The good news: Ohio State’s game Saturday night closed out a stretch where the Buckeyes (11-10, 3-7) played four of five games on the road. After this one, Chris Holtmann’s squad returns home to play three of their next four games in Columbus.
The bad news: To close this gruesome stretch with a 2-3 record, Ohio State was tasked with walking into a raucous Saturday night crowd at Assembly Hall and emerging victorious. After a horrid start to the season, the Hoosiers (15-6, 6-4) came into this game as winners of four straight. Star forward Trayce-Jackson Davis has averaged 27.3 points, 14.3 rebounds, and just under five blocks per game during the winning streak — the best basketball of his career.
And wouldn’t you know it, TJD and his friends let Ohio State have it on Saturday night, too, sending the Buckeyes to their seventh loss in their last eight games, 86-70. Jalen Hood-Schifino led Indiana in scoring with 24 points — 20 of which were in the first half alone. Brice Sensabaugh had 23 for the Buckeyes.
Chris Holtmann went with the same starting lineup he relied on early in the season, going with Bruce Thornton, Sean McNeil, Sensabaugh, Justice Sueing, and Zed Key. Mike Woodson — who returned to the bench after missing Indiana’s last game with an illness — went with a starting five of Trey Galloway, Hood-Schifino, Miller Kopp, Race Thompson, and Jackson-Davis.
Ohio State took control early, taking a 9-2 lead before Hood-Schifino buried a deep three-pointer from the left wing to make it a 9-5 game heading into the first media timeout at the 15:42 mark. Both Hood-Schifino and Sensabaugh had five points by the first media timeout, but Indiana’s star freshman did it in two shots (2-2) while it took Sensabaugh five (2-5).
The two teams played to a tie until the eight-minute mark, but after Thompson missed a layup, IU’s Kaleb Banks corralled the miss and put it back up, scoring over the top of Thornton. Thornton was called for the foul, and Holtmann was irate. The Ohio State head coach was issued a technical foul after he went after a referee, and Indiana hit two of the three free throws to make it a 25-21 Indiana lead with 7:50 left in the first half.
Ohio State tied the game momentarily, but Indiana closed the first half on a 17-1 run (!) to go into halftime up 46-30. The Hoosiers hit seven of their final eight shots before the break, putting Ohio State in the biggest halftime hole they’ve been in all season long. Hood-Schifino had 20 first-half points for Indiana — racking up his third 20-point game of the season after just the first half tonight. Sensabaugh had 12 first-half points and was Ohio State’s only double-digit scorer in the first half.
Ohio State had an opportunity to cut the lead back to 10 points when they were down 51-39 with 15:58 remaining, but Thornton was unable to get the ball in below Ohio State’s basket and they were called for a five-second violation. Indiana then outscored Ohio State 12-7 over the next several minutes and led 63-46 at the under-12 media timeout.
More basketball certainly happened over the final 12 or so minutes of this game, but Ohio State wasn’t in this game for a single second during the second half. On the rare occasion that Sensabaugh scored for the Buckeyes, the Hoosiers almost always answered it at the other end immediately — making it impossible to mount a comeback. The Buckeyes end their brutal seven-game stretch (five on the road, two at home) with a record of 1-6.
If you weren’t around tonight to catch Ohio State’s seventh loss in their last eight games, here’s a few of the big plays and runs that carried the Hoosiers to their big victory and extended their winning streak to five games.
Diaper dandies, baby! (in my best Dickie V voice)
Sensabaugh and Hood Schifino are the two most talented freshmen in the Big Ten and are both likely first-round NBA draft picks in a few months. Both freshmen scored five points before the very first timeout of the game Saturday night — Sensabaugh had five of Ohio State’s nine, while Hood-Schifino had Indiana’s first five points of the game.
And the scoring didn’t stop there. Hood-Schifino — who scored a combined eight points in the Hoosiers’ last two games — kept it going, racking up 11 points over the first six minutes. Sensabaugh splashed another three to get Ohio State back within a point after they’d fallen behind by four. By the under-12 media timeout, Sensabaugh had eight of Ohio State’s 14 and Hood-Schifino had 11 of IU’s 15.
Hood-Schifino the first-half terror
IU’s star freshman guard hadn’t scored 14 points since Indiana’s win over Wisconsin on January 14, but he did that in just over nine minutes during tonight’s game. A loose ball that resulted in a wrestling match between Isaac Likekele and Jackson-Davis was called a jump ball, and the Hoosiers got possession. They ran their out-of-bounds play to Hood-Schifino in the corner, who drained a triple from directly in front of Ohio State’s bench.
Hood-Schifino turned around and said something to Chris Holtmann, as he’d just tied the game at 18 with a bit over 10 minutes remaining in the first half.
Holtmann gets T’d up, Indiana extends the lead
With the game tied 21-21 and 7:50 remaining in the first half, Thompson tried an over-the-shoulder floater that was no good. IU’s Banks corralled the miss and put it back up for a basket and was fouled by Thornton.
Chris Holtmann lost his marbles at the foul call and was issued a technical foul immediately, and Tamar Bates hit both free throws. Banks missed his free throw (for the foul on Thornton), but Sensabaugh slipped and fell after the rebound. Indiana got the ball back, and Malik Reneau scored below the basket to make it 27-21 Hoosiers.
Reneau flew under the radar, but the 6-foot-9 freshman from Miami tied his career-high with 15 points on 6-10 shooting over 23 minutes. He also had eight rebounds, three assists, and one steal.
McNeil’s 6-0 run
With Ohio State down 29-23 with just over six minutes remaining until halftime, McNeil went on a 6-0 run all on his lonesome, single-handedly tying the game at 29.
McNeil hit a long two and was fouled by Kopp with 6:27 until halftime, getting Ohio State back within three. points. On Ohio State’s, very next possession McNeil hit a baseline floater and was fouled by Bates, hitting the free throw with 5:37 left until halftime to knot things up at 29-all.
McNeil struggled mightily outside of that stretch, however, and finished with nine points on 3-11 shooting (including 0-5 from three) over 31 minutes.
Indiana closes the half on a 17-1 run
After McNeil tied the game at 29, the Hoosiers closed the half on a 17-1 run over the final 5:37 to put them up 46-30 going to the locker room. Five different Hoosiers scored during that run, headlined by six points from TJD. Indiana hit seven of their final eight shots before the break and shot 48.6% in the first half to Ohio State’s 34.5%.
Key hit a three?
There wasn’t much to talk about in the second half of this game, since Indiana put this thing away before halftime. But I guess it’s noteworthy that Zed Key knocked one down from beyond the arc, because that’s fun.
After TJD dunked to open the second half for IU and put the Hoosiers up 48-30, Key was left open on the right wing (for good reason, probably). Down nearly 20 points, Key said “screw it” and took one with plenty of time and nobody in his face. He canned it, and it was his first made three since December 17 against North Carolina. Ohio State still trailed 48-33, however.
Key finished with 12 points on 4-6 shooting over 26 minutes, and also had four rebounds.
Ohio State (11-10, 3-7) returns home and will play three of its next four games in Columbus, starting with Wisconsin (12-8, 4-6) on Thursday night. The Badgers lost to Illinois Saturday afternoon, 61-51, and are in the middle of a three-game losing streak.
Ohio State’s game against the Badgers will tip off at 7 p.m. ET and will be broadcast on FS1.