The Buckeyes found themselves on the road for their second consecutive Big Ten contest taking on Indiana in Bloomington. The noon start that has sometimes provided for sleepy play was not initially a factor, as the Buckeyes jumped to an early 9-2 lead, but things quickly fell apart from there. A horrendous shooting night for the Buckeyes, especially from downtown, as well as a cascade of fouls, let to Ohio State's lead vanishing, and then quickly becoming a deficit, with Indiana grabbing a 32-26 lead, and held on for a win, beating Ohio State 69-66.
Both teams struggled to create offense, with Indiana turning the ball over early and often, but the Hoosiers were able to make enough plays, while Ohio State shot themselves in the foot with poor inside finishing, poor rebounding effort and more. For whatever reason, Ohio State looked and played flat for most of the game, and while they rallied a little to keep things close in the second half, the Buckeyes were never able to get closer than two, and Indiana was able to take advantage of bad shot selection to push the margin to 10 at the three minute mark, a hole the Buckeyes were not able to climb out from, despite the best efforts of D'Angelo Russell and Sam Thompson.
Thompson had a chance to tie the game with under 30 seconds left, but Thompson missed a free throw after an "And-1" opportunity, giving Indiana a chance to push the margin back to three.
Troy Williams grabbed a double double for Indiana, with 15 points and 12 boards, with James Blackmon Jr adding 18 more for the Hoosiers. Ohio State's Jae-Sean Tate had a career high 12 points with five rebounds, while Shannon Scott added 16.
3 things we learned:
1. TV Teddy gonna TV Teddy. Stop me if you've heard this one before. In a big game on a national broadcast, Ted Valentine got a little too whistle happy, grinding the game down. That's exactly what happened, particularly in the first half, as Ohio State's bigs found themselves deep in foul trouble early on, and the game slowed into a ticky-tak foul-fest. There isn't a ton a team like Ohio State can do in that situation other than make their free throws, and the Buckeyes weren't able to do that, shooting 17-27 from the charity stripe, and missing a chance to tie the game at the end.
2. This team struggles to score if the threeballs aren't falling. The good news is that Ohio State typically shoots a great percentage from downtown, but today was a shooting performance fit for some of the Buckeye squads from the last few seasons. Ohio State was an catastrophic 3-20 from downtown, and while some of that is unlucky or because of strong defense, Ohio State's shot selection was also not great. The Buckeyes don't have a low post threat, so if they're not able to make even an average amount of threes, this offense can grind down to a halt.
3. Those rebounding woes weren't just about the zone defense. The Buckeyes got absolutely killed on the glass today, despite spending a lot of time in man to man, getting outrebounded 48-39. Part of that is probably due to Ohio State's bigs getting into foul trouble, limiting their aggressiveness. But more was about poor spacing, poor awareness, and occasionally, just poor effort. Indiana's Troy Williams grabbed 10 boards all by himself, and he's only 6'7, so it's not like the Buckeyes were dominated on the glass by giants. If you're struggling to shoot, as both teams did at times today, you need to give your defense a chance, and find a way to to manufacture points. You can't do that if you're not rebounding the basketball.