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IU basketball: Indiana at Ohio State — The Report Card

The February funk continues.  IU lost its fifth game in a row, 80-69 to Ohio State in overtime on Monday evening.

Indiana appeared to be well on its way to getting blown out on the road in Columbus, trailing by 10 with 12:06 left in the game.  But seemingly from nowhere IU went on an 18-4 run to claim a 4-point lead, an advantage they held with just under a minute left in regulation before Ohio State scored four unanswered to force overtime.  After a back-and-forth start to the extra session, OSU closed the game on a 10-0 run.

Let’s take a deeper look at how the Hoosiers lost with another edition of The Report Card.

IU (16-10, 7-9) will return home to host Maryland on Thursday at 7 p.m. Eastern.


A lack of production from Indiana’s offense continues to be the defining characteristic of this five-game losing streak.

Ohio State employed the “make Xavier Johnson beat you” strategy we’ve seen from Wisconsin and many others, and it worked for the most part, especially early in the game.  Indiana had counters, such as at times better off-ball movement from Parker Stewart and Miller Kopp, and at times better play through Trayce Jackson-Davis against OSU’s post doubles.

The improvements allowed IU to score 18 points in a 6:30 stretch of the second half, but before and after that span, things were fairly stagnate.

Indiana came up empty on critical late possessions in regulation once they built a four point lead, including an errant post-entry pass by Race Thompson, and a long-range shot by Tamar Bates.

Indiana shot 31.6 percent from three, and that was its best effort from long range in the last six games.  The combination of Jackson-Davis having a limited skillset confined mostly to his left hand in the paint, and IU not knocking down perimeter shots has been a fatal combination of late.  In 10 of the last 11 games they’ve shot 31.8 percent or worse from behind-the-arc.

The Hoosiers scored just .951 points per possession, and their effective field goal percentage of 39.1 was their third lowest rate of the season.  Their four worst games from an effective field goal percentage standpoint have come in the last five games.

Indiana did manage 15 offensive rebounds and produced 17 second chance points off of those opportunities.


Considering IU’s lack of both Trey Galloway and Rob Phinisee on the perimeter, this wasn’t a terrible defensive effort.  OSU had just 63 points at the end of regulation.  Compare that to their 51 in Bloomington six weeks ago.  It’s easy to believe a lack of Galloway and Phinisee was the major defense.

Because IU was shorthanded on the perimeter, Ohio State went to crafty freshman guard Malaki Branham relentlessly, and he delivered with 27 points on 9-of-13 shooting.  Indiana gave Parker Stewart the primary assignment on Branham, but Mike Woodson best explained how his defense handled Branham.

“We had no answer for him,” Woodson said.

While that was largely true, Indiana was very strong defensively for a stretch of the second half as they forced Branham left into switches on the perimeter.  Indiana’s defense didn’t allow Ohio State to make a field goal for over six minutes from the 15:04 to 8:38 mark in the second half.

OSU started the second half with scores on eight of their first nine possessions, but Indiana’s defense played well from there until things broke down at the worst possible time — on Ohio State’s final two possessions of regulation as the Buckeyes tried to rally from a four point deficit.

Branham got downhill on the first possession and drew a foul.  He was also 8-of-8 at the stripe on the night.  Then Branham drove again and the backside of IU’s defense lost E.J. Liddell, who dunked home the game-tying shot along with Indiana’s hopes for a road upset.

Indiana’s defense forced a good perimeter shooting Ohio State team to shoot 31.6% (6-of-19) from the 3-point line.

It wasn’t an altogether bad defensive performance, but it was inconsistent.  IU allowed 1.1 points per possession, a figure that was inflated by a 1.7 disaster in overtime.  They’ve lost all five games this season when they’ve allowed 1.1 or more.



Trayce Jackson-Davis (C-) OSU took him away with doubles, and at times even triple teams.  He took just three shots total in the second half and overtime.  After a strong first half, he completely faded from the scoring picture.  He had just three points and three rebounds in his final 22 minutes, although he did read the OSU traps better at times.  Jackson-Davis was just 3-of-9 from the field and 7-of-13 from the foul line.

Race Thompson (C-) He had two very costly late mistakes — a bad post-entry to Jackson-Davis, and losing Liddell on the final OSU play of regulation.  Other than those two plays it was a fairly strong effort from Thompson, although Liddell did improve offensively as the game wore on.

Xavier Johnson (D) Johnson’s first half was a disaster.  He committed five turnovers in the first ten minutes of the game, and he made just 1-of-5 shots with one assists.  But in true Johnson fashion, his second half play on both ends played a major role in Indiana’s rally.  He scored eight points with two assists and no turnovers.  But the main issue right now is Johnson’s offensive inefficiency.  He was 3-of-12 in this game, and is now 14-of-64 (21.8 percent) over the last six.

Miller Kopp (C) Indiana saw a glimmer of the Kopp they recruited from the transfer portal, with seven points during an 18-4 IU second half run.  He had an improved effort looking to score off the bounce, but that is clearly still not a strength of his game.  And those seven were his only points, and he did very little to otherwise impact the game.

Parker Stewart (C+) Stewart shot the ball well as IU ran more actions for him, but he also continues to get frustrated on the floor to the point of impacting his play.  Twice he was arguing with the officials or jogging as OSU beat him down the floor.  You can’t be too critical of his defense on Branham, because that was a mismatch from the beginning.

Anthony Leal (C-) Leal got an opportunity with Indiana shorthanded, but he missed his only shot in ten minutes of action and also missed two free throws. As is often the case, Leal was a good passer, and he had a steal.

Michael Durr (C) Durr once again gave serviceable minutes in relief of Jackson-Davis.  Some of Indiana’s best play was with him on the floor.

Tamar Bates (C+) Bates aggressively looked for shots, and that came with mixed results.  He hit two big ones down the stretch of regulation that for a moment appeared to have IU on its way to the win.  But Bates was just 1-of-9 otherwise. He also had five rebounds from his guard position in 25 minutes.


Jordan Geronimo played briefly.  Logan Duncomb did not play.  Rob Phinisee, Trey Galloway and Khristian Lander were out with injuries.

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