Cold-Shooting Second Half Leads to 71-65 Defeat for Ohio State at Indiana

By Andy Anders on January 6, 2024 at 10:21 pm

Some nights, nothing is falling.

That was the case for the Buckeyes in the second half.

OHIO STATE 38 27 65
INDIANA 37 34 71

Carrying a one-point lead into halftime and a two-point lead into the final 10 minutes, Ohio State (12-3, 2-2 Big Ten) shot a dismal 28.2% en route to only 27 points in the second half, allowing Indiana (11-4, 3-1) to get some separation and hang on for a 71-65 victory.

Forward Malik Reneau stole the show for the Hoosiers, racking up 23 points and seven rebounds. Guard Xavier Johnson followed with 16 points.

Jamison Battle was Ohio State's top scorer in the loss, scoring a team-high 17 points and knocking down five threes for the fourth game in a row. Zed Key was Ohio State's lone other player in double figures with 11 points.

The Buckeyes' star guard tandem of Bruce Thornton and Roddy Gayle Jr. shot a combined 7-of-34 (20.6%) from the field – 0-for-12 from distance. Ohio State also lost the turnover battle 14-4.

First half

It took nearly three minutes for Ohio State to post points against Indiana, with Thornton breaking the ice on a drive, pump fake, turnaround and-one jumper from in close. 

Indiana's typical interior strategy got the ball rolling in the meantime. Johnson sped through for a layup and later lobbed an alley-oop pass to center Kel'el Ware for a dunk.

The player holding things together for the first eight minutes for Ohio State was Battle. Twice, as the Indiana crowd hit an ear-piercing volume behind a multi-score Hoosier lead, Battle hit right-wing triples deep enough to still be threes in the professional ranks.

Thornton assisted his teammate's efforts with a pair of mid-range, then assisted him literally on a three from the right corner.

By the time Zed Key slammed down another Thornton feed, Ohio State was capping a 12-0 run to go ahead 20-15 with 10:20 to play in the half.

Key took to the top of the key for a three to make the lead 25-20 and a left-wing three from Scotty Middleton off a Roddy Gayle Jr. steal pushed it to 30-23.

But Indiana worked its way back into things quickly.

Long rebounds and open-court steals led to a few dunks, then Johnson nailed a three and drew a foul from Ohio State guard Dale Bonner. The four-point play cut Ohio State's lead to 36-35 with 47 seconds before intermission. An exchange of free throws set things at 38-37 Buckeyes at halftime.

Second half

65 POINTS 71
25-69 (36.2%) FGM-FGA (PCT.) 27-58 (46.6%)
7-27 (25.9%) 3PM-3PA (PCT.) 5-12 (41.7%)
8-9 (88.9%) FTM-FTA (PCT.) 12-16 (75%)

Ohio State came out in the second half and started painting the Assembly Hall floor crimson.

Center Felix Okpara slammed a basket through with one hand before Gayle flipped in a circus and-one that hit rim, backboard and rim again before falling. Battle hit his fourth three in eight tries to cap an 8-0 run and put the Buckeyes up 46-37.

Indiana countered with an 8-0 run of its own, getting three buckets from Reneau to make it a one-point contest again at 46-45.

A scoreless stretch followed for the next 2:42 before Key came open off a hard screen and slammed a ball through with two hands. The Hoosiers answered with a Reneau three, however, tying the tilt at 48 with 12:07 to play.

Another three from Johnson gave Indiana its first lead of the second half at 53-52.

Then Indiana started to gain some separation, thanks in large part to poor Ohio State shooting. Ohio State missed nine shots in a row during one second-half stretch. A Middleton make was the only positive tick in a 1-for-9 stretch that came later.

Reneau hit another triple, then Johnson and CJ Gunn secured buckets of their own to put the Hoosiers up 62-54 with 4:42 to play.

Two more buckets from Reneau expanded that lead to 10, 66-56, with 3:34 remaining.

Battle stopped the bleeding with a triple. Okpara soon worked to bring the Buckeyes back into the contest. He hit a pair of free throws then stuck a missed shot back with a foul. He missed the following free throw, but an offensive rebound and a layup from Gayle brought OSU back within two at 67-65 with 1:44 remaining.

Again it was Reneau with the answer, and a layup through three defenders in the lane made it a two-score game once again. Indiana was able to hit enough free throws down the stretch to ice away the win.

What's next

Ohio State returns to Value City Arena for its first ranked game of conference play against No. 21 Wisconsin. Tipoff is at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday with Big Ten Network set to broadcast the action.

Game notes

  • Ohio State has now lost 11 straight Big Ten road games dating back to its Jan. 1, 2023 win over Northwestern.
  • Guard Taison Chatman, Ohio State's top-rated recruit in the class of 2023, got an early look at the floor as he subbed in with 8:17 still remaining in the first half following Thornton's second foul. Chatman played three minutes in total but didn't contribute to the box score.
  • With Indiana starting three players at 6-8 or taller, Ohio State countered by using its lineup with Key at power forward and Okpara at center more prevalently.
  • The Buckeyes enjoyed a massive rebounding advantage, collecting 49 boards to Indiana's 27 and posting 24 second-chance points to help keep them in the contest, but Indiana had 22 points off turnovers to Ohio State’s five.
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