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An early return from the Big Ten Tournament likely ended the NCAA Tournament hopes of Iowa’s men’s basketball team.

A 90-78 loss to Ohio State in Thursday’s second round at the Target Center in Minneapolis was the final blemish on a postseason resumé with too many flaws for the Hawkeyes, who are expected to get an NIT bid on Sunday night after finishing with an 18-14 record.

“We all want to go a little further, but fortunately we'll get to keep playing,” Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said.

The Hawkeyes needed a long stay in the tournament to get serious consideration from the NCAA selection committee, but they were done in by the 10th seeded Buckeyes (20-12), who have won six of their last seven games and have put themselves into NCAA consideration after the firing of coach Chris Holtmann.

The Buckeyes shot 51.7 percent from the field for the game, including 60.7 percent in the first half. They never trailed, keeping a comfortable lead throughout the game.

“I would just say we didn't give them enough pressure,” guard Tony Perkins said. “It was comfortable, you know. They got great players on their team, and we let them get comfortable shots and let their best players get shots that they hit. So that's the reason why.”

“I would just say we let them get way too comfortable early, and players at this level, if you let them get comfortable, they'll take advantage of that,” guard Payton Sandfort said. “If we let them do that, I think it's easy.

“Some were open, some were contested, but you let them get comfortable, that's what happens.”

And now it’s an uncomfortable time for the Hawkeyes, whose postseason plans took a final hit.

Other takeaways from the night:

SANDFORT’S FOUL TROUBLE: Sandfort was himself comfortable in the first half. He was 3-of-4 from the field, but picked up two fouls and played just 11 minutes.

Sandfort finished with a team-high 19 points, but was just 2-of-9 from the field in the second half.

“It hurt him. It hurt us,” McCaffery said. “I think it was really hard for him because he didn't think he fouled. I think he was trying very hard not to foul there. So I think it was a combination of frustration and knowing that we needed him.”

PERKINS’ STRUGGLES: Perkins finished with 13 points, but this wasn’t a good floor game.

Perkins, who was 1-of-10 from the field in Sunday’s loss to Illinois, was 3-of-8 in this game. He had seven assists, but also six turnovers.

HARDING SHINES: Freshman Brock Harding continues to efficiently run the Hawkeyes’ offense when he gets his chance.

Harding had five assists against one turnover in 17 minutes, and the way he plays provides energy for a team that has needed it, especially late in the season.

AN ANALYSIS: Iowa still has at least one more game to play, but McCaffery took the time to provide some thoughts on what the Hawkeyes have done this season.

“I'm really proud of this group,” he said. “It's hard to win 18 games with the schedule we had, and you're right. We had some tough times. We had some tough losses, but we had some great wins. We won some close games. We stayed together. I thought our young guys continued to get better and continued to produce.

“You know, not just Owen (Freeman), who was the (Big Ten Freshman) of the Year, but our other freshmen who played a lot. Ben Krikke being new, OK, he's a veteran guy, but he's new. I thought we fit in really well. We have great chemistry in that locker room, and I'm really proud of this team.”