CHICAGO – At just under 33 minutes into the match, Ohio State seemed to be strolling through its first game in the Big Ten tournament.
This 7:10 final makes the Buckeyes win against Indiana all but a walk in the park.
In a match that showed the highs and lows that the Ohio State has endured throughout the season in 40 minutes, the Buckeyes have managed to win with a 79-75 win while They had been better ranked 32-16 by the Hoosiers. 7:10.
It's a win that will give Ohio State enough chances to sneak into the NCAA tournament, and it's mostly thanks to two seniors who were not ready to play their last game.
Senior guard CJ Jackson and senior redshirt guard Keyshawn Woods combined 11 of the team's last 16 points to keep the state of Ohio afloat at a barrage from the Indiana offensive and have finished with 35 of the team's 79 points.
In a match that head coach Chris Holtmann called the best of the senior red guard, Woods said he had something more to play.
"It's definitely one of my best games as Buckeye," said Woods, "and I absolutely wanted to play tomorrow."
The pair of seniors found the help of second-year striker Kaleb Wesson, whose impact after a three-game suspension was immediately felt at both ends, with 17 points and 13 rebounds in a career high.
But in the end, Holtmann went to the players who knew he wanted to win the most. In particular, he relies on his fifth-year guard, aged 23.
"[Woods] was great. I thought it was great in every respect, "Holtmann said. "I thought he looked like, in the last 10 minutes of the Wisconsin game, to a guy who was not ready to see his career again soon. And that's what you hope for the elderly.
Ohio State had the defensive strategy it needed to make this match an explosion: to force Indiana, the worst 3-point shooting team in the Big Ten, 27 shots deep, matching the high of the season.
It was playing as a team worthy of doing the NCAA Tournament.
But then, until 20 years old, everything has almost collapsed in the blink of an eye.
The Buckeyes continued to force deep firing, with the exception of the Hoosiers who were beginning to build them. Indiana scored his last six points to 3 points in the final right and 13 of his last 17 shots in total.
While the Ohio State kept its life on the defensive in the midst of 13-0 and 7-0 each in the bottom right, it was Jackson who scored a 3 to end the first run and Woods who scored a layup to finish the second.
The big shots did not stop there. With one-digit Indiana, Jackson got a pass to Woods with two seconds to stopwatch. Woods hit the jumper with the shooting timer firing to bring Ohio State's lead back to 10.
Woods finished the night with 18 points, seven rebounds and four assists on 9 out of 13 shots, a record since November 15 against Creighton. Jackson finished with 17 points, including 15 in the second half, five rebounds and five assists.
The pair did not combine so many points in any game of the season.
For Jackson, if the Buckeyes, with a duel against the United States in Michigan, seeded, and beyond to improve their resume, return to the NCAA tournament, it will be his second time.
But for Woods, this could be his first legitimate opportunity, having lost in an NCAA tournament match against Kansas State during his stay at Wake Forest.
Still, the senior guard of the Redshirt is far from satisfied, knowing what it means if the state of Ohio can get angry with the Spartans.
"I hope we are in," said Woods. "But if we win tomorrow, I feel we're definitely in the game, we just have to keep going."
The two elders may not have had the seasons they wanted. Jackson's points per game and percentage of shots have dropped from the previous season, and Woods has averaged the lowest points per game in his college career.
But for both players, they knew it could have been their last game with a loss to Indiana.
For both players, it was this extra motivation that could hit their ticket during Sunday's selection.