Ohio State 68, Indiana 59 | Buckeyes top Hoosiers for second straight win
First, Ohio State pounded the ball inside to Kaleb Wesson for a left-handed hook shot. Next came a dunk for the junior on a post feed from his older brother, Andre Wesson. Then, three possessions later, a layup off a CJ Walker pass.
Three early baskets for the Buckeyes on Saturday, all from the younger Wesson and all in the lane against an Indiana team that had out-toughed them at Assembly Hall three weeks ago. It set an early tone that, this time, Ohio State was ready to bring the fight to the Hoosiers.
“We try to … be the tougher team, and that’s what we tried to do today,” Kaleb Wesson said. “They beat us, and we got the payback.”
Playing for the first time without freshman guard D.J. Carton, who left the team Thursday to address mental health concerns, the Buckeyes exacted some revenge on the Hoosiers. Ohio State assisted on 19 of 26 field goals, outrebounded Indiana 31-24 and held its guests without a single second-chance point in a 68-59 win in front of a sellout crowd at Value City Arena.
The Buckeyes (14-7, 4-6 Big Ten) have won two straight games for their first winning streak since mid-December and started climbing out of a stretch in which they lost six of seven games and tumbled from No. 2 in the nation to being unranked.
The Hoosiers (15-7, 5-6) have lost three straight.
Ohio State led for all but 58 seconds, led by at least eight points for the final 18:28 and pushed it to as many as 19 points with 6:06 to play on Justin Ahrens’ third three-pointer in less than three minutes. A 21-6 run during the first half put the Buckeyes in command early.
“I just feel like we started getting back to our old ways,” Walker said. “When we had our little adversity, we weren’t moving the ball a lot. It kind of stuck a lot, so I figured we’re going back to our old ways. Everyone’s being unselfish, everyone’s believing in each other.”
Walker had 14 points, his second-highest total of the season, and four assists in just over 35 1/2 minutes of playing time. He was one of four players in double figures, led by Kaleb Wesson’s ninth double-double — 15 points on 7-of-12 shooting and 11 rebounds. In the 12-point loss at Indiana last month, Wesson had 11 points on 3-of-11 shooting.
“I thought Kaleb was terrific today on both ends,” coach Chris Holtmann said. “He protected the rim pretty well. Kaleb is a competitive kid, so you can sit him down and challenge him and show him what happened in game one (and he will respond).”
Indiana’s four offensive rebounds were a season-low total for a team that had averaged 11.7 per Big Ten game.
“They imposed their will physically on the boards,” Indiana coach Archie Miller said. “That was the difference in the game, especially early. We could not rebound the ball. First time I could recall our team getting housed on the glass.”