COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Hoosiers fall on the road for the second time this week with a loss in Columbus to Ohio State. Out-rebounded from the jump, Indiana finished the game with a -7 rebound margin and lose to the Buckeyes 59-68. This is the only the third time Indiana has been in a board-deficit all season long.

The Hoosiers move to 15-7 on the season and dip below 0.500 in Big Ten conference play with a 5-6 record. Ohio State moves to 14-7 and add a tough fourth win in the conference.

Lacking comparable depth at the guard position for both teams, both Indiana and Ohio State looked to the paint for early scoring options. Kaleb Wesson scored Ohio State’s first six points with a jump shot, layup, and dunk.

Indiana used their frontcourt pair of Trayce Jackson-Davis and Joey Brunk, but they were countered with Ohio State’s aggressive denial in the paint. Chris Holtmann accomplished this by adding a second player to prevent the post-entry pass, essentially double-teaming a step earlier. As a result, the Hoosier posts were only able to pick up the rock at 10-15 feet out.

At that range, the rate of success goes down dramatically. Indiana’s 5 of 14 shooting at the under-eight timeout reflects Indiana’s inability to find production from the frontcourt.

To make matters worse, the Hoosiers left a number of points at the rim with close range misses from Brunk and Armaan Franklin.

The combination of turnovers and being out-rebounded by Ohio State bigs caused Indiana to fall deeper into the deficit as Ohio State ballooned their first half lead to as much as 14 points. The Hoosiers committed a total of nine turnovers in the first half alone. Also during that stretch, the Buckeyes won the battle of the glass with 17 rebounds compared to Indiana’s 12.

While IU did not show much resistance for the majority of the first half, they picked up a bit of speed in the final minutes before the break. Indiana stepped up their defensive urgency and was able to force difficult shots against the smooth-passing Buckeyes, who had ten assists in the first half alone.

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Indiana kept up with Ohio State’s shooting percentage, but their inability to rebound against the Buckeyes was responsible for the continual uphill battle. Time and time, Indiana was outnumbered and outmaneuvered under rim. Even when they were able to get their hands on the ball, Indiana was unable to collect and pull in the rock.

Indiana closed the half with a 9-6 run that cut down Ohio State’s lead to single digits before returning to the locker rooms. Indiana’s Devonte Green heaved a 40-footer with time expiring that hit was good after hitting the glass.

Indiana traded basket for basket against Ohio State in the second half. Although they were unable to eat into the lead, the Hoosiers offense made up for the rebound margin, which got worse overtime. At the 8:30 minute mark of the second half, Ohio State created a double digit rebound advantage over an IU team that has been recognized all season long for their frontcourt size and depth.

Behind CJ Walker, Justin Ahrens, and Kaleb Wesson’s shooting, the heated-up Buckeyes forced Indiana to spread their packline and attacked the corner with three-point shooting. After going 3-13 (23.1%), the Buckeyes bounced back to the mean with shooting numbers of 50% (7 of 14).

The Hoosiers returned to their balanced attack without a star performer. Game balls would likely go to Rob Phinisee, Jerome Hunter, and Devonte Green who led the team in scoring, but none of the trio scored more than 13 points. Hunter’s performance should be recognized as he saw close to 30 minutes of game action and shot 2 of 4 from deep.

Unable to cool the Buckeyes, Indiana finished the afternoon with a final score of 59-68 and will have a week long break before they take on in-state rival Purdue.

Number of the Night: -7 rebound margin

One shocking metric this afternoon was Indiana’s inability to fight on the glass. The Hoosiers have only been out-rebounded by opponents twice this season: road game at Wisconsin and Indiana’s first date with the Buckeyes. In both of those contests, they were only outrebounded by just a single rebound.

Uncharacteristically, the Hoosiers were unable to keep up with Ohio State’s size in the paint. As one of the nation’s largest teams, it comes as a surprise that the Hoosiers did not control the glass at any point this afternoon.

Box Scores

Source: Indiana Athletics

Next Up: Purdue

The Hoosiers finally get a week-long break and will take on in-state rival Purdue on Saturday, February 8. The visiting Boilermakers will have a Wednesday evening game against Iowa before arriving into Bloomington. That game will tip off at 2 p.m. on ESPN or ESPN2. Despite their 11-10 record, Matt Painter’s team is currently ranked 24th in KenPom.

The full schedule can be found on the Indiana Basketball schedule page.

Featured Photo: IndianaHQ / Anna Tiplick

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