-2) had an 11-game winning streak end in a 70-68 loss to Syracuse on Saturday.
No. 13 MICHIGAN STATE 49, WISCONSIN 47
MADISON, Wis. -- Keith Appling scored 19 points and Branden Dawson added 18 for Michigan State.
Mike Bruesewitz led Wisconsin (13-6, 4-2 Big Ten) with 10 points.
Both teams went more than 4 minutes without scoring down the stretch. Dawson broke the drought, hitting one of two from the free throw line to put the Spartans (17-3, 6-1) up 48-44 with just over 2 minutes left.
Ryan Evans' 3-pointer from the wing with 17 seconds left pulled Wisconsin within 48-47.
WAKE FOREST 86,
No. 18 N.C. STATE 84
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Freshman Devin Thomas had a season-high 25 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks for Wake Forest.
Travis McKie added 16 points for the Demon Deacons (10-8, 3-3 Atlantic Coast Conference), including two free throws with 3.4 seconds left that helped Wake Forest hold on down the stretch in a wild final 4 1/2 minutes.
N.C. State led by 16 points in the first half and 12 at halftime only to see the Demon Deacons rally and push ahead to their own 10-point lead.
No. 22 MISSOURI 71,
SOUTH CAROLINA 65
COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Earnest Ross and Jabari Brown hit key 3-pointers in the final 1:11 and Missouri overcame 5-for-27 shooting from long range and a 13-point second-half deficit.
Ross had a career-best 21 points and Brown had 17 for Missouri (14-4, 3-2 Southeastern Conference), which is 11-0 at home this season and has won 12 straight at the Mizzou Arena.
Brown had eight points in a 20-2 run that gave Missouri a five-point lead with just under 12 minutes to go. Alex Oriakhi was 10 for 10 at the line and fouled out in the final minute with 18 points and 11 rebounds for the Tigers, who won despite 33 percent overall shooting.
ILLINOIS 71, NEBRASKA 51
LINCOLN, Neb. -- D.J. Richardson scored a career-high 30 points, Brandon Paul added 14 and Illinois ended a three-game losing streak with a 71-51 victory over Nebraska on Tuesday night.
Illinois (15-5, 2-4 Big Ten) held Nebraska without a field goal for the last 8:51 of the first half and led 35-23 at the break. The Huskers got no closer than six points the rest of the way.
Dylan Talley had 16 points and Brandon Ubel added 10 for the Cornhuskers (10-10, 1-6).
John Groce, in his first year at Illinois, recorded his 100th win in five seasons as a head coach.
The Illini shot 45 percent and committed 14 turnovers, but they had more offensive rebounds (12) than Nebraska had total rebounds (10) in the first half and finished with a 40-28 advantage on the boards.
Nebraska was 2 of 14 on 3s and shot 32 percent for the game.