Indiana rebounded from Thursday’s disappointing last-second loss at Illinois with a strong effort, getting 26 points from Victor Oladipo and 24 points from Cody Zeller to roll past 10th ranked Ohio State 81-68 in Columbus on Sunday.
The victory ups the Hoosiers mark to 21-3 overall, 9-2 in the Big Ten. IU and Michigan State are tied for first in the Big Ten standings. Ohio State fell to 17-6, 7-4 in league play.
The win was a needed confidence builder for IU after last week’s demoralizing loss. Indiana senior forward Christian Watford, who chipped in with 20 points, put it in perspective. “We knew we let one get away from us. At that point you just have to move on to the next one.”
Teammate Zeller echoed those sentiments. “It was putting teams away, playing to win and not just playing for the time to run out. So, we made the adjustment pretty well.”
IU dominated the second half and shot 53 percent for the game. Zeller controlled the paint inside, and when that wasn’t open, the Hoosiers patiently worked the ball around and hit an open jumper.
“From the very beginning after we lost the other night, the biggest thing for our team was we were not going to spend a lot of time worrying about bouncing back,” Hoosiers head coach Tom Crean stated. “I’m proud of the way these guys responded from a very tough loss.”
Oladipo’s career high in points included some big shots that kept the Buckeyes at bay.
When OSU’s Deshaun Thomas cut the IU lead to 43-39, Oladipo spun and hit a floating 12 footer and followed up with a three-pointer to push the advantage back to nine, quieting the sellout crowd of 18,609 at Value City Arena.
Thomas, a Fort Wayne native and former Indiana All-Star, led the Buckeyes with 26 points. Guard Aaron Craft was OSU’s only other double-figure scorer with 16.
Tip-in’s: Ohio State lost back-to-back games for the first time in 121 games….the road victory was IU’s first against a top ten team Big Ten squad since the Hoosiers won at Iowa in 1993…..The Hoosiers are 3-0 against top ten programs this year.