The Buckeyes (13-4, 2-2 Big Ten) fell behind in the first half and could never completely recover. Despite getting it to a one-possession game on several occasions in the second half, the Hoosiers (12-4, 2-1) did just enough to earn a victory at Assembly Hall in Bloomington.
Senior Shannon Scott led Ohio State with 16 points, and three other Buckeyes reached double figures in points. Freshman D’Angelo Russell netted 13, and senior Sam Thompson and freshman Jae’Sean Tate both recorded 12 apiece.
The game started well for Ohio State. The Buckeyes built a 9-2 lead by the first media timeout at 15:42. Sophomore Marc Loving opened the scoring with a left-handed make in the paint at 19:09, and Scott added a corner three and Amir Williams took advantage of a mismatch along the base line for a dunk to give the Buckeyes a 7-2 lead at 16:19. The run was capped by Loving layup that came after Indiana’s fifth turnover in its first eight possessions.
Russell stole an IU pass, raced down the court but missed a contested layup. Loving, following the play, grabbed an offensive rebound and scored while being fouled by IU’s Robert Johnson. That extended OSU’s lead to seven at the first media break, but Loving was unable to convert the old fashioned three-point play after the break.
The Hoosiers steadied after the timeout and slowly chipped away at the Ohio State lead before taking their first lead of the game on a three-point basket by Nick Zeisloft to make it 14-13 with 11:23 on the clock. Freshman Keita Bates-Diop answered with a layup on the other end at 10:58, but that was the last lead the Buckeyes would have in the first half.
Farrell’s first basket of the afternoon, a three-pointer, gave IU a 17-15 lead with 9:16 remaining in the half. The three was the first of a 11-0 run for the Hoosiers that gave the hosts a 25-15 lead with 6:15 on the clock.
The Buckeyes could only get within six by halftime, trailing 32-26. It could have been worse for Ohio State, who were dominated in second-chance points, 12-4, and were outrebounded 30-15 – including 11-3 on the offensive boards. Indiana did not make a field goal in the final 4:48 of the first half.
The Hoosiers extended their lead early in the second half, thanks in part to seven points by Blackmon Jr. The talented IU freshman made a pair of layups sandwiched between a three-pointer to boost the Hoosiers’ lead to 42-33 with 15:27 remaining.
The Buckeyes went on a 10-4 run to cut the lead to three at 46-43 with 10:21 remaining following a pair of Bates-Diop free throws. The Buckeyes against got the lead down to three on a Russell dunk at 8:32, but the Hoosiers answered both times to extend the lead.
With 5:36 remaining, a Thompson finger roll got Ohio State to within two for the first time in the second half at 53-51. But again, Indiana answered. Blackmon Jr. answered with a floater on IU’s next possession to make it 55-51. The lead grew to 61-51 with 3:32 remaining thanks to a Emmitt Holt free throw, Troy Williams reverse dunk and a three-point play by Blackmon Jr.
Ohio State did not quit, however, cutting the lead to three (63-60) with 2:08 remaining. After the IU three-point play, Scott made a jumper and Thompson added two baskets and a free throw and Russell netted a pair of three throws.
The teams then traded a pair of points to make it 65-62. That scored held until Thompson put back a Loving missed three while being fouled with 32.1 seconds remaining. He missed the free throw, however, to keep Indiana ahead by one.
Farrell was fouled on the other end with 21.9 remaining, and the junior – the Big Ten’s leading free throw shooter – drained the both to extend the lead to three. On the other end, Robert Johnson was called for a hand check against Russell. That sent the OSU freshman to the line with 8.7 on the clock.
Russell made both free throws, and OSU head coach Thad Matta called timeout to set up his defense. Indiana then inbounded the ball to Farrell, who was fouled with 5.9 seconds remaining. He made both.
Ohio State had one last chance to tie on a contested three-point attempt by Russell, but the effort was too strong.