COLUMBUS, Ohio – Indiana knew what it needed to do to win at Ohio State for the first time since 2008.
The No. 1 Hoosiers had to control the game's pace, and they had to get the ball in the paint.
Indiana accomplished those goals in an 81-68 victory over No. 10 Ohio State on Sunday afternoon in front of 18,809 fans in Value City Arena.
"Aaron (Craft) sets the pace for OSU and tries to set the pace for other teams," Hoosiers coach Tom Crean said. "We couldn't let them set the pace. It was an incredibly tough environment, and I thought our team handled it well."
IU (21-3, 9-2 Big Ten) also got the ball inside with forwards Cody Zeller and Chisitan Watford scoring 24 and 20 points as guard Victor Oladipo scored a career-high 26 points. The Hoosiers scored 28 points in the paint against the Buckeyes (17-6, 7-4).
"We really needed to get the ball in the paint," Crean said. "And even Cody had some drives, which he can do. It was very important that that ball hit the paint. Our statistics when they hit the paint are extremely high, percentage wide.
"We did the best job, all-Big Ten, of feeding the post today. It wasn't just feeding the post, it getting the ball in the lane and getting the ball inside-out. There were very few instances where we took quick jumpers."
IU was coming off a crushing loss to Illinois in which it let a double-digit halftime lead disappear as the Hoosiers were out scored 13-2 in the final 3 ½ minutes and lost on wide-open layup at the buzzer.
So when Indiana built a big lead over Ohio State on Sunday, the players knew it was important not to commit the same mistakes they did in Thursday's 74-72 loss to the Illini.
"We learned a lot from that game," Oladipo said of the loss to Illinois. "We learned a lot about ourselves and where we are at and things we need to do and accomplish in order to win. I think we did a great job of taking that game, learning from it and applying it to this game."
Oladipo, Watford and Zeller combined for 70 of IU's 81 points with Jordan Hulls adding five points with four assists, Will Sheehey scoring five and Kevin "Yogi" Ferrell added a point with his three assists.
"That's what we've been doing all year," Zeller said. "We know each other very well from playing together and practice. Today, we put it all together, and all three of us had a pretty nice game."
Thomas carries offense
Junior forward Deshaun Thomas was the only Ohio State player in double-diget scoring until late in the second half Sunday.
Thomas, the former Bishop Luers standout, scored a team-high 26 points on 8-of-20 shooting. The Buckeyes took 59 shots in the loss.
While Craft finished with 16 points before fouling out and LaQuinton Ross added 11, Ohio State knows it needs to get Thomas some help on offense.
"We need to put the ball in the basket," Craft said.
- Indiana shot 53.1 percent Sunday, hitting 26 of 49 shots. The Hoosiers were 7 of 18 on three-pointers and 22 of 28 on free throws.
- Zeller and Oladipo each made the same number of shots, eight. Zeller was 8 for 11, and Oladipo was 8 of 10.
- After giving up 28 points on turnovers in Thursday's loss to Illinois, IU only gave up 11 points off turnover to Ohio State.
- Indiana defeated a top-10 team on the road for the first time since knocking off then-No. 10 Notre Dame in 2000. It was also IU's first road win over a top-25 team since it beat then-No. 13 Iowa in 2002.
"(Zeller) was really finishing well inside tonight, but we hurt ourselves with some easy put-backs. We didn't guard them as well as we needed to at times."
– Thad Matta, Ohio State coach