Speed, Strength and Second chance opportunities looked like they would be the difference early on New Year’s Eve, but it was timely shots, late offensive momentum, questionable officiating and unprecedented mistakes that led to Indiana’s 74-70 win in Bloomington to end 2011.
After Jared Sullinger started the game with an old fashioned three point play with a nice move to the low post, it was the play of guards Aaron Craft and Lenzelle Smith Jr. early that led to a 7-0 run to begin play. Sullinger stole an inbound pass in front of the Hoosier hoop that led to a breakaway layup from Craft. Lenzelle Smith Jr. would follow up with two offensive rebounds that turned into two points on a tip in.
Sullinger would go 3-3 in the first 8 minutes of the ballgame. After hitting the bench, due to foul trouble, the storyline of the game started to change.
Halfway through the first, Indiana started to find their rhythm. Jordan Hulls hit a wide open three from the nearside wing to draw the game within 7. Ohio State would be held six plus minutes without a field goal. With 7:45 on the clock Victor Oladipo made it a 4 point game with another wide open look from the far wing.
After a series of questionable calls, Verdell Jones III would tie the ballgame at 25 from the free throw line. The physical aspect of the game was taken out of play, as every single hand check and movement caused a whistle.
The end of the first half became a scrum of defensive fortitude as both teams found themselves clawing on the court for possession.
Indiana took the lead for the first time in the ballgame with 5.8 seconds to go in the half. After a beautiful wraparound bucket from Cody Zeller on the baseline, Victor Oladipo swapped a steal near half-court and found a streaking Verdell Jones for the easy layup. Oladipo would cap off the half with a steal and emphatic dunk to give the Hoosiers a 33-32 lead heading into the locker room.
Jared Sullinger returned to the floor to start the second, causing two Cody Zeller fouls in :36 seconds. He would also get to the line right away and force Tom Pritchard’s fourth foul on the night.
William Buford was called for his fourth foul with 15 minutes to go. Both teams struggled to find a rhythm with the nature of the game. Thad Matta was forced to play 11 players due to the nature of the officials not ready to let go of 2011.
The Buckeyes held a three point lead for more than three minutes on an Aaron Craft put back layup from the high post. Sam Thompson would enter the ballgame with a little more than 12 minutes on the clock. After a blocked shot led to an defensive foul call on the charge attempt, Thompson would drive the ball home not once, but twice to silence Assembly Hall. The second was a one-handed slamma jamma from an inbounds pass. Aaron Craft hit what looked to be a momentum busting three pointer from the near wing with nine minutes left to play, but it was instantly answered by Victor Oladipo jumper on the opposite side.
Cody Zeller would then gain position inside on a beautiful bounce pass from Jordan Hulls at the near elbow. Zeller would sneak the ball into the hoop off the glass to tie the game at 55 all with just under 8 minutes to play.
Assembly Hall would erupt when Christian Watford found Jordan Hulls for three off a steal to give the Hoosiers a two point lead. After a William Buford bank shot tied the ballgame, Victor Oladipo would dunk it on home for the second time of the night.
With 5 minutes to go, Aaron Craft answered with a jumper to tie it up at 60 a piece. Jordan Hulls would respond with a two point layup, only to be deterred by a three point shot in the near corner from Lenzelle Smith jr to give the Buckeyes a one point lead with 3:50 remaining in the game.
Ten seconds later, Hulls would answer with a three of his own to give the Hoosiers a lead by two. Aaron Craft would tie it up at 65 from the line with three minutes to go.
Cody Zeller would give the Hoosier lead with a beautiful turnaround layup on the run from the line, beating Jared Sullinger. Sully would respond with force down in the post — forcing the foul and foul out of Zeller.
In five minute stretch of basketball that almost made up for the horrible pace of the game, Sullinger would finish the three point play to tie the ballgame at 68. Verdell Jones and Deshaun Thomas would exchange mid-range jumpers to give the Buckeyes a 70-69 lead.
Jones would then pick the pocket of Aaron Craft and get the ball to Indiana’s playmaker of the night, as Victor Oladipo sank a running layup to give the Hoosiers a one point lead with 28.8 seconds left on the clock.
Ohio State would have a chance on a nice bounce pass from Aaron Craft to a misplaced Sam Thompson on the baseline. With 15 seconds on the clock, The freshman tried to save the basketball to no avail. That would send Jordan Hulls to the line with 13 on the clock, who would make one out of two from the line.
Off the second miss, the Buckeyes pushed up the court, when Aaron Craft passed to William Buford, who mistakenly pulled up for three with a hand in his face, with a lot of time on the clock and only a two point deficit.
Aaron Craft would lead all Buckeyes with 16 points. Ohio State shot just 3-11 from three point range while allow the Hoosiers to go 5-13 from downtown. The Buckeyes actually out shot the Hoosiers, but late in the ballgame made costly mistakes with turnovers and wide open looks.
The 74-70 win over Ohio State gives the Hoosiers a win over the AP#1 and #2 team in the same season for the first time in program history.
Up next for the Buckeyes is Nebraska at home on Tuesday.