Wes­son’s tie-break­ing dunk lifts Buck­eyes

Dayton Daily News - - COLLEGE BASKETBALL - By Michael Marot

Ohio BLOOMINGTON, IND. — State’s An­dre Wes­son kept fight­ing through the muck Sun­day.

When he fi­nally got free in the fi­nal minute, he stole a win.

Wes­son forced a game-chang­ing turnover in the fi­nal minute and then slipped be­hind one de­fender and got to the bas­ket for a tie-break­ing dunk with 20 sec­onds left to give the Buck­eyes a 55-52 vic­tory over In­di­ana.

“This is kind of the An­dre I’ve seen since he got here,” said C.J. Jack­son, whose long, shot-clock beat­ing 3 tied the score with 71 sec­onds left. “He’s play­ing un­be­liev­able for us right now and we’re go­ing to need his scor­ing, his abil­ity to do ev­ery­thing he does on the court for us.”

Sun­day’s game was a per­fect ex­am­ple of how valu­able Wes­son can be.

While his team­mates strug­gled to get in sync of­fen­sively, the ju­nior for­ward con­tin­u­ally made an im­pact. He fin­ished with 15 points, four re­bounds and two steals — none big­ger than the one he had with 42 sec­onds to go that pre­vented In­di­ana from tak­ing a po­ten­tial go-ahead shot.

And when it mat­tered most, Wes­son played per­fectly.

“They slipped him out. Our ro­ta­tion was there. I thought Romeo (Lang­ford) had a chance to make maybe a blocked shot, but he got it off the glass quickly,” Hoosiers coach Archie Miller said. “Our help ob­vi­ously didn’t get there in time.”

Wes­son’s younger brother, Kaleb, and Jack­son each scored 10 points and were the only other play­ers to reach dou­ble fig­ures for the resur­gent Buck­eyes (16-7, 6-6 Big Ten), who have won three straight.

In­di­ana (13-11, 4-9), mean­while, con­tin­ues to strug­gle. It has lost nine of 10.

The Hoosiers fought valiantly to over­come an­other dis­mal shoot­ing per­for­mance and fi­nally got the crowd into the game when Lang­ford made his sec­ond 3 in a 9-0 run to tie the score at 47 with 4:54 left. Lang­ford fin­ished with 15 points.

Devonte Green’s long, buzzer-beat­ing 3 sent the fans into a frenzy as In­di­ana took 52-49 lead with 1:46 to play.

But Jack­son matched Green’s bas­ket and Wes­son won it with his de­fense and his of­fense.

“We just knew they were go­ing to be heavy on the ball screen so we tried to slip him out and put Kaleb high,” Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann said. “I thought An­dre did a great job fin­ish­ing and the pass was per­fect.”

Big pic­ture

Ohio State: The Buck­eyes have scored fewer than 70 points in five of their last six games. And they’ll need more scor­ing punch to sur­vive a tough fi­nal stretch and se­cure an NCAA Tour­na­ment bid.

In­di­ana: The Hoosiers forced 15 turnovers but were 6 of 20 on 3s and got out­re­bounded 35-29. If those num­bers don’t change, In­di­ana’s strug­gles will con­tinue.

Uni­form change

In­di­ana wore com­mem­o­ra­tive uni­forms Sun­day to honor the 70th an­niver­sary sea­son of the late Bill Gar­rett break­ing the Big Ten’s color bar­rier.

Gar­rett be­came the first black player to start for a Big Ten bas­ket­ball team on Dec. 4, 1948. He was named an All-Amer­i­can in 1951 and fin­ished his ca­reer in 1952 as the Hoosiers’ ca­reer scor­ing leader (792 points).

The Hoosiers wore shoot­ing shirts with a spe­cial logo on their left sleeve and pin­striped uni­forms that fea­tured an old-school look. On the in­side of the waist­band was the word “ball­room,” a ref­er­ence to the Har­lem Re­nais­sance Move­ment and its im­pact on the black com­mu­nity and the sport of bas­ket­ball.

Gar­rett’s son, Billy Jr., at­tended the game.

Stat pack

Ohio State: Af­ter shoot­ing 38.5 per­cent in the first half, the Buck­eyes shot 50 per­cent in the sec­ond half . ... Musa Jal­low led the Buck­eyes with six re­bounds . ... Jack­son had four of Ohio State’s 13 as­sists . ... It was the low­est com­bined score in the series since the Buck­eyes won 52-51 in March 2006.

In­di­ana: Has lost four con­sec­u­tive home games for the first time since 2010-11 . ... The Hoosiers are 20-6 un­der Miller when hold­ing teams to fewer than 70 points . ... Juwan Mor­gan had three points and a ca­reer-high 14 re­bounds . ... Green scored 10 points as the Hoosiers shot 39.6 per­cent from the field.

DARRON CUM­MINGS / AP

In­di­ana’s Juwan Mor­gan (mid­dle) bat­tles for the ball against Ohio State’s Kyle Young (left) and C.J. Jack­son dur­ing the first half of their game Sun­day in Bloomington, Ind.

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