INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- The heads of the Ohio State basketball players were shiny and round. So was the Big Ten championship trophy they hoisted over their cropped craniums.
Boban Savovic scored a career-high 27 points as No. 21 Ohio State beat Iowa 81-64 Sunday to win its first Big Ten tournament championship.
The Buckeyes (23-7) finished in a four-way tie for first in the regular season with Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin. They had won only one game ever in the conference tournament before defeating Michigan and No. 10 Illinois to reach their first championship game.
The Buckeyes are seeded fourth in the NCAA tournament's West Regional and will play 13th-seeded Davidson (21-9) in Albuquerque, N.M.
Each Buckeyes player shaved his head before the tournament as a sign of unity and a shared commitment toward breaking free of the logjam atop the conference standings.
"We wanted to prove that of the four teams that won a championship, we were truly the outright champion," said Brian Brown, who was named to the all-tournament team. "We made a big statement by shaving our heads, and we wanted to back it up with big play."
Savovic came up with one of the first big plays against Iowa (19-15), opening the game with a 3-pointer. However, he only made one of his next five 3-point attempts, leading to a halftime lecture from coach Jim O'Brien. Ohio State went 4-for-13 from 3-point range in the half.
"We became too 3-point happy," O'Brien said. "We took a bunch of quick 3's, and I don't think we made them guard us enough. If you're going to take those shots, you can knock them out. The downside is when those shots are not going, you give them a chance to stay in it. I asked them to be more selective."
An early 14-point lead was sliced to 37-29 at halftime. The Hawkeyes, knowing a tournament title was the only way they would make the NCAA tournament, opened the second half with six straight points, pulling to 37-35.
Luke Recker, the hero of Iowa's wins over Wisconsin and Indiana, hit two 2-pointers and Brody Boyd added one to keep Iowa within three with 9:55 left.
But there were no more comebacks for the Hawkeyes, who had won seven straight tournament games. Fatigue and sloppy play set in, and Ohio State jumped all over them. The Buckeyes pressed and forced a championship-game record 19 turnovers.
Ohio State got two 3-pointers from a more patient Savovic, the tournament MVP, and went on a 21-8 run to put the game away.
"The first half, I took a lot of bad shots and coach let me know that I needed to keep my composure and wait for a good opportunity," said Savovic, who went 8-for-14 from the field.
Iowa coach Steve Alford said the Buckeyes had more energy down the stretch than his physically and mentally fatigued team.
"We had made a run up to that 10-minute mark," Alford said. "I thought we were making a pretty good run at them. We just couldn't get over the hump."
Brent Darby scored 14 points for Ohio State and Terence Dials added 11. Savovic, Brown and Darby were named to the all-tournament team from Ohio State.
Recker scored 21 points and Reggie Evans had 13 for Iowa. Both rounded out the all-tournament team.
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