COLUMBUS, Ohio — Indiana came into Columbus having lost six of its last seven games. The Hoosiers left having scored more points at Value City Arena than any Ohio State opponent in the nearly two-decade history of the building.
Ohio State allowed 84 points at home against Michigan State in 2004, Purdue in 2012 and Iowa in 2014. The Hoosiers eclipsed that with plenty of time to spare and extended the record by a dozen points. By the time it was done, they’d escaped Columbus with a 96-92 win against the Buckeyes.
They accomplished that thanks largely to a 54-point first half in which they laid waste to Ohio State. The last time the Buckeyes had allowed a team to score 51 in the first half came back in 2001 against Penn State.
“They were making shots at an alarming rate,” Ohio State coach Thad Matta said.
It was largely unprecedented for this year’s Hoosiers team, too. The only other time Indiana scored 90 or more in regulation of a Big Ten game came against Illinois on Jan. 7. Indiana was coming off an 86-75 loss to Purdue, and the Hoosiers scored only 63 in a win against Northwestern the previous game.
As has been the case this season, however, Ohio State proved to be the perfect cure for a slumping Big Ten team. Indiana guard Robert Johnson entered the game having made 7 of 42 3-pointers in his last eight games. Against the Buckeyes, he made 5 of 8 and finished with a game-high 26 points.
“We’re a get-well card for guys,” Matta said. “You’re struggling? Play Ohio State. You’ll get out of your slump just like that. It’s been that way all year long. I can name guy after guy after guy.
“The 54 at halftime, I don’t think we’ve ever given up that many points that I can think of. But they were rolling. I give Indiana credit. They were on today. We probably played 10 minutes of good defense (all game), but they made us pay quite a bit.”