Nearly five years ago, Andre Wesson’s slam dunk with 20 seconds left in the game helped propel the Buckeyes to a desperately needed 55-52 win in Assembly Hall. Tonight, the Ohio State men’s basketball team (12-3, 2-2) was looking to pick up its fifth-consecutive win, and its first road win in over a year.
Indiana (11-4, 3-1), on the other hand, was looking to shake off a 16-point loss to Nebraska and pick up its first quality win of the season inside a packed, raucous Assembly Hall. The Hoosiers had 10 wins coming into this game, but the biggest one to date had been a home victory over Maryland.
Third-year head coach Mike Woodson, or “Woody” as he is affectionately known at IU, went with a starting five of XavierJohnson, Trey Galloway, Malik Reneau, Mackenzie Mgbako, and Kel’el Ware. Chris Holtmann stuck with the same lineup he’s used all season: sophomores Bruce Thornton, Roddy Gayle, Evan Mahaffey, and Felix Okpara alongside senior forward Jamison Battle.
Five of Indiana’s first seven shots came right below the basket, as the Hoosiers clearly were trying to send a message early that they would own the painted area. Each of Indiana’s starters except Galloway scored in the first few minutes, as the Hoosiers held a 9-5 lead at the first media timeout. Ohio State, meanwhile, turned the ball over three times in the first five minutes.
Ohio State powered up with a 12-0 run after the first media timeout to charge back and take its first lead of the game. Battle had a trio of three-pointers during the run, and Zed Key chipped in his second three-pointer of the season as well. Ware was still getting his below-the-basket, but the Buckeyes did a pretty good job stopping everyone else for a substantial chunk of the first half. At the under-eight timeout, Ohio State had a five-point lead, 25-20.
After falling behind 15-8 early, the Buckeyes outscored Indiana 30-22 for the final 13:56 of the first half to take a 38-37 lead into the locker room. Battle led all scorers with 11 points in the first half, as both Ohio State and Indiana each shot 47% in the first half. Johnson and Ware each had eight points for IU in the opening stanza. Twenty-four of Indiana’s 37 points in the first half were in the paint.
Capped off by Battle’s fourth three-pointer of the game, Ohio State opened the second half on an 8-0 run, forcing Woodson to take a timeout not even two minutes into the second half. Indiana responded with a 6-0 run of its own, and the Buckeyes had a 46-43 lead at the under-16 media timeout.
The teams mostly traded misses for the next five minutes, but Reneau’s three-pointer from the far wing opposite the IU bench made it 48-all with 11:43 left in the game — the first time it’d been tied since it was 37-37 right before halftime. Gayle and Battle were struggling with the ball in their hands, and their turnovers cost Ohio State a golden opportunity to put some distance between them and the Hoosiers.
A Reneau baby hook over Okpara with 7:42 left in the game made it 57-52 Hoosiers — their biggest lead since it was 15-8 in the first half. Battle was held at bay for most of the second half, and the Buckeyes hit exactly 1 of its first 10 three-point tries during the second stanza. Open or contested, it didn’t matter, Ohio State couldn’t throw a beach ball in the ocean for a big chunk of the second half.
After a strong first half, Ohio State let Indiana go on too many small runs in the second half while they themselves were stopped. Indiana went from up seven, to down nine, and then up 10 in the closing minutes before putting the Buckeyes away, 71-65. The Buckeyes did make a run in the closing minutes and make it a one-possession game, but it just was not enough.
Reneau was outstanding against Ohio State in Assembly Hall for the second consecutive year, leading all scorers with 23 points on 10-of-16 shooting over 37 minutes. He also had seven rebounds and one block, steal, and assist apiece. Johnson (18) and CJ Gunn (10) both scored in double digits as well.
Battle led Ohio State with his 17 points (five three-pointers), but also turned the ball over five times. Zed Key was the only other Buckeye in double digit with 11, but it should also be noted that Okpara yanked down a career-high 15 rebounds during a game where Ohio State grabbed a whopping 49 of them and somehow still lost. Okpara also had six points and five blocks in 30 minutes.
