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What we learned after Ohio State basketball’s crushing road defeat to Indiana

For much of this Big Ten road contest for Ohio State against Indiana, it looked like they would return to Columbus with an impressive win, but it wasn’t meant to be.

The Buckeyes shot 36.2% from the field and ultimately fell to the Hoosiers 71-65, falling to 12-3 overall and 2-2 in conference play. The second half struggles clearly did in Chris Holtmann’s team, as they just 25.9% from beyond the arc as well.

It was a disappointing loss for Ohio State and one where we learned plenty about this team. Here are the biggest ones that we saw in the Buckeyes’ road loss to Indiana.

Ohio State didn’t crumble with Bruce Thornton our for most the first half

What we learned

Buckeye point guard Bruce Thornton picked up his second foul with 8:17 left in the first half and the Buckeyes battled while their leader was on the bench. Ohio State was up five points, 25-20, when he went to the bench, but it continued to go toe-to-toe with the Hoosiers at their place. This team could have easily folded with Thornton on the bench, but went into the half up one, 38-37. This resolve was much different than what we would have seen last year.

Ohio State’s defense had a block party

Zed Key made his presence felt

What we learned

Like I just mentioned, Indiana’s front line is much bigger than the Buckeyes, but they were not as physical. The Hoosiers are much more of a finesse team and Zed Key took advantage of that. He scored 9 points in the first half, and his lone three point try went in. That forced the Indiana defense to come out to him away from the basket, opening up more lanes for his teammates. Unfortunately that didn’t continue in the second half, but Key did finish with a solid stat line with 11 points, 5 rebounds and two blocks coming off the bench.

Jamison Battle was on fire for most of the game

What we learned

Last Saturday it was Roddy Gayle Jr. )n Wednesday it was Bruce Thornton, and tonight it was Jamison Battle. One of the biggest differences this year than last has been the fact that any of these three players could go off. It’s something that has really made a huge difference for the Buckeyes. Battle was once again on fire from beyond the arc, shooting 5-of-10, and overall 6-of-12 from the field. He scored 17 points while adding 9 rebounds, but most of that production came in the first half. Sadly, he wasn’t as effective down the stretch.

Indiana owned the paint

What we learned

Although the Hoosiers’ front line had issues with Key’s physicality, it consistently got to the paint and scored. Indiana did a good job of getting good looks close to the basket and Ohio State had no answer. That’s the give and take of Holtmann’s system, typically only playing one big man at a time. Indiana exploited this, scoring 40 points close to the rim and it made a huge difference in the bottom line.

Ohio State faltered in the second half

What we learned

The Buckeyes held an nine-point second half lead, only to see the Hoosiers close out the game on a furious run. Part of the reason was the inability to defend in the paint, but you have to give credit to the Indiana defense. It didn’t give Ohio State many good looks and it showed.

One of the biggest issues during the Holtmann era has been getting quality shots towards the end of games. It reared its ugly head once again.  The Buckeyes had a shot to make a move into the rankings and in the conference, but couldn’t get the difficult Big Ten road victory despite being in good position to do so.

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Story originally appeared on Buckeye Wire