Ohio State men’s basketball coach Thad Matta said it was the little things — like missing free throws — that cost his team against Penn State last week.
That song remained the same Sunday, as the Buckeyes shot 14-23 from the line compared to 17-21 for Indiana, helping the Hoosiers prevail, 72-64.
The free throw line was not the only place No. 22 OSU (22-8, 9-8, sixth in the Big Ten) struggled against the Hoosiers, as the Buckeyes failed to make a 3-pointer in the game, finishing 0-11.
A layup by senior guard Lenzelle Smith Jr. with 51 seconds left brought the Buckeyes within six points, but the Hoosiers (17-12, 7-9, seventh in the Big Ten) made enough free throws down the stretch to hold off OSU.
The Buckeyes started out strong, much like they did against Penn State Thursday, and led 20-12 after a free throw by Smith Jr. at the 7:54 mark of the first half.
That lead didn’t stand, however, as the Hoosiers ripped off 16 straight points to take the lead, 28-20. A pair of layups and a free throw by OSU helped to stop the bleeding, but Indiana still finished the first half on a 21-5 run on its way to a 33-25 halftime advantage.
The Buckeyes attempted to fight their way back into the game for the majority of the second half, but were unable to get closer than two in the second half.
Indiana was called for its ninth foul of the second half with 10:50 left, but OSU failed to take advantage of the double-bonus, only shooting five free throws for the rest of the game.
OSU trailed 58-53 after a layup by junior forward LaQuinton Ross with 3:55 remaining, but Hoosiers’ sophomore forward Hanner Mosquera-Perea then finished an alley oop while getting fouled by Ross. It was Ross’ fifth personal foul of the game, and he exited with 19 points.
The Buckeyes struggled the rest of the way to score without Ross on the floor, missing multiple jump shots as they tried to get back in the game.
Smith Jr. also tallied 19 points for the Buckeyes, who have now lost back-to-back games after winning six out of seven previous games.
The Hoosiers were led by leading scorer and sophomore guard Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell, who scored a game-high 20 points and dished out four assists. Senior forward Will Sheehey had 19 points and six rebounds.
OSU senior guard Aaron Craft struggled offensively for the Buckeyes, going 2-11 from the field to finish with seven points. His three steals in the game gave him 324 in his career, tying him for the most all-time in the Big Ten with former Illinois guard Bruce Douglas.
The loss drops OSU to sixth in the Big Ten standings, just a half game behind No. 20 Iowa and Nebraska for fourth place. The top four teams in the final Big Ten standings earn a first-round bye in the Big Ten Tournament, set to begin March 13.
The Buckeyes have a week off before their next scheduled game, as they are set to host No. 18 Michigan State Sunday on Senior Day. Tipoff is slated for 4:30 p.m. at the Schottenstein Center.
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