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Ohio State gives away an 18-point second-half lead (again) to lose to Indiana 76-73

The Buckeyes continue to be an absolutely miserable second-half team.

NCAA Basketball: Indiana at Ohio State Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Hoping to even the score after last month’s 71-65 loss to the Hoosiers in Bloomington, the Ohio State men’s basketball team (13-10, 3-9) welcomed Indiana (14-9, 6-6) to the Schottenstein Center on Tuesday night. Both teams came into this game on a slide, with the Hoosiers having lost four of their last five games and Ohio State only earning one win in its last eight.

Both teams are NCAA Tournament afterthoughts at the moment but don’t tell that to Mike Woodson or Chris Holtmann. Both head coaches know that they are just barely past the halfway point of their conference schedules. Mathematically, both of these teams have plenty of opportunities ahead of them to rack up wins. However, that’s looking pretty unlikely to everyone outside of those two locker rooms.

Despite the recent run of losses, Holtmann did not make any changes to his starting lineup, with sophomores Bruce Thornton, Roddy Gayle, Felix Okpara, and Evan Mahaffey playing alongside senior Jamison Battle. With senior point guard Xavier Johnson out for the second consecutive game with an elbow injury, Mike Woodson went with a starting lineup of Gabe Cupps, Trey Galloway, Malik Reneau, Mackenzie Mgbako, and Kel’el Ware.

Thornton and Gayle did all the scoring for the Buckeyes through the first several minutes, as the two teams played to a 6-6 tie at the first media timeout 4:05 into the game. Thornton took four shots in the opening four minutes, knocking down two of them. Meanwhile, Reneau was extremely active for the Hoosiers, drawing two fouls before the first media timeout — it was clear IU was going to continue trying to run everything through him and Ware.

Ohio State ripped off a 9-0 run starting around the 10-minute mark of the first half to take a 10-point lead over the Hoosiers, its first double-digit lead since the Penn State game on January 20. Four different Buckeyes contributed to the 9-0 run that quickly became a 13-1 run. In just over three minutes, Ohio State’s 16-15 lead had ballooned to a 29-16 lead.

Indiana cut the lead down to nine for a minute, but Gayle scored four more points in the final minute of the first half to give the Buckeyes a 42-29 halftime lead. It was the second consecutive game that the Buckeyes held a lead at halftime, except the lead on Tuesday night was exactly 13 times as large as Ohio State’s halftime lead at Iowa last week.

Gayle led all scorers with 15 points in the first half on a perfect 5-of-5 shooting and also hit all four of his free throws. Battle, Thornton, and Mahaffey chipped in eight, seven, and seven, respectively, for an Ohio State team that shot an even 50% during the first half.

Reneau led Indiana with 10 first-half points as he continued to be a problem for these Buckeyes. He was 6-of-9 at the free throw line, as the sophomore big man shot almost as many free throws by himself as Ohio State did as a team in the first half (13). The Hoosiers shot 33.3% in the first half.

The second half started with a very abrupt technical foul assessed to Reneu, who was sure he was fouled by Mahaffey on a shot below the basket. After he missed and Okpara grabbed the rebound, Reneau began jawing at an official and was T’d up immediately. Battle hit both free throws for Ohio State, putting them up 44-29, less than a minute into the second half.

Ohio State’s lead extended out to 18 early in the second half, but the Hoosiers responded and cut it to 55-46 by the under-12 media timeout with 11:52 left in the game. The Hoosiers were attacking the offensive glass, with Galloway and Reneau each grabbing multiple offensive rebounds and scoring multiple second-chance baskets during the second half. By the under-eight media timeout with 7:42 left in the game, Ohio State was holding firm with a 10-point lead, 63-53.

But, as has been a staple of this team, the Buckeyes bent the knee during the final 10 minutes, allowing Indiana to go on a 10-0 run to get back within two points of Ohio State with 4:35 left in the game. Galloway was the catalyst, more than doubling his scoring average on a night when Indiana desperately needed a win. Another massive three-pointer from the senior made it 67-66 Ohio State with 4:15 left.

The Buckeyes continued to be one of the worst second-half teams in the Big Ten Conference. For the second time this season, Ohio State had an 18-point lead in the second half and wound up losing the game. Ware’s left-handed basket with 2:40 left in the game completed the Hoosiers’ comeback, stunning the Buckeyes (but not their fans) at home and handing Ohio State its ninth conference loss of the season, 76-73. Ohio State briefly re-took the lead, 73-71, on a pair of Battle free throws, but Anthony Leal knocked down the biggest shot of his life with 22 seconds remaining — a three-pointer from the corner — to put the Hoosiers back up 74-73 and win it for Indiana.

The combo of Reneau and Galloway combined to drop 51 points, with the former scoring 26 and the latter 25. Reneau also had 14 rebounds, two assists, and one block to finish out his monster stat line. Galloway’s 25 points was the second-highest output of his career. He also six rebounds, four assists, and one steal.

