Game MVP - Tom Pritchard. Pritchard had a nice effort in his return back home, scoring 16 points on 7-of-14 shooting and pulling down a game-high 11 rebounds. While Pritchard had problems at times shooting over the Big Ten's leading shot blocker in Dallas Lauderdale, he still managed to put together his best offensive outing since he scored 23 on Nov. 30 in IU's win over Cornell. Pritchard's performance marked his sixth double-double of the season, and his seven offensive rebounds was his most since pulling down nine in IU's last win against TCU. While IU clearly didn't have enough perimeter scoring to complement Pritchard's effort, IU's freshman big man clearly had his best game since Big Ten play opened.
Biggest Surprise… Devan Dumes not only being in the starting lineup, but playing 32 minutes. Most thought that IU Coach Tom Crean was simply providing lip service to the thought that Dumes would be able to go against the Buckeyes. The senior had been unable to practice since spraining his ankle on Saturday at Illinois, and even Crean had listed the junior as a "game-time decision at best." Most read that statement to suggest there was little to no chance that Dumes would be in the starting line-up or even available against Ohio State.
But Dumes did play, and didn't appear to be hobbled by the sprained ankle. He certainly didn't have his best game by going just 3-of-12 from the field and 2-of-7 from behind the 3-point arc, but he was able to play a team-high 32 minutes. While the Indianapolis native can be streaky at times with his shot, his presence on the court is critical if the Hoosiers hope to be competitive against Big Ten foes. His defensive presence and experience are sorely needed, and he has been the team's most reliable perimeter scorer. For a team that hasn't scored 70 points in a game since November, his absence is a huge blow on both ends of the court.
What I Found Most Impressive… Indiana did show some resiliency and toughness that was lacking in the blowout loss to Illinois. While Ohio State bombarded Indiana with 3-pointers early on, most of them weren't of the same wide open variety that Illinois enjoyed over the weekend. Jon Deibler, William Buford and Jeremie Simmons connected on some contested 3s that got the ball rolling and put away the Hoosiers early.
The Hoosiers also managed to fight on the boards (they won that battle 36-30), and both Pritchard and Dumes showed some tenacity when each got tangled up at different times with Lauderdale underneath the basket. Even Matt Roth – who was clearly being disciplined for his play against Illinois – came in off the bench and recorded a nice block on an OSU fastbreak opportunity following an IU turnover. While the final result might not have been there for Crean's team, the effort and energy seemed to be at a much better level Tuesday than it was on Saturday in Champaign.
What I Found Most Concerning… after seemingly making improvement with its ball security, IU is back to having real problems with turnovers. Indiana committed only 13.5 turnovers/game in the match-ups against Iowa and Michigan to open Big Ten play, and as a result gave itself a chance in both contests. But IU had 19 turnovers at Illinois and another 18 at Ohio State, and that's a big reason why it has been blown out in each contest. Indiana's margin for error is razor thin, so throwing away offensive possessions in the bunches is difficult to overcome. That was particularly true against Ohio State, where many of IU's miscues produced fastbreak opportunities the other way.
Turning Point: Ohio State put together an 18-0 run midway through the first half to turn a 15-10 lead into a 33-10 rout. The Buckeyes run got started with four consecutive 3-pointers by Dieber (1), Buford (2) and Simmons (1), and was concluded with three straight point blank baskets from B.J. Mullins (2) and Diebler (1). While Ohio State was busy scoring on seven straight offensive possessions during the run, IU countered with five straight misses, zero offensive rebounds, and two turnovers. Indiana would eventually cut the 23-point lead to 13, but it never seriously threatened the rest of the way.
Quotable: "I think about it 10 times a day, what we can be doing differently. And I just think we have to continue to make our practices as competitive and combative as they can be. We were in a great frame of mine to come in here today. It wasn't anything like that.." – IU Coach Tom Crean
"I wanted to be out here to show leadership. I wanted to show my teammates I was there for them. I felt pretty good last night. Usually when I roll an ankle in practice I can get right up. Saturday, I thought I broke it. I was blessed that it was just a sprain." – Devan Dumes
"(Matt Roth) has to become part of the solution on guarding people. It is a big deal that he continue to improve defensively. I thought he did some good things during the game, but we are just searching to find out. I thought it would be very tough for him at times to chase through a lot of those screens. But I am not down on him in any sense.." – Crean
"Tom (Pritchard) is just scratching the surface with his athleticism. He really is a different looking young man than when he first got to Indiana. He has probably lost close to 30 pounds and if he continues to get his legs stronger, his upper body stronger and just become more and more of an athlete. I just want him to watch the best players all the time. I made him turn off entourage last night on the bus so he could watch the second half of the Notre Dame/Louisville game to watch Luke Harangody. Because I talk so much about him, he would probably go in the other direction he is so sick of hearing about him because we got to see first hand at Marquette what he did to impose his will on Notre Dame basketball and the Big East. We have high expectations for Tom." – Crean
"Indiana was a great team last year and they're a great team this year. They played hard and they're only going to get better. They come out and compete every night." – Jon Diebler
"Tom is the perfect fit for rebuilding Indiana basketball. The job that he's done with this basketball team – we saw going into the game. They are capable of playing very solid basketball. He has guys that appear to be buying into what he's doing. From his days at Marquette, it works." – Ohio State Coach Thad Matta
Upon Further Review: Ohio State
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