Courtesy of Steph Langan / Indiana Daily Student
Assembly Hall. Senior night. Facing an Indiana team – ranked No. 2 in the country – that was playing to secure its first outright Big Ten regular season title since 1993.
Everything and then some seemed to be up against Ohio State in Bloomington, Ind., Tuesday night.
But the No. 14-ranked Buckeyes overcame it all, upending the Hoosiers, 67-58.
With the win, OSU (22-7, 12-5 Big Ten) remains alive in the race for the league championship. If Indiana (25-5, 13-4 Big Ten) loses at Michigan Sunday and the Buckeyes beat Illinois, Thad Matta’s squad will hold a share of the Big Ten regular season title for the fourth-consecutive season.
It was junior guard Aaron Craft and sophomore guard Shannon Scott that got it done for OSU down the stretch. Indiana had a 43-40 lead with about 13 minutes left, but a 19-7 run powered by OSU’s guards all but put the game away.
Craft, pressured heavily for the majority of the second half by Indiana’s do-it-all junior guard Victor Oladipo, hit tough shot after tough shot. The guard known for his scrappy defense scored 15 points, six of which came in the final seven minutes.
Scott was a thorn in Indiana’s side nearly every time the Hoosiers had the ball. The sophomore guard had four steals and contributed to a number of other Indiana turnovers. Scott added eight points – most of which came as a result of his defensive effort – while dishing out three assists and grabbing three rebounds.
It was the defense Scott anchored that allowed OSU to stay with, and in front of, Indiana’s usually high-powered offense. The Buckeyes saw what the Hoosiers were capable of Feb. 10, when Indiana defeated OSU in Columbus 81-68.
OSU held Indiana to a season-low 25 points and 33 percent shooting in the first half. Part of that was due to the Hoosiers’ go-to scorers, sophomore forward Cody Zeller and Oladipo, getting in foul trouble. Both players picked up two fouls midway through the opening half and had to sit for the remainder of the first.
Oladipo was held to seven points, half his season average. The Hoosiers, who have four players averaging double figures on the season, had just two (Zeller and senior forward Christian Watford) hit that plateau Tuesday.
The Buckeyes’ leading scorer, junior forward Deshaun Thomas, scored 18 points on 17 shots. Of the eight players that saw the floor for OSU, sophomore center Amir Williams was the only one held scoreless.
OSU next is set to face off against Illinois Sunday at 12:30 p.m. at the Schottenstein Center. It will be Senior Day for the Buckeyes, with redshirt senior forward Evan Ravenel being the lone player to take part in the festivities.