Game Analysis: IU 69, Ohio State 66

Here is a categorical look back at Indiana's 69-66 victory over Ohio State on Saturday. The Hoosiers held on by hitting their final nine free throws -- five by Blackmon and four by Yogi Ferrell.

Here is an analysis of Saturday’s 69-66 Indiana victory over Ohio State at Assembly Hall. It was the Big Ten home opener for IU. This analysis is a regular part of our coverage of Indiana basketball this season.

WHAT LOOKED GOOD:It starts with defense. Ohio State came into the game leading the Big Ten in shooting percentage at 52.2 percent and the Buckeyes were second in the conference in 3-point shooting at 40.5 percent. Saturday against the Hoosiers, IU limited Ohio State to 34.3 percent from the field which was the Buckeyes’ second-lowest shooting percentage of the season (the lowest was 30.4 percent against Louisville). Ohio State was also 3-for-21 from 3-point range, 14.3 percent. The fewest 3’s the Buckeyes had made in a game before Saturday was six. Another big key for Indiana in this one was IU’s ability to make free throws down the stretch. Going into the final media time out, IU was shooting just 12-of-19 from the free throw line. In the final 3 plus minutes, however, IU hit all nine with James Blackmon Jr. making five and Yogi Ferrell hitting four. Ferrell’s final two with 5.9 seconds to play (though both bounced around on the rim before falling in) gave IU its 69-66 edge. Another plus was rebounds where Indiana had a 48-39 edge. That means the Hoosiers have outrebounded their opponents in six of the last seven games. IU also did a good job dealing with the physicality of the game by matching Ohio State with seven blocks each. The seven blocks for Indiana tied for the second highest total of the season. But the other two high games were against Texas Southern (nine) and New Orleans (seven).

WHAT NEEDS TO IMPROVE:Ohio State lost the rebounding battle at 48-39 but the Buckeyes did manage 18 offensive rebounds and 20 second-chance points. Indiana also turned the ball over 15 times and the Buckeyes managed 15 points off of those turnovers. A big area for concern for Indiana again was how quickly IU squandered a lead. When James Blackmon Jr. scored on a drive to the basket and made a free throw with 3:32 to play, Indiana led 61-51. But the Buckeyes quickly went on a 9-2 run to cut the lead to 63-60 with 2:08 to play. With 32.1 seconds remaining Sam Thompson scored on a putback to get the Buckeyes to within one but then missed the free throw that could have tied it. Collin Hartman had a turnover against the press that gave Ohio State of the baskets and Emmitt Holt couldn’t finish inside that led to another Ohio State opportunity.


: The last two times that Ohio State has come to Assembly Hall, the rims have not been kind to good-shooting Buckeye squads. Saturday, Ohio State was 3-for-21 at Assembly Hall from beyond the arc. The last time, Ohio State was in Bloomington, it missed all 11 of its 3-point shots. That’s 3-for-32 the last two times in Bloomington for the Bucks.

FOR STARTERS:For the 11th game in a row, IU started with James Blackmon Jr., Robert Johnson and Yogi Ferrell along with forwards Troy Williams and Hanner Mosquera-Perea. That five combined to hit 15-of-43 shots from the field, 2-for-16 from 3-point range and 19-for-22 from the free throw line. The starters had 25 of the 48 rebounds, eight of nine assists and 10 of the 15 turnovers.

INDIVIDUAL OBSERVATIONS: Here’s a look at my own thoughts on a few Indiana players from Saturday’s victory over Ohio State:

1. Troy WILLIAMS: Tom Crean said in the postgame that Williams was embarrassed by the way he had played against Michigan State last Monday. Then, he didn’t score in 17 minutes and only took two shots. He was much more active Saturday. He had a double-double with 16 minutes to play and finished with 15 points and a career-high 12 rebounds. It was his second career double-double. Williams had a couple of slam dunks that will be candidates for ESPN’s SportsCenter as well as a big block on the defensive end, too, following one of his big offensive plays. He had energy and enthusiasm and was a big reason why Indiana won the game.

2. JAMES BLACKMON JR.:Blackmon Jr was 1-of-5 from the field in the first half and missed all three of his 3-point shots. He had two points and was clearly struggling. In the second half, however, he made 5-of-8 shots including a 3. He had 16 of his game-high 18 points. He also had seven rebounds and made all five of his free throws in the closing minutes.

3. COLLIN HARTMAN: He only took one shot but contributed to the victory in so many ways. Hartman made several big hustle plays including a ball he kept alive under the IU basket that resulted in a bucket for Emmitt Holt. Hartman had two points, six rebounds and three blocked shots in 24 minutes of play. The 24 minutes equaled his career high. He also had 24 against Pittsburgh and Butler this season.

NEXT UP: Indiana (12-4, 2-1) plays host to Penn State Tuesday at 7 p.m. on a game that will be televised by the Big Ten Network. Penn State is also 12-4 but 0-3 in conference play.

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