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‘I feel like the energy wasn’t there’: Indiana runs out of time against Ohio State

Devonte Green dribbles into the lane against Ohio State. Green finished with 26 points. (Kurt Spitler/HN)

Indiana had a chance to secure a ticket to the big dance, but as has become standard this season, couldn’t get it done. Entering their matchup with Ohio State, the Hoosiers were on the outside looking in, but a victory over the Buckeyes would have likely pushed them into the field of 68.

A back-and-forth matchup that for a while looked as though it would end up as a blowout went down to the seconds. After fighting back from a 20-point deficit, Indiana pulled the game to within three with 55 seconds left.

However, strong outing from Keyshawn Woods and Kaleb Wesson for Ohio State ensured that it was not to be.

Here are three takeaways from what could possibly be the final game of the season for the Hoosiers.

The Hoosiers started slow, and the offense was streaky throughout

Indiana’s offense started slow, scoring just five points in the first six minutes of the game. The Hoosiers shot 3-17 from the floor in that time span and finished the half shooting only 30% from the field. And as has been a problem for them all season, gave up 10 turnovers in the first half alone.

“I feel like the energy level wasn’t there,” freshman Rob Phinisee said, “we turned it over a lot more than we usually do and they got a lot of points off of turnovers and that got them rolling.”

It was much of the same for the majority of the second half. The offense couldn’t jump start behind a slew of turnovers and allowing OSU to go on a 10-point run. The Hoosiers were unable to find the bottom of the bucket for almost four minutes at one point, giving the Buckeye’s a commanding 63-43 lead.

Behind the efforts of Devonte Green, IU responded with a run of their own, putting up 13 straight and closing the gap to 63-56 inside five minutes.

“if we would have played the whole game like that, it would have been a different story,” De’Ron Daivs said.

Ohio State managed to keep the margin above eight until the last two minutes of the game, and by the time IU had found its groove again, it was too little too late.

“We just didn’t play at a high enough level for long enough stretches of the game to keep ourselves in a little better striking distance,” Archie Miller said.

Devonte Green tried to put the team on his back

Junior guard Devonte Green did all he could to keep the Hoosiers’ tournament hopes alive, dropping bucket after bucket to pull the Hoosiers back to within single digits.

“Once I hit a couple I was just in rhythm,” said Green, “I started getting hot.”

Green was one of the few players that got hot for the Hoosiers. He got hot at the right times too, scoring 15 points after halftime. 12 of those 15 points came in the final seven minutes of the game.

“He was all we had there for a while, he stepped up and made shots” Miller said of Green.

Green finished with a game-high 26 points, shooting 8-of-10 from three-point range.

Future of the team uncertain

Coming into the Big Ten Tournament, the Hoosiers were on Joe Lunardi’s last four out, with Ohio State as his last team in the field. This game had win-or-go-home implications for not only the Big Ten Tournament but also for the NCAA Championship Tournament. In the end, Indiana just couldn’t get it done.

“We’ll wait and see, it’ll be difficult,” Miller said, “We’ve played a ridiculous schedule. Are we capable yes, did we do enough I’m not sure?”

It would take nothing short of a miracle for the Hoosiers to hear their name called Sunday. Barring that miracle, it is likely they will receive a bid to the NIT tournament. Whether or not they would accept that bid has yet to be determined.

“I’m not really sure what’s going to happen, it’s really up to coach” said Rob Phinisee.

If the Hoosiers decided not to participate in the NIT, the team would shift all focus to the future as they prepare for the next season.

“If not, we have to figure out what’s the next step and what we have to do next year and make the tournament.” De’Ron Davis said.

The Hoosiers exit the Big Ten Tournament in appropriately disappointing fashion. After finally heating up in the last four games of the regular season, it looked as though they might just steal an invitation to the Big Dance, but this shoe didn’t quite fit. It is possible this will end up being the final game this Indiana team plays. Now, all eyes turn to selection Sunday, as the fate of the Hoosiers lies in the hands of the selection committee.

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