Indiana has struggled on the road all year, and Saturday afternoon at Ohio State was no different.
In a day the Hoosiers would like to forget, Indiana was once again held under 60 points in a 68-59 loss to Ohio State in Columbus. The performance comes just days after managing only 49 points in a 15 point road loss at Penn State.
After putting together three games in a row that showed some signs of improvement offensively, those contests have quickly become a distant memory.
In their two road games against Penn State and Ohio State, the Hoosiers shot a combined 38-of-99, or 38.4 percent while averaging 54 points per contest.
One of the common themes in Indiana’s inability to score the basketball on the road is not taking care of the ball. In their last two games IU has had 18 and 13 turnovers, respectively. Pair that with only having 9 and 10 assists, respectively, and points have been hard to come by.
Indiana produced just 22 first half points at Value City Arena on Saturday, and Indiana’s head coach was not pleased with his team’s performance on the offensive end before the break.
“Two odd halves for us offensively,” IU head coach Archie Miller said. “Turned it over in the first half again too much. In the second half I thought we did a pretty good job of running some stuff, playing together and got some baskets to go.”
In a game where points were difficult to come by for both teams, Indiana still gave themselves a chance to come back after going into the locker room down single digits at 31-22.
Much like Wednesday at Penn State, a second half Buckeye run put the game out of reach late. With Ohio State leading 51-40 with 10:36 remaining, the Buckeyes went on a 10-2 run to take a comfortable 61-42 lead with 6:09 left.
Indiana’s inability to find a consistent rhythm on offense has led to scoring droughts that have plagued them all season. Part of the problem on Saturday was their inability to establish themselves inside, managing to score only 10 points in the paint each half and losing the rebounding battle 31-24.
“We could not rebound the ball,” Miller said. “It’s the first time all season long that I can really recall our team getting housed really on the glass like that. The physicality of our team has taken a real drop.”
In two of Indiana’s biggest wins of the season, they have controlled the inside. Against Florida State, IU had 30 points in the paint and won the rebounding battle 35-25. Furthermore, against Michigan State, the Hoosiers scored 34 points in the paint while outrebounding the Spartans 31-29.
Ohio State outscored IU in the paint 26-20, and Miller expressed concern about his team’s play both on the glass and defending the paint.
“Our frontcourt is really struggling right now to rebound and defend inside,” Miller said. “That’s something that we’ve got to find a way to get back to being a little bit better. I just thought very early that it was too easy (for Ohio State to score) inside and we were unable to rebound the ball in the first half.”
With Indiana on their first three game losing streak of the season, the next contest is shaping up to be a big one as it relates to the direction of the season.
And it’s a game that needs no added incentive.
“For us, our next opportunity is Purdue at home,” Miller said. “Nothing is going to mean more than that day.”
Inside The Numbers:
Two players were in double figures for Indiana. Devonte Green led the way with 13 points and Rob Phinisee had 11. Trayce Jackson-Davis was Indiana’s leading rebounder with seven.
IU was outrebounded 31-24, including 11-4 on the offensive glass. It was the first time Indiana has been outrebounded since their last meeting with Ohio State (36-35). IU had no second chance points.
For the game, Indiana was 19-of-42, or 45.2 percent, from the field including 7-of-12, or 58.3 percent, from three-point range.
The Hoosiers did a better job of getting to the line as the game progressed after no attempts in the first ten minutes. They shot 14-of-18, or 77.8 percent, from the charity stripe.
For the game, IU had 10 assists compared to 13 turnovers, while OSU had 19 assists and 10 turnovers.
Indiana (15-7, 5-6) hosts rival Purdue in a Big Ten conference matchup. The game tips off at 2 p.m. ET on Saturday, February 8.
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