Gayle and Battle each had 19 points for Ohio State. Thornton was also in double digits for the Buckeyes with 11 points, but did so on a less than efficient 4-of-13 shooting.

For the game, Ohio State shot 41.5% overall and 29.4% from three. Indiana shot 44.6% overall and 38.5% from three. Indiana won the rebounding battle 36-30, and beat Ohio State in paint points (38-30) and second-chance points (14-7).

If you opted not to watch tonight or don’t have Peacock, here are a few key moments, plays, and statistics that played a part in Indiana’s second win over the Buckeyes this year:

Fouls start to mount for Buckeyes

Indiana is always looking to work their offense through the paint. The Hoosiers attempt and make fewer three-pointers than any other team in the Big Ten, and that remained true through the first several minutes of Tuesday night’s game.

Indiana got to the rack early and often on Tuesday night, drawing six fouls through the first 8:12 and hitting 6-of-8 free throws. While the Hoosiers took eight free throws in the first eight minutes, Ohio State only got to the line one time, which was Mahaffey capping off a three-point play after an up-and-under layup.

Ohio State’s 9-0 run gives the Buckeyes a double-digit lead

Starting at the 10:13 mark of the first half, the Buckeyes went on a 9-0 run to go ahead 25-15, with four different players contributing.

-Gayle scored with a layup high off the right side of the backboard.

-Mahaffey stole the ball at halfcourt and passed to Thornton sprinting down the floor, who dumped it off to Okpara, who was fouled. Okpara hit both free throws.

-Mahaffey shot faked to the right, and then pivoted left and scored around Ware with the left hand on the left side of the bucket.

-Thornton knocked down a three-pointer from the left wing, not far from the Indiana bench.

-Mike Woodson called a timeout, with his team down 10.

Ohio State singling out Centerville product Gabe Cupps

Gabe Cupps, a 6-foot-2 freshman guard from Centerville, had an Ohio State offer. Holtmann and his staff were very involved with the former four-star recruit, who ultimately wound up at Indiana.

Certainly, there were no hard feelings between Cupps and Ohio State, but the Buckeyes went at Cupps repeatedly during the first half of Tuesday’s game. When Thornton or Gayle had Cupps on them, the Buckeyes’ guards made a concerted effort to get to the basket.

Cupps wound up playing 15 minutes in the first half, picking up two fouls and scoring two points on 1-of-3 shooting.

Gayle scores Ohio State’s final six to end the half

Gayle played one of his better halves of basketball Tuesday night, scoring 15 points on a perfect 5-of-5 shooting. He scored the Buckeyes’ final six points of the first half — four of them came at the free throw line and the last one was a layup.

Reneau T’d up to start the second half

Reneau missed a shot during Indiana’s first offensive possession of the second half, and on the way back up the floor the sophomore big man had some words for an official, who immediately assessed him a technical foul. Battle knocked down both free throws to put Ohio State up 44-29 with 19:30 left in the game.

Galloway’s second-chance basket gets Indiana back within nine

After an Okpara free throw made it 51-36 Ohio State with 15:49 remaining, Indiana went on a 6-0 run, capped off by a Trey Galloway second-chance basket. Galloway missed the initial layup short but was able to grab his own miss and flip it back in to make it 51-42 with 13:38 remaining in the game.

Galloway’s 25 points were the most he’d scored since his 28-point game against Kansas on Dec. 16.

Ware’s basket gives Indiana the lead with 2:40 left

After all of Galloway’s heroics to get Indiana back in the game, Ware scored over the top of Mahaffey and Key with 2:40 left in the game to put the Hoosiers up for the first time since it was 10-9 early in the first half. His basket put Indiana up, 70-69.

Battle’s free throws give Ohio State 73-71 lead with 32 seconds left

With 32 seconds left in the game and everything all knotted up at 71, Battle dribbled to the left elbow and took a shot, and was fouled by Mgbako. He sunk both, making him a perfect 10-of-10 at the free throw line. The free throws gave Ohio State a 73-71 lead in the final seconds.

Leal’s sixth three of the year puts Indiana back up

Anthony Leal is one of the very last men off the bench for Indiana. The senior from Bloomington has never averaged more than 11 minutes per game in his entire career at IU, and had only taken 14 shots this season, entering tonight’s game.

On the final possession of the game, Galloway drew a ton of attention up top, passed to Leal in the far corner, and he connected on his sixth three-pointer of the season to put the Hoosiers up, 74-73.

Up Next:

Ohio State (13-10, 3-9) will stay home this week, as they welcome the Maryland Terrapins (13-10, 5-7) to Columbus on Saturday afternoon. Maryland has been teetering back and forth all season, but has one of the better scoring trios in the conference with Jahmir Young, Donta Scott, and Julian Reese and was picked to be one of the four best teams in the Big Ten before the season began.

The Buckeyes’ battle with the Turtles will tip off at 4 p.m. ET and will be broadcast on FS1.