Ohio State’s Slide Continues, Losing in Bloomington

Suddenly slumping Ohio State lost their fourth Big Ten game in five tries, losing to Indiana in Bloomington, 66-54 to drop to 11-5 and 1-4 in conference play. Just a few short weeks ago, Ohio State was #2 in the country and a win in Minneapolis from being #1.  Now, after dropping their fourth straight, they are facing a world where they are suddenly unranked and scrambling. Unable to capitalize on opportunities, combined with stretches of sloppy basketball once again bit them this afternoon. Having held Indiana without a field goal for long stretches of the basketball game, Ohio State could never take control and subsequently went cold late allowing Indiana to pull away for the win.  Andre Wesson led Ohio State with 15 points and 7 rebounds and Kaleb Wesson added 11 points and 10 rebounds.  D.J. Carton added 10 for Ohio State. 

The Hoosiers started the game red hot from long range, hitting 3 triples, all off the fingers of Rob Phinissee, gave the Hoosiers an early 13-5 lead.  The Buckeyes hung around thanks to Andre Wesson’s 8 that included a pair of threes of his own and Ohio State went into the first media timeout, trailing 15-10.  The Hoosiers hit 3 of their first 4 from deep after coming in the game struggling from distance, but early that wasn’t the case. D.J. Carton buried a three from the top of the key out of the timeout to cut the lead to 2, but the Hoosiers stayed hot from long range, answering with a three, and after an Ohio State turnover, Indiana capitalized and scored again to build the lead to 20-13.  Kaleb Wesson split a pair of free throws to trim the lead to 6 but Indiana continued their offensive onslaught, scoring again to increase the lead to 8.  Carton scored on the ensuing possession with a dribble drive to the rim and at the under 12 media timeout, Ohio State trailed Indiana, 22-14. A 5-0 Hoosier run out of the break gave Indiana their largest lead at 9 but Andre Wesson followed up a block in transition with a put back in transition the other way to cut the lead back to 7 at the under 8 timeout. Ohio State was once again sloppy with the basketball, turning it over 6 times contributing to the Hoosier lead. Kaleb Wesson’s three from the right wing cut the lead to 5 and following a Hoosier miss, C.J. Walker drove the baseline and scored with a reverse lay in to cut the lead to 3.  Luther Muhammad bagged a three on the next possession to tie the game and following a pair of Carton free throws, Ohio State took their first lead, 28-26, as part of a 12-1 Buckeye run heading into the final media timeout of the half. The Hoosiers had gone six minutes without a field goal and the Buckeyes took advantage to take a lead. The Ohio State run went to 15-1 when Walker drilled a three out of the timeout to increase the Buckeye lead to 5. Five Indiana free throws tied the game with 1:03 on the clock and Chris Holtmann called a quick 30-second timeout. Kaleb Wesson drilled a three from the top to allow Ohio State to regain the lead, 34-31 and that’s the lead they would take into the break. The Buckeyes were able to weather the early hot shooting from the Hoosiers and held Indiana without a field goal for the last 9:57 of the first half to come from as many as 9 down to take a 5 point lead to the locker room, closing the half on an 18-6 run. Andre Wesson led Ohio State with 10 and Kaleb Wesson and D.J. Carton added 7 each in the first 20 minutes.

Indiana opened the second half with a 9-0 run to reclaim the lead and force Chris Holtmann to call timeout with the Hoosiers on top 39-34 and 16:07 remaining in the game. A long Andre Wesson three from the top ended a nearly 7 minute drought without a field goal for Ohio State and cut the lead to 2. The Buckeyes tied it with 12:19 to go in the half when E.J. Liddell drove the left side of the lane for a dunk and at the under 12 minute timeout, the game was deadlocked at 40. A pair of Kaleb Wesson free throws allowed the Buckeyes to regain a 2-point advantage and after a Hoosier 3, D.J. Carton found the bottom of the ropes from beyond the arc to enable Ohio State to go up by a pair once again. The lead was short lived as Indiana would go on an 8-0 run to head into the under 8 media timeout with a 51-45 lead.2 IU free throw upped the run to 10-0 and the lead to 8.  Kyle Young split a pair of free throws to end the scoring run but another pair of Indiana free throws increased the Buckeye deficit to 9.  After another Buckeye turnover, an Indiana bucket gave the Hoosiers their largest lead and Ohio State called timeout with 5:42 to go and Indiana leading 57-46. A pair of Andre Wesson free throws and a Kaleb Wesson score in the paint cut the lead to 7 at the under 4 media timeout but Indiana possessing the basketball following Ohio State’s 16th turnover of the game. Indiana drilled a dagger triple out of the timeout that effectively ended the basketball game and sent Ohio State home searching for answers.

Ohio State’s season is clearly at a crossroads.  In what looked like a promising ceiling has now taken a dramatic turn and the youth of this team has made an ugly appearance. Turnovers, stretches of bad shooting and a lack of confidence are all contributors in this stretch. The season is far from over and while the thoughts of a Big Ten championship has probably gone out the door, Ohio State still has plenty to play for and they need to turn it around quickly.

They won’t end the season today, so Ohio State will have to rebound quickly to try to get a win, hosting Nebraska in the Schott on Tuesday night.  Game time for that game is scheduled for 6:30 on FS1.

-Jason Harris

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