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Indiana men’s basketball dominates Ohio State in the paint in 71-65 victory

The Hoosiers scored 40 of their 71 points in the paint on Saturday.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: JAN 06 Ohio State at Indiana Photo by Brian Spurlock/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Malik Reneau had one of the best games of his freshman season last year against Ohio State, scoring 15 points with 8 rebounds and 3 assists in 23 minutes of the bench.

As a starter tonight, he proved critical.

Indiana’s 71-65 win over the Buckeyes wouldn’t have been possible without his 23 points. The Hoosiers soundly won the battle in the paint, 40-24, to get a much needed bounce back victory and move to 3-1 in conference play.

It wasn’t just the frontcourt though, Indiana’s guards and wings did enough to push that margin with some key plays from C.J. Gunn, Mackenzie Mgbako and Xavier Johnson chief among them.

Mgbako found himself without a Buckeye in sight after a turnover to get an easy dunk under the rim and C.J. Gunn beat Felix Okpara down the court in transition for one of his own.

Johnson did enough off the drive to draw contact, getting to the line for 11 free throws, 8 of which went in with the last few sealing the game.

As for Reneau, he scored 6 of his 23 points with four minutes remaining in the game to help push Indiana out of reach. He was battling for position on the block and coming loose for easy buckets from Trey Galloway.

Not everything was pretty though.

Ohio State rather handily won the battle on the glass, 49-27, hauling in as many defensive rebounds as Indiana did total boards. That opened up multiple opportunities on the arc, but just 7 of the Buckeyes’ 27 attempts from deep went down.

In a Big Ten where post play is still king, Indiana is going to need performances like it had Saturday night to feel good about its record in league play.