Kelvin Sampson's Big Ten debut didn't go as planned.
Ohio State freshman Greg Oden overcame some second-half foul trouble to score a career-high 21 points and fellow newcomer Mike Conley added nine points, ten assists and zero turnovers to lead the sixth-ranked Buckeyes to a 74-67 win over Indiana in both team's Big Ten openers.
Ohio State improved to 12-2 overall, while Indiana dropped to 9-4.
It wasn't easy for the Buckeyes. A Lance Stemler 3-pointer gave Indiana a 55-54 lead with 7:07 left, but OSU responded with a 13-5 run to open a seven-point cushion with three minutes left and Indiana would get no closer than five the rest of the way.
It marked the third time this season IU has gone on the road against good competition and given itself a chance to win in the game's final five minutes only to come up short. Indiana had chances at Duke and Kentucky as well before falling by three and five points, respectively.
"I don't want our kids being satisfied playing these teams tight," Sampson said. "At some point we have to make the plays to win these games."
It was Oden, Conley and the Buckeyes who made the plays down the stretch to emerge victorious. Conley was consistently able to penetrate into the lane and either finish or find open teammates for point blank baskets, while Oden made all four of his free throws in the final 1:18 to keep the Hoosiers from battling back.
"I saw Conley do the same thing against North Carolina," Sampson said. "He's really good with the ball in his hands."
Indiana, meanwhile, had a couple of miscues late that proved costly. Earl Calloway and Armon Bassett had careless turnovers on back-to-back possessions with under five minutes remaining and OSU leading by three. Then, with the Buckeyes leading 67-62 with 2:18 remaining, D.J. White traveled on the perimeter to give the ball back to OSU, which answered with a 3-pointer by Daequan Cook that pushed the lead to eight.
"The thing I liked about our team tonight was we gave ourselves a chance to win," Sampson said. "But we had a couple of untimely turnovers."
While Conley and Oden led the Buckeyes, Indiana hung around thanks to some prolific 3-point shooting. The Hoosiers knocked down 12-of-22 3-point attempts, including 7-of-12 in the second half.
Four of those came from redshirt freshman Joey Shaw, who scored a team-high 16 points on 6-of-11 shooting. Shaw, who entered the game averaging just 5.3 points per game, saw extended action due to an A.J. Ratliff wrist injury that kept him on the sidelines and some early foul trouble for Rod Wilmont.
But when Wilmont went to the sidelines, Shaw entered and went to work. Shaw scored 10 points during a five-minute first half stretch that turned a 12-7 IU deficit into a 20-19 IU lead with six minutes remaining in the half.
"I thought Joey really responded," Sampson said.
It wasn't only Shaw, though, who was connecting from deep. Stemler was 3-of-5 from 3-point range and finished with 11 points, while Armon Bassett missed only one of his four 3-point attempts and added 13. Rod Wilmont, meanwhile, added another two 3-pointers, including one with 1:00 remaining that cut OSU's lead to five, 72-67.
D.J. White, meanwhile, struggled to a 3-of-14 shooting night while going up against Oden. White did finish with 11 points and a game-high eight rebounds, seven of which came after halftime. White had only one rebound in the first half, and the Hoosiers were out-rebounded 17-9 in the game's opening 20 minutes.
"That was probably the thing that upset me the most at half," Sampson said. "Rod had zero (rebounds), D.J. has one. (White's) the one I challenged the most. D.J. played harder in the second half, but he has to put two halves together."
And Indiana needs to figure out a way to do more than just hang around against the best teams on its schedule if it hopes to be a factor in the Big Ten race.
"You have to make plays," Sampson said. "That's what winning on the road is about – you have to make key plays."
Stemler 4-6 0-0 11, D. White 3-14 5-5 11, Calloway 2-5 4-4 8, Bassett 4-8 2-2 13, Wilmont 3-6 0-0 8, Allen 0-1 0-0 0, Keeling 0-0 0-0 0, Shaw 6-11 0-0 16. Totals 22-51 11-11 67.
OHIO STATE 74
Harris 1-3 1-1 3, Oden 6-11 9-10 21, Conley 4-8 1-4 9, Butler 1-5 2-2 4, Lewis 2-5 5-8 10, Lighty 0-2 0-2 0, Cook 4-6 2-4 12, Hunter 5-6 4-4 14, Terwilliger 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 23-46 24-35 74.
3-Pointers: Indiana 12-22 (Shaw 4-7, Bassett 3-4, Stemler 3-5, Wilmont 2-5, Calloway 0-1), Ohio State 4-15 (Cook 2-3, Butler 1-4, Lewis 1-4, Conley 0-2, Harris 0-1, Lighty 0-1). Rebounds: Indiana 25 (White 8), Ohio State 31 (Hunter 6). Assists: Indiana 13 (Calloway 6), Ohio State 16 (Conley 10). Steals: Indiana 3 (Stemler, White, Wilmont), Ohio State 4 (Conley 3). Blocks: Indiana 2 (Calloway, White), Ohio State 7 (Oden 4). Turnovers: Indiana 10 (Calloway 3), Ohio State 8 (Lighty 2, Cook 2, Hunter 2).
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