Ohio State had a second date with disaster on Tuesday.
After taking an 18-point lead in the opening minutes of the second half against Indiana, the Buckeyes saw their margin tick down until they were trailing with less than three minutes remaining.
Having already blown an 18-point second-half lead earlier this season on the road at Penn State in December, Ohio State watched as a three-pointer off the hand of Indiana's Anthony Leal fell through the netting to make it 74-73 Hoosiers with 22 seconds left.
That and a steal proved enough to seal the Buckeyes' fate in a 76-73 loss in Value City Arena.
Ohio State has now lost eight of its last nine games and five in a row overall.
Indiana (14-9, 6-6) got the benefit of 26 points from Malik Reneau and 25 points from Trey Galloway.
Ohio State (13-10, 3-9) got 19 points each from Jamison Battle and Roddy Gayle Jr. in a losing effort.
The game's opening minutes were a slog, with Indiana going 3-of-12 to start but still hanging with the Buckeyes.
Thornton and Gayle picked up four points apiece but four points from Indiana guard Trey Galloway helped tie the game at 13 entering the under-12 media timeout.
Gayle came out of that timeout and grabbed another five points off a triple and strong drive to the rim, the latter basket catalyzing a 9-0 Ohio State run. Evan Mahaffey hit a hook shot and Thornton knocked down a corner three to push the Buckeye lead to 25-15.
Ohio State pushed that advantage to 13 twice with Battle collecting six points in a row during one sequence.
Gayle finished the first half with 15 points, scoring the last four for the Buckeyes as they carried a 42-29 lead into the locker room. The Hoosiers shot just 33.3% from the field and 1-of-7 from three.
Ohio State came out in the second set of 20 minutes and immediately pushed its lead to 18 off two technical free throws and a third-chance triple from Thornton.
Foul trouble was starting to mount against the Buckeyes, however. Felix Okpara picked up his third and fourth fouls within 10 seconds of each other and Indiana went on a quick 6-0 run to cut the lead to 51-42. Battle stopped the bleeding with a triple to make the score 54-42 with 13:18 to play.
Indiana's center, Kel'el Ware, picked up a fourth foul of his own a few minutes later. The Hoosiers cut the lead right back to eight at 55-47, but a Zed Key layup and a Dale Bonner triple again pushed the edge back to 13 points.
Four straight points from Reneau sliced things back to single digits. Ohio State pushed the lead out again, but a triple from Galloway made the margin the smallest it had been in the second half to that point, 65-58 with 6:34 remaining.
Indiana didn't stop there. As the Buckeyes completed a stretch of more than seven minutes without a field goal, the Hoosiers capped a 10-0 run that included seven points from Galloway.
Another Galloway triple made the score 67-66 Ohio State with 4:15 to play. Then Ware gave Indiana its first lead since it was 10-9 less than five minutes into the first half at 70-69.
Battle got the benefit of a goaltending call to knot the game at 71 with 1:40 remaining. Battle then hit two free throws to make it 73-71 with 37 seconds left.
But Leal's three and a turnover from Battle sealed the Buckeyes' fate.
Ohio State gets another home matchup against Maryland on Saturday. Tip-off is at 4 p.m. on FS1.
- Devin Royal saw plenty of early action but struggled, picking up three fouls in the first half in just six minutes and shooting 0-of-2 with a turnover.
- With Royal, Mahaffey, Okpara and Key each getting two fouls before halftime, freshman center Austin Parks played a rare first-half minute.
- Ohio State's 42 first-half points were its most since Jan. 3 against Rutgers.