Led by 18 points from senior guard Keyshawn Woods, the No. 8-seed Ohio State Buckeyes (19-12, 8-12) advanced into the third round of the Big Ten Tournament with a 79-75 win over the No. 9-seed Indiana Hoosiers (17-15, 8-12).
Bolstered also by the return of center Kaleb Wesson, who scored 17 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, the Buckeyes found their scoring stroke again, putting four players in double figures.
Senior point guard CJ Jackson added 17 points and five assists. The Hoosiers were paced by guard Devonte Green, who scored a game-high 26 points, hitting 8 of his 10 three-point attempts.
With a pair of free throws from Kaleb Wesson to begin the game’s scoring, the Buckeyes actually held a lead for the first time since their win over Iowa two weeks ago. It didn’t last long, however, as Indiana freshman guard Romeo Langford dropped in a three-pointer at the 17:59 mark to lead it 3-2.
A pair of free throws from Musa Jallow and jumpers from Woods and Andre Wesson made it 8-3 Buckeyes. The two teams traded some baskets, including three-pointers from Kaleb Wesson and IU’s Devonte Green. A steal by Luther Muhammad and a dish to Duane Washington for a layup gave the Buckeyes a 13-9 lead midway through the first half.
Green would later tie the game at 15-15 with a jumper, but the Buckeyes responded with a quick five points thanks to a three from Andre Wesson and another jumper from Woods. CJ Jackson had to leave the game for a few minutes during this stretch with a bloody nose.
Indiana tied it again at 22-22 with 5:43 to play, but Woods provided another answer with a jumper. That was followed by a hook-shot from Kyle Young in the paint, and then another three from Andre Wesson to make it 29-22 with 3:48 remaining. Green then answered Wesson’s three with a three of his own yet again to cut the lead to four.
Leading 33-28 with under 30 seconds to play, Washington stole a pass from Langford and the Buckeyes called a timeout to plan their final possession of the half. With the game clock ticking its final seconds away, Woods backed down his defender and hit a turnaround jumper to give OSU the 35-28 lead at the half. Woods made all five of his field goal attempts in the half.
An offensive rebound by Woods to begin the second half led to a layup by Kaleb Wesson to give the Buckeyes their largest lead of the game.
Following a pair of free throws by IU’s Aljami Durham, CJ Jackson drained a three to give OSU a 40-30 lead. That basket was again answered by a three from Green, which was his third three-point answer of the game. A beautiful hesitation dribble and a finger roll from Jackson made it 42-33.
A little over a minute later, Jackson nailed a three to make it 45-34 with 14:58 to play. Indiana worked the game back down to eight points over the next two minutes, but from there, the Buckeyes really began to turn the screws.
Leading 53-43, Muhammad dropped in his first three-pointer since the loss to Maryland nearly four weeks ago. Three minutes later, he added another to make it 63-43 with 7:30 remaining.
The Hoosiers answered once again, this time with a 13-0 run featuring yet another three from Green. Leading 63-56 with 3:30 remaining, Kaleb Wesson found an open CJ Jackson at the top of the key for a three to give OSU a bit of breathing room at 66-56.
Following a deflected pass out of bounds, the Buckeyes retained possession with two seconds left on the shot clock. Head coach Chris Holtmann drew up a screen for Woods, who took the inbound pass and hit a baseline jumper to restore the 10-point lead at 70-60 with 1:57 to play.
From that point, the Hoosiers began desperation mode and started fouling the Buckeyes. Following a pair of Andre Wesson free throws, IU forward Evan Fitzner hit a three to make it 72-65. Muhammad then missed the front end of a one-and-one. Langford came down and scored a layup, then IU forced a held ball on the ensuing inbound play, which gave the ball to IU again. Langford scored quickly to make it 72-69 with 51 seconds to play.
Holtmann then called timeout to get his players situated. The ball went to Woods, who drove into the paint and connected on a floater to make it a 5-point game. The basket gave him 18 points on the night. Kaleb Wesson then drew a charge on IU’s next possession, which should have effectively ended the Hoosiers’ realistic hopes.
Instead, Green drilled two more threes, which were mingled among a Duane Washington dunk and an Andre Wesson free throw. With OSU leading 77-75 with six seconds remaining, CJ Jackson was fouled and made both free throws to end the scoring and secure the win for the Buckeyes.
Ohio State finished with 22 assists on 28 made field goals. Five different Buckeyes had at least three assists, and everyone who played more than seven minutes had at least one assist.
The Buckeyes will now take on No. 1-seed Michigan State Friday at 12:30 pm on BTN.
Keyshawn Woods went 5-for-5 shooting in the first half, scoring 10 of his team-high 18 points. That wasn’t the end of his day, however. Despite missing his first two attempts in the second half, Woods still managed to hit some clutch baskets in the game’s final minutes. He also grabbed seven rebounds, handed out four assists, had a block, two steals, and just one turnover in 32 minutes of action.
+ Luther Muhammad only scored six points, but the fact that he hit a pair of threes is almost bigger than the points it provided. Muhammad has been impossibly cold from the field over the last month. Perhaps this is a turn of the corner for him.
+ The Buckeyes came away with 12 steals, though to classify each of them as a “steal” is using the loosest definition of the term. At least three or four of those were thrown directly to a Buckeye with no Hoosier in sight. Ohio State turned IU’s 17 turnovers into 24 points. Ohio State turned the ball over 16 times in this one, but the Hoosiers could only manufacture those mistakes into six points.
+ Andre Wesson had a team-high +7 plus/minus. He scored 13 points on just five field goal attempts. Oddly, he did not grab a single rebound, turned the ball over four times, and also had four personal fouls.
The Box Score