It was senior night in Bloomington. Indiana, thanks to losses by Wisconsin and Michigan State over the weekend, is guaranteed a share of the Big Ten Conference. A win over the Ohio State Buckeyes Tuesday evening, would have given them the outright championship. The Buckeyes ruined the party, 67-58.
Deshaun Thomas and Aaron Craft dominated Cody Zeller and Victor Oladipo. To beat a conference rival on the road on senior night is an accomplishment worth celebrating. But Ohio State is keeping the victory ‘low key’.
“Whatever else goes on outside the floor, it’s a basketball game,” Craft said. “Where we were a couple weeks ago and where we are now, that just makes us appreciate this a little more.”
Thomas finished with 18 points and eight rebounds, while Craft added 15 points, four rebounds, four assists and four steals. And they combined for the first nine points in the decisive 11-2 run that forced Indiana to spend the rest of the game playing catch-up. The Hoosiers could only manage 25 points in the first half, a season low.
Ohio State will be rooting for the Michigan Wolverines on Sunday. If they beat Indiana, and Ohio State defeats Illinois, there will be a log jam at the top of the division.
“We were just more active tonight. There was no secret what they wanted to do,” Buckeyes coach Thad Matta said. “They wanted to go inside with Zeller and (Christian) Watford. But it was just more activity and we felt like we knew where they were going to be diving from. Kind of a do both type game. You had to do it and then take away the 3s.”
As I watched, I felt Indiana was forcing the game. They never seemed to get into a flow. A determined Ohio State defense, and two early fouls, kept Oladipo ineffective.
Columnist-The Guardian Express