(Image courtesy myajc.com, game information courtesy ohiostatebuckeyes.com, ESPN.com, stats courtesy of teamrankings.com)
Before we get started, I want to thank JC for minding the store to keep things running in my absence this week. More on that tomorrow, probably…
Ohio State’s C.J. Jackson opened the scoring with a layup twenty seconds into the game and ended the scoring with a 3-pt dagger with 2 seconds remaining in the second overtime. Sandwiched between Jackson’s scores were almost 50 minutes of last-man-standing basketball with 16 lead changes and 14 ties.
At the 13:51 mark in the first half, the teams were at 10-all. Eight minutes later, Ohio State was holding a 12 point lead, 26-14. Less than six minutes later the teams were tied at 33-all going into the half. The Buckeyes had build a nice lead, but couldn’t put the Hoosiers away.
In the second half, Ohio State never trailed until the 3:55 mark in the game. Two free throws by Indiana’s Justin Smith tied the game at 63-all with 2:18 remaining, where regulation would end.
In the first overtime, the teams stayed within two points of each other as (again) Indiana’s Robert Johnson made two free throws with :07 remaining to tie the game at 70 and force a second overtime.
In this overtime period, the teams stayed within 1 point of one another (7 lead changes and 1 tie) until Juwan Morgan put IU up 78-77 (again, within 1 point and another lead change) with :07 remaining. Which was just enough time for C.J. Jackson to take the inbound pass, dribble to well outside the three-point line, and while his defender was still back-peddling a bit, launched the game winner.
Ohio State shot 48% from the field (33-69), 33% (6-18) from 3-point range and 61% from the foul line (8-13).
Indiana shot 44% from the field (29-65), 44% from 3-point range (7-16) and 56% (13-23) from the foul line.
The Buckeyes had all five starters hit double figures. Kieta Bates-Diop had 24 points), Kam Williams (15), C.J. Jackson (13), Jae’Sean Tate (12) and Kaleb Wesson (12). KBD had a game high 14 rebounds and Jae’Sean provided 6 assists.
The Hoosiers were led by Juwan Morgan (18), Robert Johnson (17) and Justin Smith (16). Zach McRoberts led them in rebounding with 8 and Josh Newkirk in assists with 6.
What Went Right
Shooting: They shot a decent 48% for the game, and kept improving as the game went on. In the first half, they shot 40% from the floor. In the second half, 52% and in O/T, 58%. The Buckeyes seemed to be more efficient as they needed.
Ball Movement: Ohio State’s off-ball movement and team mate awareness seemed to be pretty good since they racked up 16 assists. Interestingly, of OSU’s 16 assists, 14 came from three players: Tate (6), Bates-Diop (4) and Dakich (4). It seemed the player with the better court/game awareness were nudging the team along.
Coaching: I think Coach Chris Holtmann did a nice job of tempering his players expectations and reactions. Especially that of Jae’Sean Tate. JST plays with a lot of passion and can get easily frustrated when the play and officiating aren’t to his expectations. I think Holtmann did a nice job of getting his players to work through some frustrating / questionable / annoying parts of the game to come out with the win. As much as the players deserve credit for this win, so does Coach Holtmann and his staff.
Interior Defense: Due to some well designed motion plays, and good individual effort, Indiana was able to fairly easily penetrate OSU’s interior defense. The Hoosiers had 42 points in-the-paint. Of Indiana’s 16 assists, 9 were for layups ‘in the paint’.
Defensive Rebounding: Ohio State gave up 15 offensive rebounds which led to 12 Indiana second-chance points; 2 more than OSU scored. To Indiana’s credit, they are a very quick, active team. Ohio State just failed to find bodies to block out at times.
Free Throw Shooting: I think a visiting team has to assume the officiating at Assembly Hall will not necessarily be … balanced. You will not get as many opportunities as the home team, so you need to take advantage of what you get. Going 8-13 from the free throw line is not taking advantage of what you get.
Ball Handling: For similar reasoning as the point above, Ohio State needed to be as efficient as they could on offense which included minimizing their empty possessions by turning the ball over. They turned the ball over 13 times. At 48% shooting, OSU had to forego 6 field goals, or about 13 points. Additionally, the T/Os also led to 19 Hoosier points.
That’s all I have for now.
- This was an interesting, fun game to watch. Neither team could really shake the other. Ohio State worked its way to somewhat comfortable leads (2-3 possessions or more) at various points in the game followed by Indiana closing the gap to come even. Finally, with :02 remaining in the 2nd overtime, C.J. Jackson netted a 3-pt basket from somewhere near northeast Bloomington, to end the game.
- In nearly all of the “What Didn’t” list, I could make up a similar list of Indiana’s foibles. One example for be free throw shooting. Indiana was 13-23, 56% for the game. They went to the line 10 more times than OSU but came way with only 5 more points. From an OSU perspective, just because you are as bad at one aspect of the game as your opponent, doesn’t make it okay. Offsetting shitty play is still shitty play.
- According to teamrankings.com, the Buckeyes are now ranked as the 20th best team in the country and the 4th in the B1G. They are a 38% chance to make Sweet Sixteen and 6% to make Final Four.
- It was a spotty bench performance. Micah Potter was decent enough in 9 minutes (4 points and 3 rebounds). In 2 minutes, Musa Jallow barely created a ripple (1 foul). In 18 minutes, Andre Wesson had 2 rebounds, 1 turnover and 5 fouls. Five fouls in 18 minutes is a lot of play stoppage while you are on the court. Andrew Dakich, in 19 minutes, was a bit busier. He had 2 rebounds, 1 steal, 4 assists and 4 turnovers.
The Buckeyes get a few well-deserved days off, then travel to the hotbed of B1G basketball, New York City for the Big Ten Tournament running from February 28th – March 4th. Depending on how Michigan State does in its regular seasonal finale against Wisconsin on Sunday, Ohio State could be either the #1 or #2 seed for the tournament. In either case, their first game will be Saturday March 2nd. The game will be aired on BTN and/or you can listen on 97.1.