BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The wild celebration never materialized.
Ohio State spoiled the final home game for three Indiana seniors and kept its hopes alive for a share of the Big Ten title. The Hoosiers were denied in their first opportunity to win the league crown outright for the first time since 1993.
The No. 14 Buckeyes did it with a 67-58 win Tuesday night over second-ranked Indiana in which they led by at least six points for the last four minutes. The Buckeyes have won at least a share of the regular season title in each of the past three seasons.
"We've got a great chance," Ohio State forward Deshaun Thomas said. "Hopefully we can get it. We'll root for Michigan."
Indiana, guaranteed at least a share of the title, can have it all to themselves with a victory Sunday against the Wolverines. Ohio State concludes its regular season earlier Sunday at home against Illinois. Michigan, Michigan State and Wisconsin are still in the chase, too, sitting in a three-way tie for third at 11-5.
Thomas led Ohio State (22-7, 12-5) with 18 points and eight rebounds. Aaron Craft contributed 15 points, four assists, four rebounds and four steals. The Buckeyes shot 45.8 percent from the field, committed just eight turnovers and out-rebounded Indiana 37-32. Seeking their sixth conference title in the last eight years, they have won five of their last six games to make a late surge.
"I'm proud of this team," Ohio State coach Thad Matta said. "We were knocked down and kicked to the ground. We're back up. We're not done yet. I love these guys. They've learned and responded."
Thomas and Craft teamed to score all the points in a 7-0 run that made it 59-50 with 4:15 left, causing Hoosiers coach Tom Crean to call a timeout. Indiana (25-5, 13-4) would never recover.
Cody Zeller led the Hoosiers with 17 points and Christian Watford added 12. None of their teammates scored more than eight as Indiana lost for the second time in three games and only the second time in 19 games at home.
"We didn't move the ball, work the ball as well as we needed to," Watford said.
The Hoosiers started the second half by making their first five shots but slumped on offense most of the night against the suffocating defense of the Buckeyes, who entered allowing just 58.9 points per game, second-best in the conference. The Hoosiers shot 39.6 percent from the field, their second straight outing under 40 percent, scored just two points in transition and committed 12 turnovers leading to 16 Ohio State points.
"The big thing was to not make defensive assignment mistakes," Matta said.
In accordance with tradition, seniors Jordan Hulls, Derek Elston and Watford addressed the crowd after the game. Only the Ohio State fans in Assembly Hall left their seats.
Hulls and Watford fought back tears in describing their journey from a 10-win season as freshmen to the rebirth of the program as a national contender in their final years. Hulls, who finished with eight points, earned the loudest cheers when he thanked his friends and coaches from Bloomington South High School. He was the 25th Indiana Mr. Basketball to play for the Hoosiers.
"It's been awesome," Hulls said. "I will never forget running out of that tunnel for four years. It's something we'll miss. Being able to play for these fans is special."
In a subdued ceremony, school president Michael McRobbie presented the Big Ten championship trophy to the Hoosiers -- it is the team's 20th title and first since 2002 -- while players clipped pieces of the net and wore commemorative hats.
The game turned when Indiana's stars departed because of foul trouble. Victor Oladipo sat the final 11 minutes of the first half with two fouls, and Zeller didn't return after picking up his second personal with just under six minutes remaining. Ohio State succeeded without Zeller and Oladipo on the floor, outscoring the Hoosiers 9-3 over the final 5:47 of the half to build a 28-25 lead at intermission.
The Buckeyes held Indiana to just 10 field goals on 30 shots, which produced the Hoosiers' lowest-scoring period of the season. In their last home game, three days earlier, the Hoosiers scored just 26 points in the first half in a 73-60 win over Iowa.
"When we took Vic and Cody out, we got stagnant," Crean said. "This is the epitome of bittersweet. Both teams played hard. They played smarter."
Zeller's step-back jumper against Evan Ravenel put the Hoosiers in front 19-17. After Ravenel tied the game with a rebound and slam on the next possession, Maurice Creek answered with a 3-pointer for Indiana that made it 22-19. Then the Buckeyes, just 4-5 on the road coming in, finally found a rhythm, scoring seven straight points, capped by Craft's three-point play in transition, to take control.
"We did a great job sticking together," Craft said. "Those guys are tough. We stayed in our offense, and it wasn't all one guy."
NOTES: Former Hoosiers Steve Alford, Kent Benson, Scott May, Keith Smart and Isiah Thomas were recognized at halftime. They were chosen by the NCAA, on the 75th anniversary of the NCAA tournament, as all-time players in the event's history. ... Ohio State last beat a top-two team on the road on January 24, 1987. ... The Hoosiers are trying to win the Big Ten title outright for the 12th time in school history. With a win on Sunday, they would secure the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament for the first time. ... Thomas passed David Lighty for 20th place on Ohio State's all-time scoring list.