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Indiana focuses on finishing strong, puts away No. 10 OSU

Indiana's Victor Oladipo left shoots over Ohio State's Evan Ravenel during second half an NCAA college basketball game Sunday Feb.

Indiana's Victor Oladipo, left, shoots over Ohio State's Evan Ravenel during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game on Sunday, Feb. 10, 2013, in Columbus, Ohio. Indiana defeated Ohio State 81-68. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)

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Updated: March 12, 2013 6:28AM



COLUMBUS, Ohio — Indiana players spent portions of the days leading up to the Ohio State game reviewing film of the final five minutes of some of this season’s tightest contests.

Yes, Thursday’s crushing loss at Illinois made the reel.

The Hoosiers saw a team that spent too much time watching the clock and hoping for time to run out. A team — junior guard Victor Oladipo said — that looked immature.

Indiana emphasized finishing going into Sunday’s top-10 showdown with Ohio State. And the No. 1 Hoosiers did just that, defeating the No. 10 Buckeyes 81-68 in front of 18,809 fans at Value City Arena.

“The last five minutes have been important for us, putting teams away, playing to win,” IU sophomore forward Cody Zeller said. “We made that adjustment pretty well.”

Oladipo led the way with a career-high 26 points to help the Hoosiers (21-3, 9-2 Big Ten) pull into a tie for first in the Big Ten with Michigan State. Zeller added 24 points and eight rebounds. Senior forward Christian Watford chipped in 20 points as Indiana earned its first road win against a top 10 team since defeating No. 10 Notre Dame on Dec. 5, 2000.

“Victor Oladipo, Cody Zeller and Christian Watford played as well as a triangle — three guys — that you can get, because it was on both ends of the floor,” Indiana coach Tom Crean said.

It’s also the Hoosiers’ first road win against a top 25 team since beating No. 13 Iowa on Jan. 13, 2002.

“(The win) tells us that we are growing. We’re learning from our mistakes and applying it to the next game,” Oladipo said. “If keep growing inside games, we don’t have to lose a game the rest of the year.”

IU squandered a late double-digit lead Thursday at Illinois. Tyler Griffey scored the game-winning basket at the buzzer to give the Illini a 74-72 victory.

Sunday, the Hoosiers had an answer every time the Buckeyes tried to make a charge. Ohio State got within 43-39 when Deshaun Thomas made three free throws with 16:28 to go. Oladipo responded by making a jumper and then a 3-pointer. The baskets started a 10-2 run. Ohio State never seriously threatened IU the rest of the way.

“We never stopped moving, we never stopped running and we never stopped getting the ball into the paint, whether it was the drive or the post-up,” Crean said. “When there could have been opportunities for us to settle for jumpers, we didn’t. And when they got big buckets, we came down and we matched it.”

Thomas scored 26 points to pace the Buckeyes (17-6, 7-4). Ohio State will likely fall out of the top 10 in the polls after suffering its second loss of the week. It remains to be seen where IU will land in the top five in the upcoming rankings. But Sunday, the Hoosiers put together one of their top performances of the season.



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