Sunday, January 12, 2003

Ohio State 81, No. 15 Indiana 69

Darby scores 28 as Ohio State's bigger lineup bullies Hoosiers

The Associated Press

COLUMBUS - On a night when the Ohio State football team was recognized for winning the national championship, the basketball team stole a few headlines by using a muscular, offensive line of its own.

Balancing a punishing inside game with guard Brent Darby's 28 points, the Buckeyes beat No. 15 Indiana 81-69 Saturday night.

With the Buckeyes missing injured starters Brandon Fuss-Cheatham and Terence Dials, coach Jim O'Brien went with a big lineup that included physical forwards Shun Jenkins and Zach Williams and 7-foot center Velimir Radinovic.

Jenkins, whose career best coming in was seven points, had 22 points and seven rebounds for Ohio State (8-5, 1-1 Big Ten), and Williams added 13 points and seven rebounds. Radinovic had eight points and six rebounds.

"We really hadn't done that before," O'Brien said of the big lineup. "Jenkins was terrific. He and Zach and Velimir were three very hungry guys on the glass."

The Hoosiers (11-3, 1-1), who had won three games in a row, were 9-of-34 on 3-pointers. Leading the Big Ten in rebounding coming in, Indiana was beaten 41-32 on the boards.

"The whole thing with the three big guys was to get a lot of rebounds and to crash the boards," Jenkins said. "Coach O'Brien had a good strategy and it worked."

Said Indiana coach Mike Davis: "When you go on the road, you've got to fight - and we didn't fight."

"This was our first true road game. From what I saw sitting and standing on the sideline, we weren't very impressive on offense. We settled for outside jumpers."

The Buckeyes are 12-3 against ranked teams at Value City Arena.

At halftime, coach Jim Tressel's 14-0 football team presented the national championship trophy to Ohio State president Karen Holbrook. A capacity crowd stood and cheered for several minutes as quarterback Craig Krenzel, defensive lineman Will Smith and Tressel each spoke.

The basketball Buckeyes fed off the crowd in expanding a 35-25 halftime lead to as many as 18 points.

"Just the whole energy from the whole crowd motivated the team," Jenkins said.

The Hoosiers pulled to 64-53 on Jeff Newton's 3-pointer with 3:14 left. Williams connected on two foul shots before Tom Coverdale made 3-pointers on consecutive Indiana trips down the floor to make it 67-59 with 2:46 remaining.

But OSU came back with Jenkins scoring on a power move inside off a fast-break feed from Radinovic, then Radinovic made two free throws after an Indiana miss.

Jenkins' was the Buckeyes' only field goal over the final 6 minutes.

"He was so physical," Davis said of the junior college transfer. "He'd miss it, go back and get it and shoot it again."

Jenkins said the game plan worked to perfection.

"The whole thing with the three big guys was to get a lot of rebounds and to crash the boards," he said. "Coach O'Brien had a good strategy and it worked."

With the Hoosiers forced to foul, the Buckeyes scored 15 of their final 17 points at the free throw line. For the game, they were 27-of-38 to the Hoosiers' 12-of-18.

The Buckeyes also were 6-of-10 on 3-pointers.

"If they were playing a YMCA team they wouldn't have shot 60 percent," Davis said. "That just tells you how poor we played."

Bracey Wright led the Hoosiers with 20 points. Coverdale had 18.

Kyle Hornsby, averaging 9.0 points, missed all nine of his shots from the field including eight 3-point attempts.

Darby was 5-of-7 on 3s and 9-of-10 from the line even though he played with a deep thigh bruise sustained in the Buckeyes' 66-55 loss at No. 25 Michigan State on Thursday night.

"It's big to come out with a win against a Top 25 team, but the more important thing is to get the win and get to 1-1 in the conference," Darby said. "We needed to even our record."

Darby became the 41st Buckeye to top 1,000 career points, on a 3-pointer at 16:47 in the first half.

"Brent Darby was just fantastic tonight," Davis said. "He's one of the best players in the Big Ten."

INDIANA (11-3)-Newton 6-12 3-7 16, Leach 4-7 0-0 8, Coverdale 5-12 4-4 18, Wright 6-15 5-6 20, Hornsby 0-9 0-0 0, Moye 2-4 0-0 4, Strickland 1-4 0-1 3. Totals 24-63 12-18 69.

OHIO ST. (8-5)-Williams 4-9 5-8 13, Jenkins 9-15 4-7 22, Radinovic 3-7 2-4 8, Connolly 1-5 2-3 5, Darby 7-12 9-10 28, Jernigan 0-0 5-6 5, Sylvester 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 24-48 27-38 81.

Halftime-Ohio St. 35, Indiana 25. 3-point goals-Indiana 9-34 (Coverdale 4-10, Wright 3-10, Strickland 1-2, Newton 1-3, Moye 0-1, Hornsby 0-8), Ohio St. 6-10 (Darby 5-7, Connolly 1-3). Fouled out-Newton. Rebounds-Indiana 32 (Wright 8), Ohio St. 41 (Darby, Williams, Jenkins 7). Assists-Indiana 17 (Coverdale 6), Ohio St. 10 (Connolly 4). Total fouls-Indiana 26, Ohio St. 15. A-19,200.

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