COLUMBUS, Ohio – For most of the second half, things looked bleak for No. 22 Ohio State as Indiana was poised to end its four-game losing streak. But the Buckeyes rallied late, tying the game with six seconds to play and then outscored the Hoosiers 17-6 in overtime to pull out an 80-69 victory.
The Buckeyes improve to 17-7 overall and 10-5 in Big Ten play while Indiana drops its fifth-consecutive game and is now 16-10 and 7-9 in the conference.
Freshman Malaki Branham scored 17 of his game-high 27 points in the second half and overtime to lead the Buckeyes. He was 9-of-13 from the floor and 8-of-8 from the foul line. He also led the team with three assists, none bigger than finding E.J. Liddell under the hoop for dunk with six seconds left to tie the game.
Liddell finished with 16 points and a team-high seven rebounds. In addition to his game-tying bucket, he knocked-down a jumper at the end of the shot clock with 2:00 left in overtime that sparked a 10-0 Buckeye run to finish the game.
Eugene Brown III started his fourth consecutive game and gave the Buckeyes a spark early. He was 2-of-2 from long range and finished with 10 points, six rebounds and a career-high three steals.
Jamari Wheeler had perhaps the biggest shot of overtime a his three-pointer with just under three minutes to play put the Buckeyes up by three, which was their largest lead since midway through the second half.
Branham scored six of the final nine points of the first half for the Buckeyes who led just 33-28 at the break. Ohio State then scored on four of its first five possessions of the second half to build an eight-point lead at 44-36. OSU would make its first seven shots of the half and led 49-39 with under 14 minutes to play.
The Buckeye lead was as much as 11 before an 18-4 Indiana run over a six-and-a-half-minute stretch gave the Hoosiers a 59-55 lead at the under 4:00 timeout. Since making its first seven shots of the second half, the Buckeyes had just one field goal before Liddell’s dunk with six seconds left. That play not only tied the game but gave the Buckeyes, and the Value City Arena crowd, some life.
The momentum rolled into the overtime session as OSU made 4-of-5 shots from the floor and 8-of-11 from the line in the extra session to run up an 11-point victory.
- The Buckeyes shot 48.1 percent from the floor which was the second-highest shooting percentage in a Big Ten game this season by an Indiana opponent
- Malaki Branham’s 27 points were his second-most in a game this season behind his 35 against Nebraska on Jan. 2.
- Eugene Brown III scored 10 points, marking his third career game with 10 or more points and the first against a Big Ten team
- The Buckeyes have won both of their overtime games this season after losing their last two OT games last season
The Buckeyes will head out on the road for its final two road games of the regular season this week. The first of which will be Thursday night at Illinois. Tip-off is set for 9 p.m. ET on FS1.
COURTESY OSU ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS