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Indiana University

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Associated Press
Indiana’s Verdell Jones III is defended by Ohio State’s Jon Diebler during the first half in Bloomington.

First-half drought buries Hoosiers

– Indiana had to like its chances when Ohio State star Evan Turner went to the bench with his second foul less than three minutes into Wednesday’s game.

Turns out, the Buckeyes didn’t really need him.

William Buford scored 21 points as the No. 13 Buckeyes crushed the Hoosiers 69-52 in front of 16,442 fans at Assembly Hall.

The game began to unravel for IU toward the end of the first half when the Hoosiers didn’t score a point in the final 6:07. The Buckeyes closed the half on a 12-0 run and didn’t look back, handing Indiana (9-14, 3-8 Big Ten) its fifth straight loss.

“We ran out of air tonight,” IU coach Tom Crean said. “Ohio State played well, but I don’t think it was as much what they did as it was our lack of alertness, our lack of resolve and our lack of inner-confidence to get things righted.”

Dallas Lauderdale had 14 points and seven blocks. Kyle Madsen scored 11 as the Buckeyes (19-6, 10-3) won their fifth straight and moved into a three-way tie for first in the Big Ten with Michigan State and Illinois. Turner finished with 10 points and seven rebounds while limited to 21 minutes because of foul trouble.

Christian Watford led IU with 15 points and seven rebounds. Jordan Hulls added a career-high 13 points. Verdell Jones III, also hampered because of foul trouble, scored 11 points, hitting just 4 of 11 shots.

As a team, IU continues to misfire from the field. For the fourth time in five games, Indiana shot less than 40 percent, hitting 20 of 54 against the Buckeyes for 37 percent.

Just about everything went wrong in those final six minutes of the half.

Trailing 22-20, the Hoosiers missed their final five shots of the half, and they also turned the ball over seven times.

“Our defense really stepped up,” Ohio State coach Thad Matta said. “We were able to get some easy baskets off of turnovers and that to me was the biggest difference.

“The communication was going on (on defense). (Indiana will) hit you in transition, and if they don’t have it, they will back it out. They got us in transition to get it to 22-20. We talked about during a timeout of making them run their offense.”

When the halftime buzzer sounded, IU found itself behind 34-20.

“It was just some miscommunications, some turnovers and they got some easy layups,” Hulls said. “That hurt us in the end.”

A Hulls three-pointer got Indiana within 44-34 with 14:29 to go. But Ohio State followed with a 21-6 run, sending many fans to the exits before the playing of the “William Tell Overture” during the eight-minute timeout.

“Seven days ago, we played one of the best teams in the country (Purdue) to a three-point game,” Crean said. “It’s not like we can’t do good things, but we have a lot of challenges in front of us.”

lpope@jg.net

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