BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — In a matchup that served as a bounce back opportunity for both teams, No. 11 Ohio State came into Bloomington and they will return to Columbus with another loss in the Big Ten. The Hoosiers executed one of their most impressive defensive performances on the season, holding Ohio State to just 54 points and 0.818 points per possession.
Ohio State has now scored fewer than 60 points in four consecutive games, equating to four consecutive losses.
Indiana moves to 13-3 (3-2) on the season. Ohio State drops to 11-5 (1-4).
After a less than inspiring win on Wednesday vs. Northwestern, IU head coach Archie Miller inserted sophomore point guard Rob Phinisee into the starting lineup. It was Phinisee’s first start of the season, but the Lafayette native (McCutcheon) made 29 starts last year.
Phinisee began the game spectacularly for IU, scoring nine points in the first four minutes, all on threes. He also chipped in on the glass and, of course, defensively, with three rebounds and two steals in the first half. For Ohio State, forward Kyle Young (appendectomy), who was a game time decision, got the start, but quickly picked up two fouls. Andre Wesson, who averaged 14 PPG in two games against IU last season, scored 10 first-half points, hitting a number of key shots early to keep the Buckeyes in it.
A major turning point took place in the final minute before halftime. In a 31-31 game, Phinisee missed two free throws, when making even one would have given IU the lead. After the misses, the Buckeyes came down the floor and Andre’s younger brother Kaleb Wesson knocked in a three. That made the halftime score 34-31, after the Hoosiers held a nine-point first half lead.
Defensively, the Hoosiers turned an about-face with active hands and cuts with clear intention — characteristics not present against Northwestern on Wednesday night. Both the backcourt and frontcourt for the Hoosiers locked in against Ohio State. They denied Wesson in the paint and against the guards, their size and active hands forced 13 turnovers in the first half.
Coming into the game, there had been a lot of conversation about shrinking the rotation from 11 players to maybe seven or eight. In the first ten minutes of the contest, all ten available Hoosier scholarship players checked into the game. Forward Damezi Anderson (illness) missed the game for IU.
Contrasting the breakneck speed of the first half, the offense for both teams slowed down just a notch. The Hoosiers and Buckeyes would battle possession by possession, with Indiana retaking the lead early in the 2nd half. With Durham back on the court after sitting with two fouls, Archie Miller’s team regained the lead with a quick 8-0 run after halftime.
A second turning point came with 13:21 remaining. Jackson-Davis fouled Ohio State’s EJ Liddell on a layup attempt. Despite missing two, the second shot was retaken due to a lane violation. On Liddell’s third attempt, Wesson was able to tip the rebound back to DJ Carton, who once again found Liddell and drew a second foul on Jackson-Davis in two possessions. Ohio State returned Indiana’s 8-0 run with a 6-0 run of their own.
Senior Devonte Green came back into the picture by breaking Indiana’s drought with a timely three that held down the Buckeyes just enough to stop the bleeding. With an engaged crowd looking for any reason to explode, Green delivered with an acrobatic finish at the rim that reenergized Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.
To finish the game, the both teams had to balance rosters full of foul trouble. With six minutes remaining in the game, Indiana’s Trayce Jackson-Davis and Joey Brunk both picked up their fourth fouls with Durham and Phinisee both at three. Ohio State’s Luther Muhammad fouled out, Liddell and CJ Walker had four, while Kaleb Wesson had three. OSU coach Chris Holtmann benched sophomore Duane Washington, Jr. after some defensive mistakes in the 2nd half.
Despite multiple shots, Indiana’s confidence did not falter like it had in previous games. They closed out the game with 9-2 run that ultimately put the Hoosiers in the win column for the second time in a row.
Number of the Night: 50% from behind the arc
Indiana entered the night shooting just 30.2% from three-point land — one of the biggest areas of concerns for the Archie Miller and his team. Since arriving into Bloomington, Miller has not had much success with his team shooting well from distance.
With the help of Phinisee’s 3 of 4 and Green’s 2 of 3 from the three point line, the Hoosiers were good for 50% from distance, which was their best performance all season.
Source: Indiana Athletics
The Hoosiers get back on the road in an attempt to find their first true road win. They take on the Rutgers Scarlet Knights, who have been quietly one of the more impressive teams in the conference. Steve Pikiell has his team at 12-4 (3-2) after playing at the same time as Indiana this afternoon. Rutgers will be coming off a loss against Illinois 51-54. Indiana’s game at Rutgers will take place Wednesday, January 14 at 7:00 p.m., and BTN will have the broadcast.
Featured Photo: IndianaHQ