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The Indiana Daily Student

sports men's basketball

INSTANT RECAP: Strong second half propels Indiana to 71-65 win over Ohio State

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Sparked by strong individual performances from Indiana men’s basketball sophomore forward Malik Reneau and sixth year senior guard Xavier Johnson, the Hoosiers toppled Ohio State 71-65 Saturday night at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall. 

Sophomore center Kel’el Ware opened the scoring emphatically, taking a nifty slip pass from freshman forward Mackenzie Mgbako for a ferocious flush. Indiana played with a markedly higher pace from its blowout loss to Nebraska on Jan. 3. 

Roughly four minutes into Saturday’s contest, the Hoosiers jumped out to a 9-5 advantage. In the backcourt, senior guard Trey Galloway and Johnson displayed a keen aggressiveness on drives to the hoop. 

As the half wore on, though, the Buckeyes started to find their shooting stroke. Ohio State sophomore guard Bruce Thornton — the team’s leading scorer — knotted the game at 15 apiece with 11:36 remaining in the period. 

Shortly after, Buckeye senior forward Jamison Battle drained a triple. Those occasions were frequent for the Robbinsdale, Minnesota, native, who finished the half with 11 points on 3-of-6 shooting from beyond the arc. 

Despite Ohio State ripping off a 12-0 run near the middle of the half, and Indiana failing to score for four minutes in that span, the Hoosiers clawed back. Sophomore guard CJ Gunn converted a contested dunk attempt in transition that fired up the Assembly Hall crowd, and he knocked down the ensuing free throw to cut the deficit to 2. 

Each time the Hoosiers struck, however, the Buckeyes delivered a counterpunch. Trailing 36-31 with just under a minute remaining, Johnson collected a pass on the left wing and drained a 3-pointer while being clobbered by a Buckeye defender in the process. He completed the 4-point play to pull the Hoosiers within 1. 

Johnson went on to give Indiana a 37-36 lead with a pair of free throws, but Ohio State senior forward Zed Key went to the line as time expired and gave the Buckeyes a 38-37 advantage at the break. 

The Buckeyes were hot coming out of halftime, sprinting to an 8-0 run in the first two minutes and forcing Indiana head coach Mike Woodson to call an early timeout. Behind strong play from Reneau, though, the Hoosiers tied the game at 48 with just under 12 minutes to go. 

Trailing 52-50 with a little under 10 minutes remaining, Johnson knocked down a corner triple to put Indiana ahead 53-52. Just after, Gunn swished a pull up jump shot to force an Ohio State timeout. 

With the Hoosiers ahead 57-54, Gunn drilled a 3-pointer from the right wing to extend the lead to 6. Reneau’s massive second half continued. After a quick bucket, the Hoosiers came back down, and Reneau slammed home a dunk to put Indiana up 66-56. 

Ohio State stormed for a late comeback, and pulled as close as 2 points, but it wasn’t quite enough. The Hoosiers fended off the Buckeyes in the final three minutes and hung on for a tight victory. Reneau and Johnson led the team in scoring with 23 and 18 points, respectively. 

With the win, Indiana moved to 11-4 on the season. Next, the Hoosiers travel to Piscataway, New Jersey, on Jan. 9 to face off against Rutgers. Tip is set for 7 p.m. and viewing will be available on Peacock. 

Follow reporters Will Foley (@foles24) and Matt Press (@MattPress23) and columnist Daniel Flick (@ByDanielFlick) for updates throughout the Indiana men’s basketball season. 

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