Indiana marched into Columbus coming off a tough loss to Illinois and made the Buckeyes pay for it 81-68. The Hoosiers dug a deep hole for the Buckeyes before having to hold on in the last two minutes of the game to keep the Bucks from making good on their comeback attempt. Indiana saw three players break double digits in scoring, and in fact score all but 11 of the team’s scoring, with Cody Zeller’s 24, Victor Oladipo with 25, and Christian Watford picked up 18. The Buckeyes responded with three of their own with DeShaun Thomas (26), Aaron Craft (16), and LaQuinton Ross (11).
The first half was a picture of exciting offense – mostly for Indiana. While Indiana started out of the gate quickly, a 9-0 run allowed the Buckeyes to sneak back into the game. Outside of that excellent run, where solid defense helped keep the Hoosiers from finding easy looks, the Buckeyes looked simply outgunned on both sides of the court. Indiana needed only four players to score, and the Bucks simply couldn’t play enough defense to stop them. Adding to their problems was the foul difficulties that allowed Indiana to get to the line repeatedly over the last 5 minutes. It all added up to an 8 point Hoosier lead going into the half.
The second half was not much of an improvement for the Buckeyes. The Hoosiers came out of the gate and quickly regained their momentum to blitz out to a double digit lead. OSU had very little answer for the surging Hoosiers, finding themselves completely unable to consistently make things happen on offense. To make matters worse, they also couldn’t pick up a string of stops on defense to try to help close the gap. By the eight minute mark, the Hoosiers were in a clock-eating mode, satisfied to cling to their double digit lead.
This is yet another learning-lesson game for the Buckeyes today. They still need to figure out the offense, and they’ve discovered that their defense is not yet up to par against the top competition in the nation. However, the team showed heart at the end in trying to fight back even when the game seemed hopeless. If they could learn to capture that passion more easily earlier in ball-games, they could turn into something special down the stretch this season.
1. The light seems to have come on for LaQuinton Ross. While he still has a few low basketball-IQ moments here and there, he’s much better at knowing when to find his shot and when to distribute the ball. Seeing it happen two games in a row against quality competition is a good sign for him moving forward.
2. The defense can have their moments, even against the best in the nation. This defense is still clearly a work in progress, but the talent and skills are there. If they could learn to consistently keep the other team down it would be a big help towards making the weaker offense more effective.
1. The Buckeyes are typically very good at minimizing their fouling during a game by playing smart defense. That trait was not present today as they allowed Indiana to get into the double bonus with 4 minutes left in the 1st half, and again…
2. Offense was a bit of a struggle today. Give credit to Indiana’s defense for playing tough and making shots difficult for the Buckeyes, but there seemed to be a lot of poor effort from the Bucks in the half-court. Bad passes, poor shot selection, and awkward floor positioning are all continuing symptoms of this offense against quality defenses.
The Buckeyes will next face the Northwestern Wildcats in Value City Arena on Thursday, February 14th. You’ll be able to see that game at 7:00 PM Eastern on the Big Ten Network.