The No. 14 Indiana Hoosiers faced Ohio State for the second time in a 10-day period Tuesday night at Assembly Hall. The second time around, the outcome was much different as the Hoosiers avenged their only defeat in Big Ten play to date with a 69-51 win.
IU moved to 14-3 overall and 4-1 in league play, while Ohio State dropped to 8-8 and 1-4.
Indiana came out ready to play this time, grabbing the early lead and holding it for the entire half. Junior George Leach was the story in the early going. He was a force on both ends of the floor, scoring 10 points, grabbing four rebounds and swatting four Buckeye shots in the first half. Indiana shot 40 percent from the field as well.
The Hoosiers did it with defense as well, holding Ohio State to just 23 percent shooting. Tom Coverdale led the defense with his play on OSU’s leading scorer, Brent Darby. Coverdale held him scoreless (0-for-8) in the first stanza. At halftime, the Hoosiers were on top, 27-17, and the Buckeyes’ 17 points were the fewest allowed by IU in a half this season.
Ohio State fought back in the second half, and Darby began to come alive on offense. The Buckeyes cut Indiana’s lead to five at 39-34 with just more than 11 minutes to play, but IU pushed its advantage back to double digits. Indiana was forced to find other ways to score with Leach and Newton spending considerable time on the bench in foul trouble; both would eventually foul out.
“It tells you a lot about this basketball team when Leach and Newton sat most of the last 10 minutes of the basketball game and Bracey was out,” head coach Mike Davis said. “It shows you how deep we are as a basketball team and how good we can be if we play hard.”
The Buckeyes got within five again down the stretch, but no closer. The Hoosiers eventually put the game out of reach on a three-pointer from the top of the key with 1:53 left to take a 57-47 lead. Indiana was able to hit free throws down the stretch to ice the victory, an effort that was led by Marshall Strickland. Strickland finished 8-of-8 from the line, all in the last 3:34 of the game.
Strickland finished as the Hoosiers’ leading scorer with 15 points, good enough to tie his season high. A.J. Moye was next with a season-best 13 points and a team-best eight rebounds. Newton chipped in with 12 points and five assists and Leach added 11. Kyle Hornsby had eight points and three assists.
Tonight’s victory marked the 10th straight for Indiana inside Assembly Hall, which ties the longest in Davis’ tenure.
The Hoosiers played without freshman Bracey Wright, the team’s leading scorer, for the third straight game. Wright continues to be day-to-day while battling a recurring back injury.
Darby paced the Buckeyes with 18 points and played all 40 minutes of the game. Zach Williams scored 12 and pulled down nine rebounds while Velimir Radinovic had 10 points and five boards.
— Compiled from staff reports