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Justice Sueing, No. 4 Ohio State blow past Indiana for sixth straight win

Adam Jardy
Buckeye Xtra
Ohio State forward Justice Sueing heads to the basket against Indiana guard Anthony Leal during the first half. Sueing finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds.

His mouth said one thing, but Justice Sueing’s hair indicated otherwise.

One game removed from a scoreless outing that didn’t prevent No. 4 Ohio State from winning at Maryland on Monday night, Sueing came out attacking Saturday afternoon against Indiana. When the Buckeyes finished off their biggest win against the Hoosiers in two weeks shy of a decade, Sueing’s double-double had plenty to do with a 78-59 win at Value City Arena.

Ohio State men's basketball:Justice Sueing settling into well-rounded role for Ohio State

Any crossover between the new hairstyle and the improved output were purely coincidental.

“The hair, I just wanted to switch it up a little bit, something different,” he said with a laugh. “Last game I just … didn’t have my best game at all, but today I just knew I had to come in, move on from that last game.”

He did, and the Buckeyes kept rolling. Sueing finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds, sophomore E.J. Liddell led the team with 19 points and Ohio State (17-4, 11-4 Big Ten) held at least a two-possession lead for the final 33:56 against Indiana (11-9, 6-7).

The Buckeyes have won six straight games and nine of their last 10. In the matchup of coaches hired during the summer of 2017, Ohio State’s Chris Holtmann improved to 6-1 against Indiana counterpart Archie Miller. For a fourth time this season, Indiana came up empty on a chance for a third straight win.

The margin of victory is Ohio State's largest against the Hoosiers since an 82-61 home win on Feb. 27, 2011.

Down 6-2 early, Ohio State came roaring back with a 19-0, momentum-sealing run that started with a Liddell three-pointer with 17:03 left in the half and capped with a driving score from Sueing with 10:50 left. It gave the Buckeyes a 21-6 lead, and as the Buckeyes were putting the finishing touches on that run, they were announced as the fourth No. 1 seed in the official NCAA Tournament bracket projection show being broadcast live simultaneously on CBS.

"You’re not going to run away from teams in this league, and you’re certainly not going to run away from NCAA Tournament teams like Indiana is right away," Holtmann said. "Over time you can create some distance. I think it’s a maturity thing."

Indiana would pull within five points on two occasions, but the Buckeyes immediately answered both times. The first time, Duane Washington Jr. hit a first-half three-pointer. The second time, it was freshman Zed Key Jr., who collected a Washington miss and scored with 13:41 to play.

That made it a 47-40 lead, and when CJ Walker hit a three-pointer with one second left on the shot clock, the Buckeyes had a 10-point lead that would never be cut to single digits again.

Key and Sueing each finished with five offensive rebounds that helped the Buckeyes to a season-high 20 second-chance points.

"I was just around the rim in the right spot," Key said. "In the first half my jump hook wasn’t really falling, so I was just down there for rebounds. In the second half when that happened, it was a momentum swing. The team felt it and we just kept it moving from there."

The lead would stretch as high as 23 points when Key finished a right-handed hook shot after he collected a Kyle Young miss with 7:20 to play and capped a 10-0 run. 

Pickerington North product Jerome Hunter scored 10 points off the bench in his homecoming game but was whistled for a technical foul for complaining about having just been called for a foul on Young.

ajardy@dispatch.com

@AdamJardy

The Ohio State bench celebrates after Buckeyes forward Justice Sueing scored while getting fouled during the second half against Indiana.