Ohio State couldn't have finished its regular season in more thrilling fashion.
With less than two seconds to play in double overtime, C.J. Jackson hit a deep three-pointer to propel Ohio State to a 80-78 victory at Indiana, capping a season full of excitement with a moment as memorable as any of them.
Keita Bates-Diop led Ohio State with 24 points and 14 rebounds for the game as a whole, while Kam Williams finished with 15 points, Jackson finished with 13 and Jae'Sean Tate and Kaleb Wesson each scored 12 as the Buckeyes' five starters combined for all but four (scored by Micah Potter off the bench) of Ohio State's points over 50 minutes of basketball.
|#16 OHIO STATE||33||30||7||10||80|
Ohio State led for most of the first half, going on an 8-0 run to take a 17-10 lead less than eight minutes into the game. The Buckeyes led by as many as 12 points in the first half, taking a 26-14 lead with less than six minutes to play before the break after a 7-0 run. Indiana, however, finished the half of a 19-7 run to tie the game at 33-33 going into halftime.
Bates-Diop led all players with 13 points and seven rebounds in the first half, while Williams – back in the starting lineup for Ohio State for a second consecutive game –scored nine points in the first half, bringing him to exactly 1,000 points for his career.
Ohio State never trailed for a stretch of more than 30 minutes of game time before the Hoosiers took their first lead of the second half, 61-59, with less than four minutes to play on a lay-up by Josh Newkirk. Back-to-back baskets by Bates-Diop and Tate put the Buckeyes back in front, 63-61, but a pair of free throws by Indiana's Justin Smith knotted the game back up at 63 apiece with 2:18 to play in regulation.
Neither team, however, would score another point in regulation after that.
|33-69 (47.8%)||FGM-FGA (PCT.)||29-65 (44.6%)|
|6-18 (33.3%)||3PM-3PA (PCT.)||7-16 (43.8%)|
|8-13 (61.5%)||FTM-FTA (PCT.)||13-23 (56.5%)|
The Buckeyes appeared to be in trouble after Tate missed a lay-up with 28 seconds to play, allowing Indiana to hold for the final shot. The Hoosiers' Robert Johnson, however, missed an inside scoring opportunity of its own, keeping the game tied as the clock hit zeroes.
Ohio State and Indiana continued to go back-and-forth in the first overtime, bringing the game to a tie score once again, 68-68, with less than two minutes to play. Williams put the Buckeyes back in front, 70-68, by hitting a jumper with 1:39 to play. Bates-Diop missed an opportunity to give the Buckeyes a two-possession lead on their next trip down the floor, when he missed a 3-pointer from the top of the key.
With just 7.8 seconds remaining on the clock, Johnson made a pair of free throws for the Hoosiers to tie the game, 70-70, and Ohio State would fail to get a shot off on the other end of the floor, bringing the game to double overtime.
Neither team led by more than one point until the final 1.6 seconds of double overtime – when Jackson hit his shot – and Andrew Dakich nearly gave the game away when he turned the ball over, mishandling a pass and losing it over the half-court line with 16.7 seconds to play. That allowed Juwan Morgan to score a go-ahead layup, giving Indiana a 78-77 lead, with less than eight seconds to play.
Jackson, though, responded with the game-winning dagger, drilling a three from well beyond the arc and with a hand in his face, to steal a Buckeye victory from the jaws of defeat at Assembly Hall.
Ohio State finishes the regular season with a 24-7 overall record – the Buckeyes' best overall record since the 2011-12 season – and a 15-3 record in the Big Ten, the Buckeyes' best record in conference play since 2010-11.
While the Buckeyes wait to find out whether they will be the No. 1 or No. 2 seed in the Big Ten Tournament, dependent on whether Michigan State wins or loses against Wisconsin on Sunday, they have already clinched a double-bye for next week's conference tournament, meaning they will play their next game next Friday against an opponent to be determined at Madison Square Garden.