Juwan Morgan (13) struggled on defense in containing the Buckeyes.
Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports/Joseph Maiorana
COLUMBUS, Ohio — After starting slow at times this season, No. 17 Ohio State didn’t waste time jumping all over Indiana on Tuesday night.
Indiana’s Zach McRoberts hit two quick shots, one of them a 3-pointer, in the first 1:14 to put the Hoosiers up by one, but Ohio State reeled off a 10-0 run and didn’t relinquish the lead again in a 71-56 victory for the Buckeyes.
“I think they set the tone early with their physicality on both ends of the floor and knocked us on our heels pretty quick,” Indiana coach Archie Miller said. “And we were working uphill from there most of the night.”
Jae’Sean Tate had 16 points as Ohio State (19-5, 10-1 Big Ten) bounced back strong from last week’s buzzer-beater loss to Penn State that dropped them three places in the AP Top 25 poll and out of a tie with Purdue for first place in the conference.
Kaleb Wesson added 14 points and Keita Bates-Diop had 13 points and 13 rebounds for Ohio State. Wesson was 7-for-7 shooting and has made 11 in a row going back to Thursday’s loss to Penn State.
Devonte Green scored 20 for the Hoosiers (12-11, 5-6), who have lost three in a row and four of five. Indiana, playing its fourth game in eight days including an emotional loss to rival Purdue on Sunday, shot just 36.4 percent from the floor after hitting better than 50 percent in the past three games.
The Hoosiers’ defense was suspect, too. They had trouble stopping the 6-foot-9, 270-pound Wesson when he went to the basket in the lane. The fact that their most effective post player, 6-foot-10 De’Ron Davis, is sidelined with an injury was a glaring factor.
“We had no answer for the big fella,” Miller said. “It’s killing us right now inside. We’re getting paralyzed just in terms of sheer size of certain guys, and I thought Kaleb did a really good job tonight for them.”
Ohio State shot 55.8 percent, with 40 of its points coming in the paint.
The Buckeyes led 38-23 at the half, and Indiana couldn’t get any closer than 12 points the rest of the way.
“I think we did a good job getting back on track tonight,” Tate said. “You see it all the time where teams take one loss, and it becomes another loss and another loss. I think our mindset and our approach really went back to what it was when we got on that (winning) stretch back at the beginning. We had to remind ourselves to play with that chip and play with that energy.”
Indiana: Miller’s first season continues to have its ups and downs. The Hoosiers also may have been a little fatigued, playing their fourth game in eight days.
Ohio State: The Buckeyes show their resilience after a tough loss last week, and they continue to roll toward a Feb. 7 showdown with No. 3 Purdue.
Bates-Diop is Ohio State’s leading scorer but didn’t light up the scoreboard, going 5 for 13 from the floor, including 0 for 3 from beyond the arc.
He did, however, lead the Buckeyes with 13 boards, dished five assists and blocked four shots.
“That’s what good players do, they find different ways to impact the game,” Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann said.
Holtmann noted that teams are starting to get more physical with Bates-Diop, and he has to adjust to it.
HE SAID IT
“I think Indiana had some tired legs. I think that’s just reality.” — Holtmann.