BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Ohio State’s best chance to win this game was the scoreboard potentially crashing down on the Assembly Hall court.
Indiana’s hot stretch continued on Saturday, as IU (15-6, 6-4 B1G), handily defeated the slumping Ohio State Buckeyes (11-10, 3-7 B1G). IU won its fifth game in a row, rebounding from their three-game losing streak at the beginning of the month.
Jalen Hood-Schifino had 14 of the first 18 points for IU including a pull-up jumper and four swished threes (with no misses). The freshman also stepped up early on defense with a nice perimeter block. Hood-Schifino only had eight combined points in the previous two games.
The Hoosiers struggled to hold the Buckeyes back on defense and tallied seven team fouls in the first half. Sean McNeil turned two points into three multiple times with the old-school “three-point play.” Though the score was close, the Hoosiers could not generate much offense, survived only by Hood-Schifino’s perimeter accuracy.
The Hoosiers mixed their lineup against the Buckeyes and had three freshmen on the floor together. Hood-Schifino and Malik Reneau weren’t surprises; however, Kaleb Banks saw first-half minutes for the first time since December. Banks made an immediate impact on the Assembly Hall floor. He quickly registered an offensive rebound and an assist in his first two minutes of action.
With 7:50 to go in the first half, Banks scored a second-chance layup and drew a foul, bringing a huge ovation from the Assembly Hall crowd. The basket ended a 4+ minute stretch where IU trailed OSU.
With five minutes left in the first half, the Hoosier’s foul count had entered double-digits, and IU had three consecutive defensive possessions resulting in a foul.
Despite their somewhat lacking defensive performance, the Hoosiers closed the half with a showy Trey Galloway layup, an all-too-familiar TJD slam, and a sixth Hood-Schifino three (giving him 20 for the half). IU left the half on a 15-0 run, leading 46-30 at the half.
After halftime, the game was delayed by five minutes because a piece of the Assembly Hall scoreboard fell to the floor, just missing OSU star Brice Sensabaugh. After officials came together to discuss next steps, the green light was given to resume action.
The Hoosiers came out firing from the extended break with a quick Jackson-Davis putback slam and Race Thompson and-one. The Buckeyes were able to chip the 16-point Hoosier advantage down to eleven but quickly lost momentum. Ultimately, Ohio State never came within single digits.
The Hoosiers had 60 points and a 17-point lead with a little over 13 minutes remaining. The Hoosiers’ halftime adjustments included a more focused defense and perfecting the drive-and-dish, both of which showed early.
Trey Galloway and Miller Kopp each hit a three to set the Hoosiers up with a comfortable lead. The Buckeyes tried to comeback but the relentless Assembly Hall crowd and Hoosier offense kept the game out of reach. The IU faithful in attendance warmly responded to their team playing hard and playing well.
Over the final four minutes, both teams traded baskets leading to IU taking the contest by a comfortable 16-point margin. CJ Gunn and Anthony Leal saw action before the final horn, with Gunn even finding the basket on a fastbreak layup. Overall, nine Hoosiers put their name on the scoresheet in the win.
IU will head to Maryland on Tuesday night to take on the surging Terrapins. Maryland has won four of six games, including consecutive double-digit home victories ahead of Tuesday’s game. Tip is at 9p ET on ESPN2.
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