Buckeyes battle Hoosiers in Big Ten brawl

Bloomington, IN ( - The Indiana Hoosiers will continue their final three-game homestand of the season on Sunday afternoon when they welcome the 22nd-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes to Assembly Hall for a Big Ten Conference bout.

Ohio State had won three straight and six of its previous seven prior to its Thursday-night matchup at Penn State, in which it fell on the wrong end of a 65-63 final. The Buckeyes are out of the running the Big Ten regular-season title at 9-7, but they are still a solid 22-7 overall this season and have held their own on the road at 5-4.

Indiana most recently downed Iowa at home on Thursday, 93-86, for its third victory over at Top 25 team this season, all at home. The Hoosiers have played excellent in Bloomington, going 13-3 at Assembly Hall, but they are just a modest 16-12 overall and are stuck in the bottom half of the Big Ten standings at 6-9.

The Hoosiers hold a 101-76 advantage over the Buckeyes in the all-time series, although Ohio State have won eight of the last 10 matchups dating back to 2009.

The Buckeyes lost control of their second-half lead over PSU on Thursday, and trailing by two in the waning seconds, Lenzelle Smith Jr.'s 3-point attempt did not fall. The team shot only 42.6 percent from the field, including 5- of-17 from beyond the arc, and lost the rebounding battle by a 34-25 margin. LaQuinton Ross was only 4-of-12 from the field but knocked down 11-of-13 at the free-throw line for 19 points. Aaron Craft was the only other player in double figures with 10 points.

Ohio State has been defined this season by its outstanding defense, which holds opposing teams to just 39.9 percent field-goal shooting for 58.4 ppg, with the latter ranking fifth-best in the nation. Its offense has lived up to its end of the bargain, shooting 45.1 percent from the floor en route to 70.2 ppg, and the squad is also aided by a strong +3.3 turnover margin. Ross posts team highs in both scoring (14.4 ppg) and rebounding (5.7 rpg). Smith nets 11.6 ppg and Craft contributes 9.5 ppg and 4.6 apg and is one of the nation's best perimeter defenders with 2.5 spg.

The Hoosiers overcame a halftime deficit in their latest bout by outshooting the potent Hawkeyes from the field, 51.7 percent to 48.6 percent, and by having an active, effective night at the foul line (27-of-38) as they captured the seven-point victory, marking head coach Tom Crean's 100th at the school. Will Sheehey was the catalyst with a career-high 30 points, shooting 13-of-20 from the field. Stanford Robinson came off the bench to score 17 points, while Evan Gordon (12 points) was also impressive in a reserve role.

Indiana has performed well on both ends of the court this season, shooting 44.9 percent from the field for 73.1 ppg while allowing 67.1 ppg on just 40.8 percent shooting. It ranks in the top-10 nationally in rebounding margin (+8.5), but it also gives away several possessions per game with a -2.5 turnover margin. Kevin "Yogi" Ferrell sets the tone from the backcourt, pouring in 17.6 ppg (on 78-of-184 from 3-point range) and handing out 3.8 apg. Noah Vonleh's freshman campaign has been a success with 11.6 ppg, 9.1 rpg and 1.3 bpg, while Sheehey rounds out the double-digit scorers with 10.8 ppg.