Bloomington, IN – Deshaun Thomas had 18 points and the 14th- ranked Ohio State Buckeyes prevented the second-ranked Indiana Hoosiers from clinching the outright Big Ten Conference regular-season title with a 67-58 decision on Tuesday.
Aaron Craft added 15 points and four steals for the Buckeyes (22-7, 12-5 Big Ten), who now sit one game behind Indiana and can still claim a share of the conference crown.
Ohio State, which has won four in a row, ends the regular season on Sunday against Illinois.
Cody Zeller ended with 17 points for the Hoosiers (25-5, 13-4), who were trying to claim their first outright title since 1993. Christian Watford donated 12 points.
"Both teams played extremely hard but they played smarter and that caught us. We didn't do a great job of playing out possessions," IU head coach Tom Crean said.
Despite loses in two of its last three games, Indiana can still win the outright title with a win against Michigan on Sunday.
Neither team led by more than five until Ohio State went on a 9-0 run late in the second half. Holding a 52-50 lead with about six minutes to play, Craft made a jumper to spark the burst by the Buckeyes. Thomas added two free throws and a 3-pointer before a Lenzelle Smith, Jr. slam made it 61-50.
Indiana never got closer than six the rest of the way.
Neither team led by more than three points until Watford's 3-pointer with 4:49 left in the first half gave the Hoosiers a 25-21 lead.
Ohio State responded with the final seven points of the half. Craft's three- point play gave the Buckeyes a 28-25 edge at the break.
Indiana scored the first five points of the second half and held a 43-40 margin with 13:17 remaining. Ohio State, though, responded with the next eight points to take a 48-43 lead.
"We knew they were a great shooting basketball team, and their first seven field goals of the second half went in," Ohio State coach Thad Matta said. "We just told our guys to make sure you keep your poise and we made some big buckets as well. We pressed a little bit to start the second and we noticed that they were scoring, but we were making some layups too. I thought our guys played through it pretty well."
Indiana went into Columbus on Feb. 10 and handed the Buckeyes an 81-68 defeat. The Hoosiers lead the all-time series by a 101-76 margin ... Indiana turned the ball over 12 times ... Indiana guard Victor Oladipo had seven points and six rebounds.