Buckeyes Advance Knocking Off Indiana in the Big Ten Tournament
Ohio State, playing for their postseason lives, welcomed back their leading scorer, Kaleb Wesson who was suspended for the past 3 games, and they were able to deliver, fending off a furious Hoosier rally in the last 7 minutes, eliminating Indiana in the Big Ten tournament 79-75 to advance to the quarterfinals tomorrow to play #1 seed Michigan State. The win moved the Buckeyes to 19-13 on the season and all but eliminating the NCAA tournament hopes for Indiana who fell to 17-15 with the loss. Keyshawn Woods led 4 Buckeyes in double figures with 18 points and 7 rebounds. Kaleb Wesson added a double double with 17 to go along with 13 rebounds. C.J. Jackson contributed 17 and Andre Wesson 13 for the victorious Buckeyes.
The Buckeyes offense looked crisp early, aided by the return of Kaleb Wesson, as the Buckeyes raced out to an 8-3 lead 5 minutes in. The Buckeyes extended the lead to 6 before an offensive drought (1-7 from long range) allowed the Hoosiers trim the deficit to 3 at the under 12 media timeout. Indiana battled back to tie it at the 9:10 mark, but an Andre Wesson 3 followed by a lay in from Keyshawn Woods off a Luther Muhammad steal gave the Buckeyes a 5 point lead with 8 minutes remaining in the first half. Indiana battled back to tie the game again at the 5:40 mark but a 7-0 Buckeye run over the next 2 minutes, capped by an Andre Wesson 3 from the right wing gave Ohio State a 29-22 lead with 3:40 left in the half. Indiana answered the Buckeye run with a 3 of their own to cut the lead to 4 heading into the under 4 timeout and 3:02 left to play in the first 20 minutes. The Buckeyes took a 5-point lead into the last possession of the half and a short turnaround jumper from Woods fell down the ropes as the horn sounded with the Buckeyes leading 35-28 after 20 minutes of basketball. Ohio State was led by Woods’s 10 first half points. Kaleb Wesson chipped in 9 to go along with 6 boards and Andre Wesson added 8. The Buckeyes outscored the Hoosiers 17-2 off turnovers and limited Indiana to just 30% shooting, contributing to the 7-point halftime advantage.
The Buckeyes built the lead to 10 after a C.J. Jackson triple from the left wing fell, but a Devonte Green triple on the other end, his fourth of the game, cut the lead to 7 with 16:30 remaining in the game. A Jackson runner built the lead back to 9, a lead the Buckeyes would hold at the under 16 media timeout, 42-33. A Jackson 3 and a pair of Kaleb Wesson free throws extended the lead to 13, a lead they would hold before a quick 5-0 Indiana run cut the lead to 8 with 12:54 left in the game. Ohio State answered with a Kaleb Wesson steal and outlet to Jackson for a lay in and a Kaleb Wesson fade away along the baseline extended the lead back to 12 with just over 11 minutes to play. A Muhammad triple and a Woods jumper extended the lead to 15 forcing Indiana coach Archie Miller to call a 30-second timeout with 8:33 to go and Ohio State leading 58-43. Another Muhammad three from the left wing built the Buckeye lead to 20 with 7:24 remaining as Ohio State was in the midst of a 14-2 run to seemingly take control. Indiana’s Devonte Green buried his 5th triple of the game to end the Buckeye burst but Ohio State still led 63-46 at the under 8 media timeout and 6:53 to go in the basketball game. The Hoosiers cut into the lead, with a quick 9-0 burst to cut the lead to 9 forcing Chris Holtmann to call timeout with 4:56 to go and the Hoosiers charging. Indiana kept coming, trimming the lead to 7 which capped off a 13-0 run before a Jackson three from the top gave the Buckeyes a 10 point lead with 3:28 to go. The Buckeye lead sat at 8 at the under 4 media timeout with exactly 2 minutes to go and some contentious moments as Ohio State saw their 20 point lead dissolve in a hurry. A Woods jumper built the lead back to 10 but the Hoosiers kept coming. After a missed front end of the one and one by Muhammad, a Hoosier bucket cut the lead to 5 and after a Buckeye turnover in the backcourt, the Hoosiers cut the lead to 3 with 56 seconds to go forcing Chris Holtmann to call a timeout. A Woods runner gave the Buckeyes a 5-point lead and an offensive foul on the other end gave the Buckeyes the ball with 19 seconds left. Ohio State led by 7 after a uncontested dunk by Duane Washington avoiding an IU steal on the inbounds play but the Hoosiers answered with yet another Green 3, his 7th of the game to cut it to 4 with 13 seconds to play. Andre Wesson split a pair of free throws and yet another Green triple cut the lead to 2 with 5 seconds to go. Jackson was fouled on the inbounds pass and he calmly buried both to finally secure the win.
Well, it was not easy and you wouldn’t expect it to be as both teams were fighting for their post season lives but ultimately they were able to get it done and what a difference the big fella makes to this basketball team. Ohio State is a much different team with Kaleb in the middle, he is critical to what Ohio State wants to do on both ends whether it’s scoring, rebounding, defending or opening things up for other guys to score and several guys contributed in this one. The Buckeyes will need the secondary scoring to continue to advance further in the Big Ten tournament, but the way they played today showed what this team is capable of moving forward in March.
Ohio State will take on Michigan State in the United Center in Chicago for the Big Ten tournament quarterfinals tomorrow. Tip time for that matchup is set for 12:30 Eastern to be aired on the Big Ten Network.