If you weren’t around tonight to see Ohio State get overwhelmed in Assembly Hall once again, here are a few key moments and plays that ultimately carried the Hoosiers to the win.
Indiana setting the tone below the basket
By starting both the 6-foot-9 Reneau and the 7-footer Ware, Indiana makes it abundantly clear where they’re trying to establish dominance — in the paint. They did that early on Saturday night, with 12 of Indiana’s first 15 points being scored in the paint. Ohio State, meanwhile, was scoring on difficult, contested jumpers that were much less sustainable than dunking the basketball right below the rim, like Ware was trying to do every single possession. Ware would go on to finish with eight points on 4-of-9 shooting in 31 minutes. He also had six rebounds.
12-0 runs puts Ohio State ahead
After falling behind 15-8 early on, Ohio State put together a 12-0 run starting at the 13:35 mark to pull ahead of Indiana, 20-15. That run was highlighted by two three-pointers for Jamison Battle, two mid-range jumpers from Thornton, and a slam dunk from Zed Key.
Chatman, Middleton chip in big-time during the first half
With Thornton saddled to the bench with foul trouble, Taison Chatman was called on to play huge minutes alongside Gale and Bonner. The freshman had a big steal from CJ Gunn to take away an IU possession, and otherwise just kept things afloat in Thornton’s absence for several minutes. Middleton was a nuisance on defense —mostly on Mgbako and Galloway —and also chipped in nine points on a perfect 4-of-4 shooting.
Galloway fouls Key with 0.4 left on the clock and the crowd goes bananas
With 4.6 seconds remaining in the first half, Dale Bonner inbounded the ball to Evan Mahaffey under Ohio State’s basket. Mahaffey took two dribbles to the basket and shot it, but it was no good. However, Zed Key grabbed it and tried to pop it back in for a bucket right as the halftime horn sounded.
The shot didn’t go and the IU crowd started the cheer, but nobody heard the whistle amidst all the cheering. Galloway was called for his second foul of the game, sending Key to the line with 0.4 left on the clock.
Key knocked down both free throws to put Ohio State ahead 38-37 at halftime, and a chorus of boos rained down on the officials as both teams made their way to their respective locker rooms. Key would go on to finish with 11 points, five rebounds, and two blocks in 17 minutes.
Ohio State opens the second half on 8-0 run, goes up 46-37
The Buckeyes opened the second half with an 8-0 run in the first 1:55, capped off by Battle’s fourth three-pointer of the game. Woodson was forced to call a timeout at the 18:05 mark of the first half, as the fans began booing and getting restless. It was Battle’s 20th three-pointer in the last four games. He finished the game with 17 points on 6-of-12 shooting, and was 5-of-10 from downtown. He also had nine rebounds and five turnovers in 34 minutes.
Indiana responds with an 8-0 run to make it a one-point game again
After the Buckeyes took a nine-point lead, Indiana went on an 8-0 run of its own over a span of 2:08 to make it 46-45, Ohio State. The Buckeyes went on a scoring drought of 5:40 after taking that nine-point lead, squandering an opportunity to put the Hoosiers away and make the fans calm down.
Gunn gives IU a three-point lead
Indiana started to see the ball drop in the tin a bit more in the second half, and CJ Gunn’s long two-point jumper dropped in with 8:58 remaining to give Indiana a 55-52 lead — its biggest lead since it was 15-8 in the first half. Gunn finished with 10 points on 4-of-7 shooting in 24 minutes.
Reneau’s slam makes it a 10-point game
Already up 64-56, Indiana was able to make it a 10-point game courtesy of a Trey Galloway alley-oop slam to Reneau below the basket. That made it 66-56 with 3:46 left in the game, and that was about all she wrote for the Buckeyes. Ohio State did go on a run late to cut the lead to two points, but that was as close as they would get.
Ohio State (12-3, 2-2) is off until Wednesday when it welcomes the Wisconsin Badgers (11-3, 3-0) to the Scottenstein Center for a late-night battle. The Badgers are fresh off an 88-72 win over Nebraska and are the only team left that has yet to lose a Big Ten game.
Ohio State’s matchup with Wisconsin will be broadcast on BTN and tips off at 8:30 p.m. ET.