Game MVP - D.J. White. White finished with 21 points and 13 rebounds for his 14th double-double of the season and is starting to look like the favorite to runaway with Big Ten Player of the Year honors. Eric Gordon might have gotten IU off to a good start with two 3-pointers in the game's opening 3 ½ minutes, but it was White's 12 points and 10 rebounds that lifted the Hoosiers to an eight-point lead by intermission. Much of White's early production was of his own doing, as eight of those 12 points came off his own offensive rebounds. Indiana hasn't had a Big Ten MVP since Jared Jeffries won the award in 2002, but you'd be hard pressed to find anyone who's in the same sentence with White at this point in the season. His closest competition is probably teammate Eric Gordon, but White is looking like a heavy favorite with eight games remaining in the regular season.
Biggest Surprise… Indiana did little behind the 3-point arc or at the free-throw line, yet still came away with the win. Generally the Hoosiers give teams fits with either their ability to either attack off the dribble or to get to the free-throw line or to score points in bunches from 3-point range, but IU had little success in either area. The Hoosiers missed 12 of their final 14 3-point attempts and made only four overall, and they didn't attempt a free-throw for the first 34 ½ minutes. The Hoosiers made up for it with a dominant effort in the paint by D.J. White, and some slashing buckets by both Jamarcus Ellis and Jordan Crawford.
What I Found Most Impressive… Indiana didn't appear to have a letdown of any sorts from Thursday night's emotionally-charged 83-79 double overtime win at Illinois. Considering everything that happened Thursday night in Champaign, the Hoosiers figured to come out a little flat against an Ohio State team that desperately needed a high-profile win to enhance its NCAA Tournament resume. IU also had only two days of practice to prepare for the Buckeyes, while OSU had four days to get ready after beating Michigan on Tuesday. But Indiana got out of the gates quickly, jumping to an 8-2 lead in the game's first three minutes to set the tone. The Hoosiers likely entered the week thinking they needed to split its road games at Illinois and OSU to remain in the hunt for the Big Ten title, but instead they found a way to put together a pair of hard-fought wins at a pair of venues that IU was a combined 1-9 dating back to 2002.
What I Found Most Concerning… For the third time in four games, D.J. White and Eric Gordon were the only two Hoosiers to score in double figures. IU got a solid game from Jordan Crawford (eight points, six rebounds, seven assists) and some timely buckets from Jamarcus Ellis and Armon Bassett, but in recent weeks IU has had a very nice 1-2 punch, but the rest of the team has been largely punch-less offensively. That hasn't done much slow the 20-3 Hoosiers, but there has to be some concern about the rest of the team's scoring woes. On Sunday everyone not named Gordon or White was a combined 10-37 from the floor (27.0%), and in the last four games the supporting cast is a combined 38-of-126 (30.1%). So long as both Gordon and White are on the floor and knocking down shots IU can weather the others' struggles, but if someone gets in foul trouble – particularly White – Indiana could have some issues.
Turning Point: Ohio State had cut the Hoosiers' lead to three, 46-43, with less than six minutes left, but IU responded with a 7-2 run that pushed the lead back to nine. D.J. White got things started when Jamarcus Ellis zipped a high-low pass to him on the block and he threw down a thunderous dunk while being fouled by Kosta Koufos. After a pair of Evan Turner free throws cut the lead to four, Lance Stemler narrowly avoided a goaltending call while tipping in a Bassett 3-point attempt to push the lead back to six. Jon Diebler and Turner both missed 3-pointers and the other end, and Crawford capped IU's run with a 15-foot baseline jumper over Othello Hunter.
"We're fortunate to have a great senior like D.J. White. We're lucky we have a kid like that. If I had to point to one guy on our team, a senior leader, he's worth he weight in gold. He's why this team continues to impress." – Kelvin Sampson
"This team keeps improving…I thought Jordan really played well in the first overtime at Illinois. Kyle Taber kind of has a niche now. Lance has a niche. There's kind of a metamorphous with your team. November, December, January, this was kind of a slow-developing team, but anyone's standards, but we're starting to get better." – Kelvin Sampson
"(why Stemler and Crawford started) Jamarcus and Armon were about three minutes later for a film session yesterday." – Sampson
"Our three keys were keep Hunter off the offensive glass, make sure there's always a man on Butler…and the third was defensive rebounding, making sure we didn't allow them second and third shots." – Sampson
"We didn't have what we needed today. When you're playing a team like Indiana, a great basketball team, for whatever reason, we weren't capable of making the plays we needed to make." – Ohio State Coach Thad Matta
"(D.J. White) looked today like I thought he was going to be when we played him as a freshman. He had that bounce back, he had that energy back in him. It seemed his legs were back." – Matta
Upon Further Review - Ohio State
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