COLUMBUS, OH - The old saw is that every dog has it's day. Having never researched exactly what a Hoosier is, it now appears that Hoosier is a breed of dog, because the Hoosiers came to Columbus and definitely had their day against the Buckeyes.
This has been a season of struggle for both Indiana (17-14, 7-11 B1G) and Ohio State (17-14, 7-11 B1G). Hanging in the balance in this game was a bye in the upcoming Big Ten tournament. The winner of this game would secure the 10th tournament seed and earn a first-day bye. The loser would be forced to play on the first day of the tournament. Both teams needed to have a day to have a chance to perhaps advance in the B1G tournament and earn at least a chance to be considered for the NCAA tournament or even win the B1G tournament to get the automatic league bid to the NCAA. Playing an extra game is not the ideal way to do that, so this game was important to both teams, and both were hoping for a good performance.
From the opening tip Indiana didn't just get a good performance, they got nearly flawless one. They were lights out, and it was just too much for the Buckeyes to overcome.
The Hoosiers started the game by making their first six shots, three of them three pointers to jump out to a 15-5 lead. They finally missed a shot on their seventh possession, but got the offensive rebound and scored to make it 17-5. The only thing that slowed down the onslaught was the first media time out, but that was a temporary respite. The torrid shooting continued and Indiana led 25-8 with 14:28 still left to play in the first half.
“We needed a cover over the basket," said OSU Head Coach Thad Matta.
"They opened up leading by 11. We saw
that a little bit with Michigan State a month ago, but Indiana just kept going
The hot shooting continued for the rest of the half. Indiana led by as many 18 points and had put up 54 points when the first half ended to hold a 54-40 lead.
It looked bleak for the Buckeyes, but they had a little magic left too. OSU opened the second half on a 13-3 run to trim the Indiana lead to 57-53 and clearly seize the momentum. The Buckeyes actually took the lead when C. J. Jackson knocked down a three to give OSU a 62-61 lead with 11:37 remaining on the clock.
It would be their last lead of the day.
Indiana rebuilt their lead to as many as 12 at 81-69 with 4:44 remaining. The Buckeyes made a run late in the game and got to within four with 42 seconds remaining in the game, but that as as close as they could get as Indiana hit clutch free throws down the stretch to preserve the win.
The Hoosiers were led by Johnson who scored a game-high 26 points on 10-17 shooting that included 5 of 8 from three. Johnson had made just 7 of his last 42 attempts from three over the last 8 games, but was on target against the Buckeyes. James Blackmon added 22, Josh Newkirk 18, Bryant Thomas 16 and Juwan Morgan 11.
The 96 points scored by Purdue was the highest total ever scored by an opponent in Value City Arena.
OSU was led by JaeSean Tate with 20, Trevor Thompson was not far behind with 19. C. J. Jackson and JaQuan Lyle each added 18 and Marc Loving 11.