Another opportunity to impress the NCAA Tournament Committee came up short in Bloomington for the Buckeyes. Indiana jumped out to a 30-17 lead in the first half and withstood a spirited effort by the Buckeyes, winning the game 72-69.
Indiana was focused early and jumped out to a big lead on the outside shooting of Armon Bassett. Bassett had 13 points in the first half and made the most of his open looks from the field.
D.J. White was also a force in the paint. He was active on the offensive boards and had two uncontested dunks in the first half.
Watching the Buckeyes is like opening a different book only to find the same story inside the cover. They fell behind early, battled to get back into the game, and watched the other team make plays in crunch time.
Ohio State went on an 11-4 run to open the second half and only trailed Indiana 34-32 after the first TV timeout of the second half. Kosta Koufos had nine of these 11 points as he recovered from a terrible first half.
After the TV Timeout, Jamar Butler grabbed the rebound off an Eric Gordon miss and raced up the court for a wide open three-point shot. The shot rattled off the rim and Indiana proceeded to go on a mini 5-0 run to grab a 39-32 lead.
The key play of the game came at the mid-point of the second half. John Diebler received a pass in the corner and was wide open for a three. Diebler missed the shot and the rebound was tipped out and Indiana was off and running. Bassett had the same wide open shot Diebler just had and hit nothing but net. Instead of the score being tied at 44, the Buckeyes were again in a hole down 47-41 with 10 minutes to play.
The Buckeyes battled the rest of the way, however, once it became a free throw contest, it was over. Indiana just doesn’t miss at the free throw line. Indiana was 14-16 from the line in the last five minutes of the game.
The big two for Indiana, Gordon and White, took a back seat to Armon Bassett. Any run that Ohio State had was answered by the clutch shooting by Bassett. Bassett was the star of the game with 23 points on 7-11 shooting.
Kosta Koufos led the Buckeyes with 21 points on 8-18 shooting.Ohio State travels to Minnesota on Saturday. Indiana travels to Michigan State on Sunday.