#13 Ohio State Drops Their First Big Ten Game, Falling at Indiana

Indiana ended the game on a 15-3 run to pull away from visiting Ohio State en route to a 67-51 win over the 13th ranked Buckeyes. With the loss, Ohio State falls to 9-3 and 3-1 in conference play, while Indiana remains unbeaten at home and moves to 11-3 and 2-2 in conference play for their biggest win thus far in the season. Trayce Jackson-Davis put the Hoosiers on his back, scoring 27 points, collecting 12 rebounds and blocking 5 shots to lead all scorers. Ohio State was led by Malaki Branham’s 13 and E.J. Liddell’s 11 points and 9 rebounds. The Buckeyes succumbed late to Indiana’s superior defense, holding Ohio State to just 6 second half field goals and 31% from the field for the game, which included just 8 of 27 from beyond the arc.

Indiana opened the scoring, getting to the free throw line just a few seconds into the game as All-American candidate Trayce Jackson-Davis split a pair.  Ohio State answered with four straight.  Justin Ahrens found Malaki Branham cutting backdoor for a lay-in and following a Hoosier miss, a quick outlet found Branham again streaking to the rim for a dunk. Indiana scored the next four to regain the lead, but Branham found Liddell with a lob on the left baseline, who caught and shot without coming back down for the deuce and Branham got out in transition again and scored on a 10 foot pullup off the glass.  Indiana got to the rim for a score to trim the lead and at the first media timeout, Ohio State led 8-7. After the timeout, the Buckeyes went to work.  Joey Brunk, returning to his former school, scored from the right block off the glass and after an Indiana turnover, Meechie Johnson drilled a long three from the right point.  After an Indiana miss, Brunk went to work again, scoring with a jump hook from 8 feet to the right of the key and the Hoosiers called timeout with the Buckeyes on a 7-0 run and a 15-7 lead. Indiana scored in the lane to trim the lead to six and on the ensuing possession, Johnson split a pair of free throws and the Buckeyes were up 7. The Hoosiers answered with a 7-0 run to tie it and force Chris Holtmann to call a 30 second timeout to attempt to stop the momentum of the home team. The run ballooned to 9-0 to put Indiana ahead briefly before a pair of Zed Key free throws dropped to tie the score. Two Liddell free throws put Ohio State back on top, but an old fashioned three point play by Jackson-Davis put IU back on top. Liddell caught a Branham feed and got to the rim for a dunk. Indiana regained the lead when a reverse lay-in dropped, but the Buckeyes answered with a Jamari Wheeler triple from the left wing. Indiana tied it again as Jackson-Davis went to the rim and dunked with authority and went ahead when Jackson-Davis got to the rim in transition for another dunk. Justin Ahrens drilled a wide open three from the top of the key and Ohio State was back on top but that didn’t last long as Jackson-Davis scored with another uncontested dunk and with just over a minute to go and the final media timeout, Indiana led Ohio State 29-28. Two Brunk free throws out of the timeout put Ohio State back in front but two Indiana free throws put the Hoosiers back ahead by a point. After a Buckeye miss, Indiana ran the game clock down to just seconds remaining and hit a long jumper to put Indiana ahead 33-30 at the break. Trayce Jackson-Davis was the only double figure scorer of the game, carrying the Hoosiers to the lead with 16.  Ohio State was led by E.J. Liddell, Joey Brunk and Malaki Branham who contributed 6 each. The Buckeyes shot just 34.5% from the floor including an abysmal 3 of 13 from long range.  The Hoosiers hit on 41% of their shot attempts and just 2 of 10 from beyond the arc.

A Jackson-Davis tip-in opened the second half scoring and gave IU a 5 point lead, but a Liddell triple from the top cut the lead to two. Following a Hoosier turnover, the Buckeyes grabbed the lead when Branham found the bottom of the cords for three from the left wing getting a feed from Key in the post. Another Jackson-Davis bucket put the Hoosiers back in front and the lead went to four when a Hoosier triple dropped and at the under 16 media timeout, Indiana led 40-36. The lead went to six when a short baseline jumper fell, but Kyle Young drilled a three from the left wing to cut the lead to three. Indiana went up five when a runner mid lane fell, but a pair of Liddell free throws trimmed the lead back to three. Two Hoosier free throws increased the lead back to five but a Branham pull up jumper dropped, cutting the Buckeye deficit to three. The Buckeyes got to within one when Branham dropped in a couple freebies with 10 minutes to play. Indiana split a pair of free throws and after a Buckeye turnover, two Hoosier free throws gave Indiana a four point lead. A Buckeye miss led to a break out and led to an old fashioned three point play and suddenly the Hoosiers were up by 7. Johnson drilled a long three from the left point to cut the lead to four but an old-fashioned three point play answered putting Indiana back up 7 and the lead went to 9 when Jackson-Davis scored off the window following a Buckeye miss. The lead ballooned to 11 when a baseline jumper dropped and the wheels were falling off for Ohio State. The Hoosier run went to 9-0 and the lead to 13 at the final media timeout of the game with Indiana firmly in command, up 61-48 and 3:20 showing on the game clock. A couple more Indiana The Buckeyes completely fell apart as the Hoosier run upped to 13-0 and sealed the game.  A late Justin Ahrens three and a Hoosier dunk ended the scoring with the Indiana win. 

It’s always tough to go on the road in the Big Ten so there is no shame in losing in Bloomington.  Couple that with a Buckeye team still looking to regain their legs coming off the long Covid layoff and it wasn’t necessarily a recipe for success. Indiana’s size in the paint certainly bothered Ohio State, especially Trayce Jackson-Davis, who certainly looked the part in this game. They came out hot, jumping out to an eight point lead 12 minutes into the game, and battled in a back and forth second half but in the last five minutes, it was all Indiana as the Buckeyes hit a wall and Indiana, playing at home, ran away with it. Ohio State did a pretty good job defensively, holding Indiana to just 41% shooting, but it was their own miscues and struggles on the offensive end that enabled Indiana to pull away late, holding Ohio State to just 3 points in the last six minutes. A lot of credit to Indiana on this night.  The Hoosiers played well, but Ohio State did not and it was reflected in the final score. The Buckeyes looked lost in their halfcourt offense for much of the game, settling for long jumpers and playing mostly perimeter basketball, unable to get anything in the paint. They will need to create better opportunities with high/low post screens and utilize the inside/out game better as they move forward. They just struggled to find their spots on the floor to get into any kind of rhythm offensively and seemingly every shot was contested. They will have to regroup and bounce back for a quick turn around for a Sunday evening game at home against Northwestern. 

Next up for the Buckeyes will be back home at the Schott on Sunday evening, hosting the aforementioned Northwestern Wildcats at 5:30 PM airing on BTN.

-Jason Harris

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