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2/7 Big Ten Basketball Recap: Ohio State Holds On Against Penn State

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It wasn’t pretty, but the Buckeyes avoided a potentially gutting upset against Penn State.

NCAA Basketball: Penn State at Ohio State Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

There were two games tonight with Ohio State hosting Penn State and Indiana hosting Iowa on ESPN. Tonight could prove critical down the stretch for both of the home teams playing tonight as both hope to make a push for an NCAA Tournament bid.

Game of the Night

Ohio State Buckeyes 74, Penn State Nittany Lions 70

It’s been a rough season for Penn State as they came into tonight’s game trying to build off of their first conference win. While the Nittany Lions started with an 8-2 lead, Ohio State went on a massive 21-1 run as Penn State went almost eight minutes without a made field goal. The Buckeyes would open up a 28-13 lead with 5:17 to go before going cold in the closing minutes, allowing Penn State to narrow the gap to three points thanks to a 9-0 run to end the half.

In the second half Penn State kept it close, eventually taking the lead about seven minutes into the half. After a back and forth half, Ohio State opened up a seven point lead before Penn State went on a 9-1 to retake the leak with 1:38 remaining. Kyle Young would answer for the Buckeyes, putting in a layup to give the Buckeyes the lead with 1:03.

After a Kyle Young block and a scrum for the ball, Penn State got the ball on an inbound pass with a second left. On the lob to Lamar Stevens it looked like Penn State took the lead on a layup, but Stevens didn’t get the shot off in time, leading to a Nittany Lion turnover. After Ohio State split a pair of free throws, Rasir Bolton missed a gimme at the rim for what would have been a game tying layup. After a pair of free throws by C.J. Jackson, Penn State missed a pair of threes and fell 70-74.

Luther Muhammad had a solid night, leading Ohio State with 20 points in scoring. Both C.J. Jackson and Andre Wesson added 15 points as the Buckeyes shot 50% from the field and three, while hitting 23 of 29 from the free throw line. Ohio State likely could have cruised to an easy victory if not for 18 turnovers on the night. Lamar Stevens and Josh Reaves led the Nittany Lions in scoring with 20 points, though Penn State struggled from outside, shooting 33.3% from three. Their defense caused problems for Ohio State, but the Buckeyes shot strong enough from the field to pull out the victory.

Tonight’s win was huge for Ohio State as they try to get things turned around after a 2-6 stretch that included a road loss to Rutgers. With a handful of winnable games down the stretch and plenty of opportunities for quality wins over the next month, Ohio State is still fully in contention for an NCAA Tournament spot. As for Penn State, things won’t get any easier as they host Michigan and travel to Purdue next.

The Rest

#20 Iowa Hawkeyes 77, Indiana Hoosiers 72

The Hoosiers finally stopped the bleeding with an overtime victory against Michigan State as the Spartans imploded from the free throw line, shooting 36.4% on 22 free throws. While Indiana finally ended their seven game losing streak that included losses to Northwestern, Nebraska and Rutgers, things aren’t set to get much easier so the Hoosiers will need to get hot if they want to make a serious run for the NCAA Tournament.

With the Hawkeyes coming to town it provided the Hoosiers a chance to knock off a ranked opponent and add another quality victory. And while Indiana shot 50% from the field in the first half, they struggled slowing down Iowa as the Hawkeyes shot 49% from the field, 7 of 16 from three and 83% from the line. To make things even more complicated for Indiana, Iowa’s bench outscored the Hoosiers 11-0 and scored 16 points off of turnovers.

In the second half Iowa’s offense eventually went cold and the Hoosiers roared back, cutting the deficit to a one possession game with around three minutes remaining. Romeo Langford was huge down the stretch for the Hoosiers, though the rest of the team was still sluggish offensively throughout most of the second half. That became problematic as Indiana squandered a cold run by the Hawkeyes when they could have taken the lead and control of the game.

Iowa got a huge jumper from Tyler Cook and a pair of three pointers by Jordan Bohannon to help put the game away in the closing seconds for the Hawkeyes. Romeo Langford helped the Hoosiers fight back with a big three with 22 seconds remaining, but Bohannon was able to ice the game at the free throw line.

It was a big night for both Cook and Bohannon, scoring a combined 46 points. Indiana kept it close with Iowa, but the Hawkeyes having a more productive night from beyond the arc, while capitalizing on Indiana turnovers in the first half, proved to be the difference.

The loss is rough for the Hoosiers as they fall to 13-10 and blew a chance for a home win against a ranked Iowa team. With a schedule that doesn’t get much easier until the last week of the season, Indiana is going to have a difficult time trying to make it to the NCAA Tournament after a disastrous 1-8 stretch. Iowa, coming off of a big win against Michigan, faces two winnable games against Northwestern and Rutgers next.