Indiana broke 50 percent in shooting from the floor for the first time all season in handing Ohio State an 83-69 defeat in an opening round game of the Big Ten tournament Thursday afternoon at Indianapolis' Conseco Fieldhouse.
The Hoosiers (14-14) shot a season-high 51.9 percent of the floor and rode the play of seldom-used players like Mike Roberts and former walk-on Mark Johnson. IU also got 20 points from standout Bracey Wright and 11 assists from heady guard Ryan Tapak, also a former walk-on.
"It's the first time all season we shot over 50 percent," said IU coach Mike Davis. "Tapak, Johnson and Mike Roberts did a great job of getting us into our offense. It's the first time we looked like a basketball team. Today, they showed what they do in practice all the time."
Ohio State ended up 14-16, its first losing season since Jim O'Brien's first year at the helm, 1998, when the Buckeyes ended up 8-22. The loss also snaps OSU's string of postseason appearances at five (four NCAA Tournaments, one NIT). OSU shot 54.8 percent from the floor, but missed its last seven three-point tries and committed 14 turnovers.
"I said before the game we were waiting for our best game, where our inside guys and our guards would all play well in the same game," O'Brien said. "I don't know if we had that all year. We have never been able to get on the same page.
"In this game, clearly, we couldn't guard them. That is something we struggled with all season long. We gave up 83 points, they shot 52 percent from the floor and made 10 threes. Whenever we needed a few stops, we could not get them."
Terence Dials hit 7 of 8 shots from the floor and led OSU with 22 points and nine rebounds. J.J. Sullinger had 18 points and six rebounds, hitting 8 of his 11 shots. Velimir Radinovic, OSU's senior center and captain, had 13 points in his final game as a Buckeye.
A.J. Moye had a gutty game for Indiana with 19 points and eight rebounds. But the story afterwards was the play of reserves Tapak, Johnson and Roberts. Tapak had at least been a regular much of the year.
But Roberts came in averaging just 8.1 minutes and 1.5 points per game. Against OSU, he played 20 minutes and had six points.
Even better is the story of Johnson, a walk-on who had played just 10 minutes all season. He ended up hitting 3 of 6 three-point tries and scored 13 points in 20 minutes of action.
"I am happy and pleased with Mark Johnson," Davis said. "It's the first time he's played this year. To walk into this atmosphere, with our back up against the wall and score 13 points, that was really something.
"I said, `Why not play him and give him an opportunity?' He helped Moye and he definitely helped Bracey. He hit some shots and that took some pressure off Bracey. This was by far our best performance."
Indiana advances to face Big Ten champion and top-seeded Illinois in a quarterfinal match-up Friday.
The Buckeyes got off to a hot start as Tony Stockman hit a pair of three-pointers and Sullinger canned one off an inside-out feed from Radinovic to put OSU up 14-9 with 15:55 left in the first half.
Indiana rallied to cut the lead to 19-18 after Moye scored off a rebound with 11:10 left in the half. OSU then went on a 12-2 run. Sullinger started it with a drive. Radinovic then tallied off an inbounds play. After George Leach made a spinning hook for Indiana, Terence Dials hit 1 of 2 free throws for OSU. Nick Dials then nailed a trey off a feed from Ricardo Billings. Terence Dials then made a pair of free throws before Ivan Harris buried a baseline jumper to give the Buckeyes a 31-20 lead with 6:56 left in the first half.
But that would be OSU's last field goal of the half. Over the final 6:56, Indiana came alive behind fine play from Moye and several of its bench players to outscore OSU 21-4. The Buckeyes were 0 for 2 from the floor with five turnovers over that stretch. Johnson's three-pointer from the top of the key gave IU its first lead of the game at 36-35 with 1:34 left in the half. Moye had 10 points during this run, including his three-pointer to cap the half with 2 seconds left to give the Hoosiers a 41-35 halftime lead.
"The thing I was happy about was the last possession we got a wide open look," Davis said. "We passed the basketball around."
The Buckeyes were saddled with foul trouble in the first half. Radinovic only played 11 minutes, drawing a third foul on a flop by Moye with 1:58 left in the half. Terence Dials was limited to 14 minutes after picking up two fouls -- one on a dubious double foul with Leach and another on a clear flop by Mike Roberts.
Radinovic said it was hard to watch IU mount its late charge while saddled with foul problems.
"We were up 11 and then they outscored us 21-4 over the last seven minutes of the first half," he said. "It was all defense. They were coming down in transition and jacking threes. They were doing whatever they wanted. We just lacked the killer instinct. We had a chance to put them away and we let them get back into it. We were unable to counter their momentum."
IU's Ryan Tapak twice fed Roberts inside for layups and also found Johnson for a three-pointer as IU went up 56-49 with 12:03 left in the game.
Ohio State mounted its last charge, going on a 9-2 run keyed by five points from Sullinger. His three-point play tied the game at 58-58 with 8:42 left.
But it was all Indiana after that. IU reeled off the next 10 points. Johnson started it with a three and Wright followed with a baseline jumper, a three-pointer and a 14-foot jumper off a screen to put the Hoosiers up 68-58 with 5:55 left.
OSU twice got as close as eight after that. But Indiana put the game away at the line. Moye was 5 of 6 and Johnson was 4 of 4 at the line in the final 2:16.
* Stockman's string of fine performances to end the season came to an abrupt halt. He tallied two early three-pointers, but ended up just 3 of 13 from the floor with eight points.
* The Buckeyes dropped to 7-6 overall at the tournament, including 0-2 against Indiana. OSU also lost an opening round game to IU in 1998.
* Indiana leads the all-time series 97-69. IU has won all five of the meetings on a neutral floor.
* The loss was OSU's 13th double digit defeat. That is the most losses of 10 points or more since the 1994-95 team, which finished a school-worst 6-22, had 14 double-digit defeats.