Indiana’s first outright Big Ten title in 20 years will have to wait, thanks to Ohio State.
The Buckeyes spoiled Senior Night for the Hoosiers, who could have clinched the regular-season Big Ten title with a win Tuesday night.
Instead, the 14th-ranked Buckeyes (22-7, 12-5 Big Ten) handled everything No. 2 IU could throw at them, and ensured that there could still be a four-way tie for the conference crown.
Deshaun Thomas had 18 points and Aaron Craft scored 15 for the Buckeyes, who won the fast-break point battle with Indiana 14-2.
It didn’t take as long for the Hoosiers to hit a 3-pointer this time around. In IU’s previous game, Saturday’s win over Iowa, the Hoosiers missed their first 14 shots from beyond the arc and didn’t make any until hitting two in the final minute.
But after misses by Jordan Hulls and Christian Watford to start the game, Hulls hit a 3-pointer at the 12:33 mark that gave IU the lead again, 13-11. The Hoosiers then forced a shot clock violation on the other end.
Early foul trouble for Cody Zeller and Victor Oladipo didn’t help IU’s cause. Both had two fouls in the first half, allowing the Buckeyes to build a 28-25 halftime lead. Oladipo (7) and Zeller (12) played just 19 combined minutes in the first half. The limited minutes meant Oladipo didn’t even attempt a shot in the first half.
That lead to IU’s lowest-scoring first half of the season, even worse than the 26 points the Hoosiers had on Saturday.
The Hoosiers came out of the break fired up, however, scoring the first five points to take a 30-28 lead. Ohio State would counter to keep the score close, and an 8-0 run would put the Buckeyes ahead 48-43 before a layup by Yogi Ferrell.
Ohio State made all the plays it needed down the stretch.
Zeller scored 17 and Watford added 12 points for the Hoosiers.