Ohio State Blasts Visiting Indiana
4th ranked Ohio State successfully defended their home floor, controlling the game from the jump and fending off a pair of Hoosier runs to defeat visiting Indiana 78-59 to move to 17-4 and 11-4 in conference play. With the loss Indiana, who is hanging on to the NCAA tournament bubble, fell to 11-9 and 6-7 in Big Ten play. With the win, Ohio State claimed their sixth straight victory and 9th in 10 tries and moved into a three way tie atop the Big Ten standings along with Michigan and Illinois. E.J. Liddell led Ohio State with 19, while Justice Sueing completed yet another double-double, checking in with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Duane Washington added 12 and Kyle Young contributed 8 and 7 for the winning Buckeyes.
The Buckeyes got on the board first when Justice Sueing scored on a rebound and put back. Indiana scored the next six thanks to back-to-back triples to lead 6-2 early. Ohio State answered by scoring the next seven starting with an E.J. Liddell triple from the top. Duane Washington Jr. scored high off the glass from just above the block to put the Buckeyes back in front and Liddell knocked down a fade away in the middle of the lane and at the first media timeout, Ohio State led 9-6. The Buckeye run continued out of the timeout. A pair of free throws followed by a pair of triples from Washington and Liddell upped the run to 15-0 forcing Indiana to take a timeout with Ohio State leading 17-6 and 11:57 to go in the half. The run continued out of the timeout. Back to back buckets from Zed Key and Sueing upped the run to 19-0 before an Indiana free throw ended the Hoosier drought. A score at the rim by Indiana ended an over 8 minute stretch without a field goa and cut the lead to 21-7. C.J. Walker found Liddell at the rim for a lay in to stretch the lead and after an Indiana bucket, Seth Towns rattled in a jumper from 16 feet and Sueing scored on a dribble drive to put Ohio State up 16. A Hoosier triple cut the lead to 13 and at the under 8 media timeout, Ohio State led 27-14. A pair of Liddell free throws and a Kyle Young jump hook in the lane sandwiched around an Indiana free throw put Ohio State up 31-15 but 5 straight by the Hoosiers cut the lead to 31-20 at the final media timeout of the first 20 minutes. Four Indiana free throws upped the Hoosier run to 9-0 and after a Buckeye miss, Coach Holtmann called timeout with 2:28 left in the half and Ohio State leading 31-24 and scoreless for the last 3 plus minutes. Another Hoosier bucket increased the run to 11-0 and suddenly Indiana trailed by just 5. Washington ended the run with a triple from the right point and after a Hoosier score to cut the lead to six, a pair of Walker free throws bumped the lead back to 8. A late Indiana turnover turned into a transition score by Liddell to end the half. What once was a 16-point Buckeye lead saw Indiana storm back to cut it to five but the Buckeyes outscored Indiana 7-2 in the last minute to regain the momentum heading into the locker room. The Buckeyes shot 46.7% from the floor in the first half while holding the Hoosiers to just 36% but what looked to be a blowout early, Indiana found a little life for a stretch late before succumbing to a late Buckeye run putting Ohio State back in control. Liddell led Ohio State with 14 and Washington added 10. Sueing also added 6 points to go along with 6 rebounds.
The Buckeyes increased the lead to 12 when Young found Sueing at the block for a score but the Hoosiers went on a 6-0 run to trim the lead to just 6. Sueing ended the run with a step back three from the head of the key and after an Indiana score cut the lead to 7, Young scored on a put back with a jump hook in the middle of the paint to put Ohio State back up 9. The Hoosiers came right back and after a pair of buckets by Indiana big man Trayce Jackson-Davis, who was starting to get it going, the Hoosiers trailed by just 5. Key scored on a put back ending the Hoosier mini run and put the Buckeyes back up 7. The lead extended to 10 when Walker nailed a triple from the right wing as the shot clock was expiring and after a pair of turnovers led to two Ohio State transition buckets, Indiana called timeout with Ohio State up 14 and on a 9-0 run. An Indiana bucket followed a free throw each way to cut the lead to 12, but nine straight Buckeye points put Ohio State up 65-44 at the under 8 media timeout with the Buckeyes firmly in control as Indiana had gone over 6 minutes with just one field goal. Key scored with a jump hook in the paint to up the lead to 23 and the run to 11-0. Indiana scored the next four to cut it to 19 before Ohio State utilized the inside-out game with Key and Justin Ahrens and Ahrens drilled a three to put Ohio State up 22. Jackson Davis scored and completed an and one opportunity to cut it to 19 with Jackson Davis becoming virtually all the Hoosier offense. IU cut it to 16 with a three but a pair of Sueing freebies and a 12 foot jumper by Liddell put Ohio State back up 20 at the final media timeout with 2:30 to go.
The first selection committee poll was released early in the basketball game and had Ohio State as a 1 seed and they certainly looked like it was a good choice. The Buckeye season scoring leaders stepped up in this one, which was a bit of a flipped script from the Maryland game. Washington continues to be consistent offensively but coming off a game where Liddell and Sueing struggled, they were the scoring leaders in this one as Ohio State took control from the outset. This team continues to impress offensively but their defense is taking strides and to make a deep run in March, they will need to continue that progression. They are now in a great position to win their first Big Ten title in nine years but it certainly won’t be easy. The best thing about going 17-4 is the opportunity to go to 18-4 and that has to be their mindset moving forward. They have tremendous leadership on this team and it definitely shows on the court. With only five games to go, all of their goals are attainable and that’s all you can ask for.
Ohio State will next hit the hardwood on Thursday evening, traveling to State College for a matchup with Penn State at 8 PM and airing on The Big Ten Network.