Ohio State Survives Indiana on the Road

Ohio State went on the road to a very difficult environment in Bloomington, Indiana and came away with a big win, surviving a late charge by the Hoosiers, winning 55-52 to move to 16-7 and 6-6 in the Big Ten.  Ohio State led for the majority of the way, but was never in total control and had to overcome a Hoosier 3 point barrage late to secure the victory with some excellent execution in the half court to escape with a win.  Andre Wesson led the Buckeyes with 15 and Kaleb Wesson and C.J. Jackson chipped in with 10 each in the victory, which is the 4th win in their last 5 games.

It was all Ohio State early as the Buckeyes raced out to an 11-2 lead in the first 5 minutes thanks to a quick 5 from Luther Muhammad and 4 from Andre Wesson.  The Buckeye defense forced Indiana to take long jumpers early and they were not falling as Ohio State limited the Hoosiers to one and done on the offensive end.  The Hoosiers would come right back thanks to turnovers on three straight Ohio State possessions, to go on a 7-0 run trimming the Buckeye lead to 11-9 forcing Chris Holtmann to call timeout at the 11:54 mark to attempt to settle down his troops.  The Buckeyes answered grabbing a 6 point lead but the Hoosiers would trim it back to 2 before a 5-0 Buckeye run, capped by a Duane Washington triple from the left wing gave the Buckeyes a 7 point advantage heading into the under 4 media timeout.  Out of the timeout, yet another Buckeye turnover led to an IU three that trimmed the lead to 4.  The Hoosiers cut the lead down to 2 on the last possession of the half and the teams hit the locker rooms with Ohio State leading 23-21.  Stellar defense from Ohio State helped offset 9 first half turnovers.  The Buckeyes limited Indiana to just under 35% shooting and dominated the glass, outrebounding the Hoosiers 20-12.  Despite those advantages, they clung to just a 2 point advantage due to sloppy half-court offense.  Kaleb Wesson led Ohio State with 6 first half points and Muhammad had 5.  Indiana senior forward and second leading scorer, Juwan Morgan, who averages 16 per game, was held scoreless in the first half and Romeo Langford, who came in averaging nearly 18 per game, had just 5.

Ohio State turned it over yet again on their first possession of the second half and a Hoosier bucket tied the game just 25 seconds in.  The Buckeyes would answer, going on a 7-0 run spurred by solid half-court defense and capped off by a penetrate and dish from C.J. Jackson to Luther Muhammad who buried a three from the left wing causing Indiana to call a timeout with 18 minutes remaining in the game and Ohio State leading 30-23.  The Buckeyes extended the lead to 9 when Jackson, showing active hands on the defensive end, created a turnover with a strip steal at the top of the key and scored in transition on a finger roll at the rim.  The Hoosiers would once again answer with a 7-2 run to trim the Buckeye lead to 4, but a Jackson three from the head of the key off an inside out pass from Kaleb Wesson gave the Buckeyes a 7 point lead with 13 minutes remaining.  The Hoosiers cut the lead to 5 but out of the under 12 timeout, Duane Washington, Jr. buried a three from the left wing to extend the lead to 8, a lead that was cut to 6 heading into the under 8 media timeout.  An Andre Wesson three with just over 6 minutes to go from the top of the key gave the Buckeyes a 9 point lead.  However, the lead was short lived as three’s on 3 straight possessions by the Hoosiers, 2 off the fingertips of Romeo Langford, tied the score with 4 ½ minutes to go in the game.  A Keyshawn Woods runner would fall off the mark, but Andre Wesson was right there to tip it in to give Ohio State a lead with 3 minutes remaining.  After IU tied the score an Ohio State turnover led to a long Indiana triple as the shot clock was expiring to give the Hoosiers their first lead and 1:43 to go.  The Buckeyes used the entire shot clock themselves on the ensuing possession and a long three from C.J. Jackson from the left point tied the game with just over a minute remaining in the game.  After a Hoosier turnover on their possession, Ohio State raced the ball up the floor and called timeout with the score tied and 35 seconds remaining in the game and 24 seconds on the shot clock.  A give and go from Jackson to Andre Wesson led to a Wesson dunk to give Ohio State a 2 point advantage and 21 seconds on the game clock.  A missed Hoosier three gave Ohio State a chance to end it at the free throw line.  Luther Muhammad hit the front end of his one and one opportunity with 8.8 on the clock but missed the second and the Hoosiers had one last chance and the attempt to tie it as the horn sounded clanged off target securing the road win for the Buckeyes.

Any road win in the Big Ten is a big one and Ohio State got it done on this day.  It was a big win for two reason, one, it got them back to .500 in conference play and secondly, it puts them in a position to secure an NCAA tournament berth if they can take care of business on their home floor against some of the lesser teams in the conference coming up.  The turnover bug, 15 for the game, is something that at this point of the season, the Buckeyes are just going to have to endure but they played with tremendous effort on the defensive end which has been a hallmark of this basketball team and has to be if they want to finish strong the rest of the way.

The Buckeyes will try to continue to build their tournament resume, heading home to host Illinois on Thursday.  Scheduled tip time is 7 PM, airing on ESPN2.

-Jason Harris

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