BLOOMINGTON, Indiana (Ticker) -- Tom Coverdale was everywhere on defense, much to the dismay of Brent Darby.
Coverdale held Ohio State's leading scorer in check early and freshman Marshall Strickland scored 15 points as the 16th-ranked Hoosiers avenged their lone Big Ten Conference defeat with a 69-51 victory.
Darby entered averaging 17.8 points per game for Ohio State (8-8, 1-4 Big Ten) and poured in 28 points in an 81-69 victory over Indiana on January 11. But he missed all eight shots in the first half and finished with 18 points on 5-of-19 shooting.
Coverdale shadowed Darby all night and the two got involved in an exchange while chasing a loose ball early in the second half. Coverdale gave Darby a hard shove after a jump ball was called but was not whistled for a technical.
"I think it is what happens every time we play against each other," Coverdale said. "It is just two competitors going at it and wanting to win."
"I thought he (Darby) kept his composure," Ohio State coach Jim O'Brien said. "I really like Coverdale. Darby is every bit as competitive and those kids have gone at each other for four years. Neither one of them wants to lose so you have to give both of them credit."
Ohio State reserve Nick Sherman was ejected for coming off the bench after the skirmish.
Indiana (14-3, 4-1) never trailed but saw the Buckeyes close within 50-44 on a free throw by Shun Jenkins with 4:31 left. Ohio State had a chance to get closer, but Sean Connolly missed a 3-pointer 50 seconds later.
Strickland and Coverdale each made a pair from the line before Darby answered with a jumper. Indiana's A.J. Moye responded with a 3-pointer from the top of the key to trigger an 8-0 spurt that put away the game.
"They made a couple shots that really hurt us," O'Brien said. "Moye's three at the top was a pretty big basket."
The Hoosiers played their third straight game without freshman leading scorer Bracey Wright, who is suffering from recurring back problems.
The physical contest featured 47 fouls as two Hoosiers were disqualified along with one Buckeye. Ohio State had three players finish with four fouls.
"Anytime you play a coach O'Brien team, it's going to be a fight," Indiana coach Mike Davis said. "If you're not going to fight, you're not going to win the basketball game."
Indiana took advantage of the whistles as Jeff Newton scored 12 points and George Leach added 11. They caused problems all night for Velimir Radinovic and Jenkins.
Newton was whistled for a technical with 14:21 remaining that allowed Darby and Zach Williams to drill a pair at the line, getting Ohio State within 37-31. The Hoosiers responded with an 11-5 tear to take a 48-36 lead on a basket by Sean Kline.
But the night was highlighted by the ongoing battle between Coverdale and Darby. Coverdale, who scored only three points, hit the floor several times and went over the scorer's table chasing a loose ball in the second half.
"Darby is a warrior and Coverdale is a warrior," Davis said. "When you put two warriors on the same floor together, they are going to go at each other. Hopefully, Darby and Coverdale can play against each other again in the Big Ten tournament."
With Wright out, Moye was counted on to provide a spark. He finished with 13 points and eight rebounds and helped harass the Buckeyes on the perimeter.
"This was like a backyard brawl," Moye said. "It is like you and your friends in the backyard, and you are just knuckling up out there playing for pride."
Ohio State shot just under 27 percent (15-of-56) and missed all nine 3-point attempts. But the Buckeyes stayed close by converting 21-of-26 at the line.
Indiana also shot well at the line, connecting 22-of-28. The teams combined for 41 free throws in the second half as the pace slowed to a crawl due to the numerous stoppages.
Williams finished with 12 points and nine rebounds and Radinovic fouled out with 10 points for Ohio State, which has lost three straight since its victory over Indiana.