COLUMBUS, Ohio — There's a line that separates a good team from a national or conference contender.
Iowa climbed over that mental barrier Sunday.
Roy Devyn Marble had 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 in a week, 84-74.
It was a watershed game for a program that has fallen short in big games continually for several years.
"It's the most important one,'' said Marble, a senior who has been on the front line of the Hawkeyes' fits and starts lately. "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 didn't close the deal.
"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."
Melsahn Besabe had 11 points and 10 rebounds for the Hawkeyes (14-3, 3-1 Big Ten), who had lost eight in a row to the Buckeyes (15-2, 2-2).
Iowa coach Fran McCaffery returned after serving a one-game suspension from the Big Ten. He confronted officials a week earlier in a 75-71 loss at No. 4 Wisconsin.
NO. 1 ARIZ. 73, USC 53: Brandon Ashley and T.J. McConnell each had a season-high 19 points for the visiting Wildcats (17-0, 4-0 Pac-12), off to the best start in school history.
NO. 12 LOUISVILLE 71, SMU 63: Luke Hancock had a career-high 23 points and hit two free throws with 46 seconds left for the host Cardinals (14-3, 3-1 AAC) in a meeting of Hall of Fame coaches, Louisville's Rick Pitino and the Mustangs' Larry Brown.
NO. 13 SAN DIEGO ST. 79, AIR FORCE 72: JJ O'Brien had 18 points and 11 rebounds as the visiting Aztecs (14-1, 3-0 MWC) won their 13th straight game, the second-longest winning streak in school history.
WASH. 71, NO. 15 COLO. 54: C.J. Wilcox had career highs of seven 3-pointers and 31 points, and the host Huskies snapped a 12-game losing streak against ranked teams. The Buffaloes (14-3, 3-1 Pac-12) never recovered after leading scorer Spencer Dinwiddie crumbled late in the first half when his left knee buckled.
STANFORD 82, NO. 17 OREGON 80: Anthony Brown had a career-high 24 points as the visiting Cardinal sent the Ducks (13-3, 1-3 Pac-12) to their third straight loss.
N'WESTERN 49, NO. 23 ILLINOIS 43: Tre Demps had 11 points and made three late 3-pointers for the host Wildcats, who gave coach Chris Collins his first Big Ten victory and handed the Illini (13-4, 2-2) their second straight loss.
NO. 9 IOWA ST.: The team isn't sure if point guard DeAndre Kane will be available for tonight's game against No. 18 Kansas because of a left ankle sprain sustained Saturday.
PITT: Sophomore forward Durand Johnson will miss the rest of the season after tearing the ACL and meniscus in his right knee Saturday.