Velimir Radinovic scored a career-high 23 points and added 10 rebounds,
leading Ohio State to a 59-56 win in Bloomington Saturday.
The Buckeyes (12-13, 4-8) out-muscled the Hoosiers (12-12, 6-7) in the post
all evening. Terence Dials powered his way to 16 points and 10 boards.
“I’m really, really proud of our guys right now,” OSU head coach Jim O’Brien
told WBNS radio. “This was not an easy game for us. I know Indiana has been
struggling their last few games, but we did everything that we absolutely needed
to do to win.
“When we came into this game, we talked in terms of our advantage around
the basket and we really needed to exploit that edge that we had. Our guys were
terrific at searching for that.”
The Buckeyes came out with a surprise starting lineup of Radinovic, Dials,
Tony Stockman, Ivan Harris and Shaun Smith.
Behind a pair of nice baskets from Dials, Ohio State led 9-7 at the first
media timeout (13:20). It was clear from the start that OSU was going to pound
the ball inside all night. The Hoosiers came equipped with 6-foot-11 center
George Lynch, but very little else in the post.
Then Lynch picked up his second foul at the 12:15 mark of the half, leaving
the 6-foot-3 A.J. Moye and rail-thin Pat Ewing Jr. trying to handle Radinovic
and Dials inside.
The Bucks’ largest lead of the first half came at 19-16 with 3:25 left.
They held on for a 23-21 advantage at halftime on a runner from Tony Stockman
a few seconds before the buzzer.
The second half began with a 10-5 run from the Hoosiers, giving them a 31-28
lead with 15:59 remaining.
However, back came the Buckeyes, who were brilliantly stubborn in repeatedly
feeding the post.
Radinovic and Dials could not be denied and OSU quickly grabbed the lead
back, with its largest lead coming at 48-44 with 6:30 remaining.
However, just when it was looking good for OSU, Indiana responded with a 7-0
run and seemed to take control of the game. The Hoosiers suddenly led 51-48 with
the Assembly Hall crowd finally coming to life.
Indiana held the lead until the 2:00 mark, when Radinovic dropped in a
turnaround, making the count 54-all.
Then, after a defensive stand, Dials sank a short turnaround of his own,
giving the Bucks a 56-54 lead with 1:06 left.
Bracey Wright then made two free throws to tie it up with 45 second left,
setting the stage for an unlikely hero.
J.J. Sullinger, who has struggled much of the season, made a quick move down
the baseline for a running jumper and a 58-56 Buckeye lead with just 16.7
Moye then missed a 3-pointer and Dials went high to corral the rebound with
4.1 seconds showing.
“The Diesel” knocked down 1-of-2 for a 59-56 lead. Indiana’s near
mid-court heave at the buzzer missed and the Bucks kept their NIT hopes alive.
O’Brien, always a good bench coach, was obviously pleased to see his
game-plan carried out to perfection.
“The thing that stands out to me about Velimir and Terence is not their
high percentage, because they do that every game, but the fact that they took 28
shots,” he said. “I think that’s a credit to the other guys finding them.”
Radinovic was 10 of 14 from the floor and Dials was 7 of 14.
As usual, O’Brien mixed up the defenses all night, keeping the Hoosiers on
“I think our guys did a good job adjusting to the different defenses,” O’Brien
said. “We played a number of different defenses.”
The coach was asked why he went with Harris and Smith in the starting lineup.
“It’s all about trying to get a feel for how the game is going,” O’Brien
said. “And we really felt the need to shake things up. I thought Shaun Smith
had a couple real good days of practice and Ivan had a real good game the other
“You can’t just stay with the status quo, so sometimes we just rattle a
few cages as they say. But everybody responded very well.”
GAME NOTES: The Buckeyes are now 11-1 when leading at halftime. …
Wright, the Big Ten’s second leading scorer at 19.8 points per game, was held
to nine. … Marshall Strickland led Indiana with 13 points. … No word if OSU
will have “Double, double-double” T-shirts made in recognition of Radinovic
and Dials. … Dials has recently developed a left hand and continues to add
moves to his arsenal. He really has a chance to be the dominant big man in this
league the next two seasons. … One area the Bucks are lacking this year is
scoring off in-bounds passes underneath the basket. O’Brien is usually the
master of it, but OSU has very few cheap ones this year. Maybe the league has
finally wised up, or maybe this is one of things they missed working on in the
preseason when OB was out. … OSU shot an even 50 percent from the field (25 of
50). … Indiana shot a brisk 33 percent (18 of 54). … The Buckeyes won the
rebounding battle 34-29. … OSU was sloppy with the ball much of the night,
committing 16 turnovers. … Indiana had just eight. … Harris’ start was his
second in a Buckeye uniform and he responded with zero points and one rebound.
… The Buckeyes get back in action Saturday at last-place Minnesota at 8 p.m.