COLUMBUS, Ohio — Now that perfection is no longer attainable in the Big Ten, No. 17 Ohio State will be trying to bounce back from their first loss in conference play when they host Indiana on Tuesday night at Value City Arena.
After starting 9-0 in the conference in coach Chris Holtmann’s first season, the Buckeyes lost a heartbreaker Thursday night, falling to Penn State 82-79 on a banked 3-pointer by Tony Carr from just inside the half-court line at the buzzer.
Ohio State (18-5, 9-1 Big Ten) had rallied from a 13-point deficit with less than eight minutes remaining in the second half to tie the score on a tough 3-pointer by Keita Bates-Diop seconds earlier.
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Bates-Diop, the team’s leading scorer and rebounder this season, led the Buckeyes with 25 points despite being questionable to play because of stomach flu.
“This is just one game, so it won’t define us for the rest of the season,” Bates-Diop said afterward. “We’ve got eight more games left in the Big Ten. We’re going to learn from this one obviously and do what we can to make sure we don’t lose anymore.”
The Buckeyes have taken advantage of an opportunity to practice and regroup since the loss, which ended a grueling stretch of four games in eight days.
“This is not unlike what we thought could happen at some point,” Holtmann said. “We will see how we respond. Indiana is really good, playing as well as anyone in the league, so we need to be better and hopefully we will.”
Senior forward Jae’Sean Tate, who finished with 17 points, 10 rebounds, two assists, two blocked shots and two steals against Penn State, believes it’s paramount for Ohio State to avoid falling behind early and playing catch-up.
“We’ve gotten away with coming out a little sluggish,” he said. “We’ve got to be more assertive when we start off the game. We just have to work on coming out with the same edge that we played with late in the second half.”
Indiana (12-10, 5-5) faces a quick turnaround after battling No. 3 Purdue tooth and nail at home before succumbing 74-67 on Sunday afternoon in Bloomington, Ind.
After playing the Big Ten-leading Boilermakers, who won their 17th straight game, the Hoosiers will be facing the team right behind Purdue at the top of the standings just two days later.
“For us, we have to have short-term memory loss,” first-year Indiana coach Archie Miller said. “We’re playing against another ranked team so we’re going to have to be ready to roll on the road against a team that has been sitting at home for a few days waiting on us, and they’re having a great year as well.”
The Hoosiers had trouble handling Purdue’s 7-foot-2 Isaac Haas, who led all scorers with 26 points. Indiana countered with 24 points from forward Juwan Morgan and 21 from guard Robert Johnson, but no other player had more than eight points.
“It’s about recovery. We have a quick turnaround to Tuesday night,” Miller said. “You’ve got to learn from this and get ready for Tuesday.”
Indiana will be without fifth-year senior forward Collin Hartman, who suffered a lower leg injury in practice and could miss several games.
The Hoosiers have won four of the past five games in the series.