Kaleb Wesson had 17 points and 13 rebounds in his return from a three-game suspension leading Ohio State to a 79-75 victory over Indiana Thursday in the second round of the Big Ten tournament in Chicago.
With the win, the Buckeyes kept their NCAA Tournament hopes alive and delivered a serious blow to Indiana’s.
Keyshawn Woods had a team-high 18 points and C.J. Jackson added 17 for the eighth-seeded Buckeyes (19-13), who like the ninth-seeded Hoosiers (17-15), appear on the bubble for an invite to the Big Dance. It was the mere presence of the 6-foot-9 Wesson, however, that gave Ohio State some needed confidence.
Ohio State lost every game Wesson — the team’s leading scorer and rebounder — missed for violating school policy, and the Buckeyes never led in those contests. However, the Buckeyes had to sweat things out after nearly blowing a 20-point lead Thursday.
Ohio State, which scored 24 points off 17 Indiana turnovers, led 35-28 at the end of a first half that was erratic and sloppy by both teams. In the second half, the Buckeyes used a 10-point spurt to lead 63-43 with 7:30 left in the game.
However, the Hoosiers, who had won four straight entering the tournament, reeled off a 13-0 run to get within seven with just over 4 minutes to play, and thanks to back-to-back field goals from star freshman Romeo Langford (nine points), got within 72-69 with 55.9 seconds to go. However, a Woods’ basket pushed Ohio State’s lead to five, and Wesson drew a key charge with 18.9 to go.
But the Hoosiers still weren’t through as Devonte Green (26 points) hit two of his eight made 3-pointers in the final 13 seconds to get them within 77-75 with 5 seconds left. Jackson, though, hit two free throws with 3 seconds to ice the victory.
Ohio State will face No. 1 seed Michigan State in Friday’s quarterfinals.
—Field Level Media