Seeking sixth straight win, No. 4 Ohio State hosts Indiana
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Indiana is finding its mojo at the right time to challenge surging No. 4 Ohio State in Columbus, Ohio, on Saturday.
The Buckeyes (16-4, 10-4 Big Ten) will play for their sixth straight win and ninth in 10 games after earning a 73-65 victory at Maryland on Monday by buckling down after trailing by eight points in the first half.
"It's just the quality of your team and the ability to focus, the maturity of your team. It's essential," Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann said. "We've got a mature group and that maturity has allowed us to play at home and on the road -- just allow us to play in different environments, I should say -- and have the necessary understanding of how to play and play your best."
The Hoosiers (11-8, 6-6) won their second straight game with a show of resiliency as well on Wednesday at Northwestern with a 79-76 double-overtime win.
The Wildcats led by 14 in the first half and by seven with 2:16 left in regulation but Al Durham forced overtime with a personal 7-0 run to make it 54-54. Indiana trailed 66-60 with 1:05 left in OT before Durham's shot sent the game to another overtime where the Hoosiers prevailed.
"This one puts a smile on my face more than any other because of what we had to go through to figure out how to do it," Indiana coach Archie Miller said. "You don't win if you're not gritty, if you're not tough-minded. We found a way on a day we probably shouldn't have won."
The Hoosiers led for just 2 minutes and 35 seconds out of the 50 minutes, including 14 seconds through the first overtime.
Durham, who had a career high 24 points, stressed the importance of winning to his teammates.
"We haven't been able to put two together," he said. "I kept echoing that to them the whole game."
Armaan Franklin matched his career with 23 points, and the Hoosiers may have found a path to competing with the Buckeyes.
"Right now, we're doing a little bit better job of putting the ball in our guards' hands and keeping the floor open and seeing if we can create some driving lanes," Miller said.
Ohio State defeated Maryland despite off nights from leading scorer E.J. Liddell, who had seven points in 25 minutes, and Justice Sueing going scoreless in 17 minutes. Each was in foul trouble.
No matter. Duane Washington Jr. had 18 points, as did Kyle Young for his career best. Also, Justin Ahrens and CJ Walker each added 11 points.
"I think that's been the hallmark of this team, getting contributions from multiple guys," Holtmann said. "E.J. Liddell is such a matchup issue. He's such a good player that teams are going to give him a lot of attention. The beneficiaries of that were some other guys here. For the most part, our guys were able to take advantage of it.
"That's what good teams are able to do. You have multiple guys who can contribute on a given night. I thought Kyle Young's play was just incredible."
--Field Level Media
Updated February 11, 2021