Associated Press Ohio State’s Keita Bates-Diop is all smiles as he embraces teammate C.J. Jackson, center front, who hit the game-winner in double overtime Friday to win at Indiana. At right is Ohio State’s Andrew Dakich.
Associated Press IU's Juwan Morgan shoots over Ohio State's Jae'Sean Tate on Friday night at Assembly Hall.
Saturday, February 24, 2018 1:00 am
Ohio State 80 Indiana 78
Buckeyes clip Hoosiers in 2OT
Morgan puts IU up late, but long 3 wins for No. 16 OSU
DYLAN SINN | The Journal Gazette
BLOOMINGTON – On Senior Night at Assembly Hall, it was a junior who nearly led Indiana to its biggest victory of the Big Ten season.
Juwan Morgan scored nine of his team-high 18 points in the game's two overtimes, including six in double overtime to propel IU to a one-point lead with seconds left.
He would have been the hero, but No. 16 Ohio State's C.J. Jackson ruined the party, pulling up from 25 feet and nailing a 3-pointer with a second left to give his team an 80-78 victory Friday in the Hoosiers' final regular-season game.
The second overtime was tightly contested, with the teams trading baskets until the final seconds. Neither team had more than a one-point lead in the final five minutes until Jackson hit his game-winner. The game almost didn't reach a second overtime, but senior Robert Johnson, who scored 17 points, hit two free throws in the last seconds of the first extra session to deadlock the score at 70.
“Tonight was very painful,” coach Archie Miller said, addressing the crowd after the game. “We weren't able to get the job done for you guys and we wanted so deeply to do it. Also for our guys here in front of us (the seniors) who wanted a win, but it didn't happen. But it's moments like this you look back on with time and you'll say to yourself, 'Do you remember where we started?'
“These (seniors) have given everything in their power to help us build and build and build, and one day they'll come back here and this place will be as dominant as any in college basketball.”
Indiana (16-14, 9-9 Big Ten) once again allowed an opportunity for a signature victory slip away in the final seconds. The Hoosiers finish the regular season 1-7 against ranked teams, with their final three home losses against such teams coming by a total of 12 points. They did not beat a ranked opponent in conference play.
The Buckeyes (24-7, 15-3) were led by junior Keita Bates-Diop. The forward, who came in as the second-leading scorer in the Big Ten, poured in 24 points and grabbed a season-high 14 rebounds. He totaled 27 boards in two contests against the Hoosiers this season. Indiana did force him to take 24 shots to get his points, but the attention the Hoosiers paid him opened up driving lanes for other Buckeyes.
After the game, the Hoosiers' five seniors were recognized for their contributions to the team. Johnson got an especially loud ovation, as it was announced that he would finish in the top 25 on the all-time IU scoring list. He's only 26 points away from the top 20 after Friday's performance, which tied him with Jimmy Rayl for the 22nd spot.
“It's always been a dream of mine to play at a program like this,” said Johnson, who then paused, choking up.
He eventually steadied himself and thanked everyone from the fans to former coach Tom Crean and current coach Archie Miller and his parents before handing the microphone back to end the festivities.
Johnson's fellow senior Collin Hartman summed up the evening succinctly.
“Thank you Hoosier nation, Hoosier forever,” the fifth-year senior said, finishing his address to the fans.