COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio State opened the fourth quarter on an 8-0 run to take its first lead of the game and then relied on its defense down the stretch to secure a 55-50 victory over No. 25 Indiana on Thursday evening at Value City Arena.
The Buckeyes (5-8, 1-3) shot just 30 percent through the first three quarters but was 9-of-12 shooting and forced eight Indiana (14-2, 3-1) turnovers in the decisive fourth quarter.
Graduate point guard Carmen Grande led the Buckeyes with 19 points, five steals and three assists. She had two big steals at the onset of the fourth quarter that sparked the Buckeyes’ run.
Freshman Janai Crooms had a second-consecutive solid game as she finished with a season-high 12 points and dished-out three assists. The Cranston, R.I. native had a pair of big buckets late in the fourth quarter, including a three-point play that put the Buckeyes up by six with 1:26 to play.
Dorka Juhasz scored nine points and grabbed a team-high 10 rebounds to go along with three steals. Makayla Waterman finished with six points and three blocked shots.
Defensively, Ohio State forced Indiana into 19 turnovers and the Hoosiers shot a season-low 33.3 percent for the game. Point guard Ali Patberg came into the game averaging 18.0 points per contest and was limited to a season-low nine points on Thursday.
The Buckeyes didn’t play their best basketball over the first three quarters but their defense kept them in the game. Indiana raced out to an early 12-point lead but the Buckeyes cut the deficit to single digits after the first and remained within striking distance the rest of the way. A late third quarter three-pointer, which was Indiana’s only long distance make of the game, gave IU an eight-point edge. Junior Jensen Caretti hit a jumper at the end of the third quarter and then the Buckeyes reeled-off the first eight points of the fourth to take its first lead at 38-36 with just over eight minutes to play.
The teams traded the lead four times over the next five minutes before Crooms’ two lay-ins with under two minutes to play gave the Buckeyes their largest lead of the game at 51-45. Indiana then scored the next five points to cut the lead to one with 28 seconds left. A Buckeye turnover gave the ball back to IU and after a missed shot under the rim, Carly Santoro knocked the ball off an Indiana player, giving the ball back to Ohio State with 24 seconds left and a 51-50 lead.
Grande canned a pair of free throws with 20 seconds remaining and Indiana then missed a three-pointer which was rebounded by Grande. The native of Spain followed with two free throws to ice the Buckeyes’ first top-25 victory of the season.
Ohio State will host Michigan State next Monday at 7 p.m. on BTN. The Spartans are 2-2 in the conference and are ranked No. 23 nationally. Michigan State is coming off an 86-68 thumping of No. 18 Minnesota on Wednesday evening.