[Postgame 3-2-1] What We Learned From Indiana's Victory Over Ohio State
Here are three key stats, two observations, and one lingering question from Indiana's 71-65 win over Ohio State.
Sports are much more fun when your team is winning. (I apologize if that sentence hurt any Colts fans reading this.)
Indiana pulled away from Ohio State in the second half last night, earning their second Quad Two victory of the season in front of a near sell-out crowd at Assembly Hall.
Malik Reneau was spectacular for the cream and crimson last night. He finished with 23 points on 9-15 shooting, scoring 19 in the second half alone.
Xavier Johnson’s return to McCracken Court went about as well as it possible could have, and Indiana improved to 3-1 in conference play and 11-4 on the season.
“The team and Coach Woodson expects a lot out of me,” Johnson said of his performance. “I'm going to give everything I got from the rest of the year on out.”
It was a hard-fought victory that had plenty of ups and downs throughout.
Here are three key stats, two observations, and one lingering question from Indiana’s most recent performance.
Did you miss yesterday's edition of the postgame show?
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3 Meaningful Stats
1. Xavier Johnson played 34 minutes.
In his first game back at Assembly Hall since injuring his foot, X provided the energy with a vintage performance.
X posted a donut in his first game back at Nebraska on Wednesday, leading to questions about whether he should be in the starting line-up for last night’s game.
“Today I told him at shoot-around I was going to play him, let him loose,” Mike Woodson said postgame. “I thought he was huge tonight.”
As he has done in the past, Johnson silenced the doubters with a vintage performance in his first game back at Assembly Hall since before Thanksgiving.
The sixth-year senior had 18 points on 4-9 shooting, including a perfect 2-2 from beyond the arc.
Numerous times throughout the night, Johnson drove downhill, which allowed him to facilitate for his teammates or draw a shooting foul. When he got to the line, X made it count. He shot 8-11 from the charity stripe, hitting big ones late to seal the victory for Indiana.
“I let the game come to myself,” Johnson said of his performance. “I trusted my coaching staff, trusted my teammates to make the right play.”
There is still a long way to go for Xavier to return to 100%, but tonight was a step in the right direction.
2. Indiana only had four turnovers.
After a rough showing in Lincoln earlier in the week, a turnover-free game is precisely what the doctor ordered for Indiana.
Indiana had 19 turnovers Wednesday night, with seven coming from Galloway and Johnson. Last night, Indiana had just four turnovers. Trey had just one giveaway, while X didn’t turn the ball over once.
“It brings a smile to my face,” Woodson said. “I mean, that was miserable sitting through that in Nebraska, just giving them the basketball.”
The lack of turnovers was the main reason Indiana won last night.
As we saw earlier in the week, when the Hoosiers turn the ball over, especially in live ball scenarios, it swiftly heads south for the team.
On top of taking care of the ball, the Hoosiers forced 14 Buckeye turnovers, leading to 22 Indiana points.
Obviously, it wasn’t a complete effort (see meaningful stat three), but having less than five turnovers in a conference game will almost always lead to victory.
Early in the Woodson era, the team would run if they committed ten or more turnovers in a game. If they stayed under the benchmark, the coaching staff would be running.
I’m sure the coaches will happily put on their running shoes for practice today.
3. Ohio State had 22 offensive rebounds.
There is one major concern coming out of last night’s game: defensive rebounding.
Ohio State matched Indiana in rebounds on the offensive end alone last night, leading to 24 second chance points for the Buckeyes.
The Hoosiers were out-rebounded 49-27 in last night’s game. For a team with a 7-footer averaging 35 minutes per game and a potential All-Conference big playing alongside him, this should not be happening.
“I told Ware and Malik, they were awful tonight in rebounding the basketball,” Woodson said of Ohio State’s domination on the glass. “We got away with it tonight, but have to be much better as we go to Rutgers.”
Bad bounces are part of the game, and they happen, but giving up that many offensive rebounds in a single game is inexcusable.
Indiana got lucky tonight thanks to Roddy Gayle Jr. and Bruce Thornton being unable to hit the broad side of a barn, going a combined 0-12 from deep.
Allotting opponents second chances won’t fly in Piscataway on Tuesday night. The RAC has been a tough place to play for Indiana, and giving the Scarlet Knights a second chance will prove costly.