Coming off a disappointing loss at Nebraska, Indiana needed to find answers. Down nine in the second half against Ohio State, they still needed to find answers. They found them.
The Hoosiers appeared to be in some trouble twice — down 30-23 in the first half, and 46-37 early in the second. But from there IU outscored the the Buckeyes 34-19 to pull out an important home win in conference play.
Let’s take a deeper look at how IU won 71-65 with another edition of The Report Card.
Indiana (11-4, 3-1) will next travel to Rutgers for a 7 p.m. ET tip on Tuesday evening.
IU put together a solid set of shooting splits in a Big Ten game against a quality opponent. The Hoosiers shot 27-of-58 (46.6%) from the field, 5-of-12 (41.7%) from the 3-point line, and 12-of-16 (75.0%) from the free throw line.
Improved 3-point shooting on higher volume continues to be a trend for Indiana. They’ve attempted 16.9 threes per game on 40.7 percent shooting from long range over the last seven contests.
Indiana managed to cut 15 turnovers off the stat sheet from the Nebraska game, from 19 to 4. Their 6.3 percent turnover rate was a season low and the second lowest of the Mike Woodson era. They had a 4-to-1 assist to turnover ratio.
With Xavier Johnson on the floor, Indiana was able to drive the ball into the paint and create more stress in the defense than what we’ve seen when he’s been out. He also brought some tempo to the offense.
Despite some pretty good length on the floor from Ohio State, Indiana was still able to get to its comfort zone, with a 40-24 advantage on points in the paint.
Overall, IU scored 1.11 points per possession, their highest mark against a high major opponent this season.
Indiana held Ohio State to 25-of-69 (36.2%) from the field and 7-of-27 (25.9%) from behind the arc. In the second half the Buckeyes shot just 28.2 percent and 16.7 from deep.
The IU defense was especially good over the last 18 minutes of the game. IU forced a six-minute OSU scoring drought right after a Mike Woodson timeout, and that helped the Hoosiers quickly erase a 9-point deficit.
To be sure, Ohio State missed some open looks, especially the attempts from three that came from a seemingly never ending run of Buckeye offensive rebounds. They grabbed 22 of their own misses, the most the Hoosiers have allowed in a game since 2014.
Woodson saw the problem as part Ohio State getting fortunate bounces, and part his big men getting outworked.
“You know, we just were so awful rebounding the ball tonight,” Woodson said. “They had good looks spraying the ball back out. They was just bouncing funny and we couldn’t come up with it.
“I told Ware and Malik, they were awful tonight in rebounding the basketball. Their bigs basically kicked our butts in terms of going to the glass.”
The offensive rebounds meant IU had to get more stops than usual on the defensive end, and in general they were up to the challenge.
“For the most part when we were setting in our half court defense we were pretty good in terms of switching up and touching and making sure guys weren’t just facing up, shooting threes in our face,” Woodson said.
Indiana’s defense was far more aggressive and impactful on the ball than what we’ve seen in recent games. They scored 22 points off 14 turnovers and produced their highest defensive turnover rate of the season.
Overall IU gave up 1.02 points per possession, but that doesn’t take into account all the extra work they put in to get stops on second chances. This was a solid defensive effort save for the offensive rebounds, especially in the second half.
MORE GAME COVERAGE
- Indiana’s guards responded to Mike Woodson’s message and stepped up against Ohio State
- Watch: Woodson, Johnson and Gunn discuss win over Ohio State
- IU basketball: Indiana 71 Ohio State 65 — Three keys, highlights, final stats
- IU basketball recruiting names to know: 2026 forward Gabe Weis will visit for OSU game
- Extended highlights:
*Trey Galloway (B) It was the same story we’ve seen for much of the season, he’s doing everything well but the shots aren’t falling. Woodson did him no favors by assisting on him earning three fouls early in the second half with a late first half intentional. His 7-to-1 assists to turnover ratio jumps off the stat sheet.
*Mackenzie Mgbako (C) Mgbako continues to start games with impressive shooting. But his defensive matchup was tricky against a shot-hunter like Jamison Battle, and there were some lapses.
*Malik Reneau (A) The sophomore big man is on a roll, and he took over the second half with domination in the paint. Reneau scored 19 of his 23 points in the second half, including eight points in the last eight minutes. He did it with just one turnover, stayed out of foul trouble, and continues to be a threat from three.
*Xavier Johnson (A) The sixth-year guard did a little bit of everything, making threes, getting to the paint, three assists vs. no turnovers, and he substantially improves Indiana’s on ball defense. This is a case where the +/- (Johnson was +16) doesn’t lie.
*Kel’el Ware (B-) He didn’t play poorly, especially in the first half, but Ware wasn’t terribly efficient and he didn’t rebound well. Ware was actually on the bench for a key part of the second half, from the 9:23 mark to 2:28. There was a message in that minutes allocation.
Gabe Cupps (C) This just wasn’t going to be a game where Cupps could be effective, and Woodson seemed to recognize that right away.
Kaleb Banks (B) Coming off what Woodson said was a solid week of practice, Banks gave IU some serviceable minutes off the bench, especially guarding Jamison Battle in the second half.
Anthony Walker (B) It was Walker who got Ware’s late second half minutes. Perhaps Woodson wanted to make sure the perimeter defense was locked in. In that regard, Walker delivered.
C.J. Gunn (A) Gunn was solid on the defensive end, brought energy, and made big shots, including two in the second half that helped IU create some separation. Woodson trusted Gunn on the court for almost the entire second half. This is exactly what IU needs from the sophomore guard.
Anthony Leal and Payton Sparks did not play.
Jakai Newton (knee) is out long-term.
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