The Hoosiers visited a wintry Columbus on Saturday afternoon for an opportunity to string together a third victory at the heels of No. 4 Ohio State. Unfortunately for Archie Miller’s ball club, the team will head west back to Bloomington empty handed as the Buckeyes handled the Hoosiers 78-59.
Indiana now moves to 11-9 on the season and fall to 6-7 in conference play.
No. 4 Ohio State is furthering their case for potentially have a top seed in the 2021 NCAA tournament as they move to 17-4 on the season and 11-4 within the conference.
An early hole once again
In repetition of the past two games, the Hoosiers found themselves in an early deficit in the first half. After two early threes from the stars in the previous game Al Durham and Armaan Franklin, Ohio State bounced back with a 19-0 scoring streak to put the Buckeyes up by 15 points.
That span ate up nearly half of the first segment before the streak ending with a singular Trayce Jackson-Davis free throw.
Chris Holttman’s squad led by as much as 16 points behind the scoring of sophomore EJ Liddle and Duane Washington Jr. Indiana seemed to have no answer to either ends of the floor. The Buckeyes’ offensive sets forced Indiana to pick and choose who to defend. Even when on-ball defense was played effectively, Ohio State’s powerful offense still managed to find a way to score.
The glass was also a problem as the Hoosiers gave a number of key offensive put backs despite being well positioned to pull down the rebound.
Clawing back into the game
Indiana did not give up in the first half. As they have in the past two games, they slowly began to chip away at the Ohio State lead to close the first half. An 11-point run initiated by a Jackson-Davis layup and finished with a Jackson-Davis dunk helped bring the Hoosiers within two possessions at the 2 minute mark of the first half.
In the last minute of regulation, however, the Hoosiers gave up a bucket and two foul shots which allowed Ohio State to nurse a healthy double digit lead into the half 38-28.
Not enough to finish
The first and second acts may have been written out the same way on Saturday afternoon; however, the Hoosiers were unable to recreate a victorious ending. Without an offensive igniters such as Durham and Franklin from the Northwestern game, the Hoosiers sputtered each time they visited offense end of the court.
Things got worse and worst for Indiana.
Ohio State’s lengthy backcourt continued to clog Indiana passing lanes. They clearly disrupted Indiana’s game plan to move inside and out. Even with the three point shot opened up for Indiana and their ability to draw out Ohio State defenders, the Hoosiers couldn’t take advantage inside the paint.
Ohio State forced 15 turnovers committed by the Hoosiers by the final whistle.
Indiana vs No. 4 Ohio State Box Scores
Source: Ohio State Athletics
Next Up: Minnesota
The Hoosiers look to get back to 500-status in the conference as they host Minnesota on Wednesday evening. The Gophers, who are currently 13-7 overall and 6-7 in the conference, has another game on Sunday against the Terrapins. You can catch that game on Big Ten Network.
As we near the end of the regular season, every game is critical for the Hoosiers as they continue to build their case on why they should belong in the 2021 NCAA Tournament that will be taking place in their literal backyard.
Featured Photo: Indiana University Athletics