How it Happened
The Hoosiers (17-14, 7-11) came out running tremendous offense. On the game's opening possession, Robert Johnson found James Blackmon Jr. on a nifty backdoor cut for an easy layup. Three possessions later, Blackmon Jr. added a triple from the right wing. Sandwiched in between those plays were 3s from Johnson and Newkirk, respectively. At the 17:39 mark of the first half, Indiana was 4-for-4 from the field and up 11-0, forcing Ohio State to call a timeout.
The timeout didn't do much to cool Indiana off. The Hoosiers made their first six shots from the field and nine of their first ten as they continued to move the ball well and make good passes. The IU lead reached as many as 17 at 25-8 when freshman De'Ron Davis grabbed an offensive rebound and kicked the ball out to Johnson for the junior's second triple. Indiana scored on 11 possessions in a row to open the game, while seven of those baskets were assisted.
The offensive onslaught continued for the Hoosiers as the half approached its midway point, with Johnson leading the charge. The guard hit his first five shots and had 12 points already at the under-12 timeout, to go along with four assists and two rebounds. At that point, Indiana was in front 32-15 and was an incredible 13-for-15 from the field. Significantly, the hot shooting wasn't coming only from jump shots. With 11:51 left in the first half, Indiana had a 16-2 advantage in points in the paint, as it overpowered a struggling Ohio State team from the inside and the outside.
As the half entered its later stages, OSU (17-14, 7-11) began to heat up in its own right. The Buckeyes made 5-of-8 from beyond the arc to open the game, including a pair of 3s from JaQuan Lyle, who led the team with 15 points in the opening half. When Lyle drove straight through the lane for an easy layup, the Indiana lead was cut to single digits at 39-30.
Indiana responded, however, and opened the lead back up again. Following Lyle's driving layup, two straight IU possessions ended in and-ones, one from Newkirk and one from Bryant. Bryant's was particularly impressive as he got the ball in the post, spun to his right shoulder and put a reverse layup through the basket. The big man had 14 points in the half on 6-for-8 from the field, one of four Hoosiers in double figures in the half. Newkirk knocked in a 3-pointer with 3:47 remaining that put his team in front 50-35.
In the final minutes of the first period, Indiana maintained that margin. Bryant's last bucket of the half came when he took a pass from Davis in the post and dunked the ball with two hands. He ran back up the court pumping his fist. As the clock wound down on the half's final possession, Newkirk knifed through the lane and laid the ball in to equal a season-high in first-half points for the Hoosiers as a team and give them a 54-40 lead at the break.
Indiana shot 65 percent in the opening half and, importantly, kept its turnovers in check, giving the ball away just five times while Ohio State coughed it up six times. All 54 points came from Indiana's starters, as the bench only took three shots in the entire half.
As the second half began, the Hoosiers' offense was much more stagnant than it had been in the first half. A Devonte Green 3-pointer was IU's only basket in the first four minutes of the half, while Ohio State was slicing into the lead. A 3 from CJ Jackson cut the lead to single digits and then center Trevor Thompson scored five straight points, including an old-fashioned 3-point play, to make it a 10-0 OSU run and trim the IU advantage to just four at 57-53. Newkirk broke the run for Indiana with a huge driving layup in transition off a Buckeye turnover.
After Newkirk's play, Ohio State kept coming, though. A Loving triple cut the IU lead to just two and when Jackson added a second triple of the half with 11:37 to play, the Buckeyes had come all the way back to take the lead at 62-61. Jackson's shot, from the top of the key, concluded a 8-0 Buckeye run that took place as Indiana was going through a three-minute stretch without scoring. Worse for Indiana, Zach McRoberts committed a foul with 10:06 to go that put Ohio State in the bonus.
With Indiana's back seemingly against the wall, though, Johnson stepped up and made back-to-back big plays to give Indiana the lead again. The 6-foot-3 guard followed a short jumper with a wide open left-wing triple that hit nothing but the bottom of the net to put his team in front 69-64 with 7:53 to play. Out of the under-eight timeout, Juwan Morgan took control. The sophomore forward scored five quick points, on a pair of layups through fouls to make it a 10-0 Indiana run and give the Hoosiers a 74-64 lead. Then, when Ohio State broke the run on the following possession, Morgan answered with a powerful putback dunk off a Blackmon Jr. miss.
Possibly the biggest play of the game with just under five minutes to go. At that point, McRoberts rotated the ball around to Johnson at the top of the key, several feet behind the 3-point line. Johnson did not hesitate and, as he had all day, made a huge shot for Indiana, draining a triple from about 25 feet away. The shot gave Indiana a commanding 81-69 advantage with 4:44 left.
Ohio State cut the lead down again in the game's final minutes, and Jackson drained a triple from the top of the key to slice the margin to just two with three seconds left. Indiana got the ball into Blackmon Jr. and OSU fouled him. The junior guard hit both free throws to seal a regular-season-ending win for the Hoosiers.
Player of the Game-Robert Johnson
Johnson made big plays all afternoon for Indiana, scoring 20-plus points for the third time this season. He went 10-for-17 from the field, including 5-for-8 from beyond the arc. His performance was all the more impressive considering he had scored nine points combined in his last two games. The Richmond, Virginia native added six assists, six rebounds and two steals for good measure.
It was Senior Day for the Buckeyes, honoring Loving, the team's only senior...IU finishes the regular season 2-7 in true road games...the Hoosiers beat the Buckeyes in Columbus for the first time since 2013...Indiana's four blocks against OSU gives it 141 for the season, a new high in the Tom Crean era...IU assisted on 18 of its 34 baskets...IU's 96 points set a record for a road team at Value City Arena; the previous record was 84...The Hoosiers came in leading the Big Ten and seventh in the country in average rebounding margin at plus-8.0 but the Buckeyes outrebounded them 34-28...Indiana went 12-for-23 (52 percent) from beyond the arc, the 11th time this season the team has made double-digit triples in a game; the Hoosiers came in shooting 15 percent from deep over the last four games...Jae'Sean Tate led OSU with 20 points
The Hoosiers' regular season is over and they will wait on Sunday's games to see what day they will play and who their opponent will be in the Big Ten Tournament. Indiana's next game will be either on Wednesday or Thursday. IU will be seeded either 10th or 11th in the tournament.