The Buckeyes kicked off the defense of their 2013 Big Ten Tournament Championship by playing Purdue this afternoon. The winner (5th seed Ohio State/12th seed Purdue) plays 4th seeded Nebraska to morrow afternoon. Well, OSU got past the first hurdle by beating a very tenacious Purdue team, 63-61.
Ohio State held a narrow half-time margin of 30-27, in which neither team shot well (37%), but they helped their cause with a 10-1 lead in offensive rebounds. In the 2nd half, Purdue came out fast and for much of the game the team traded baskets, with OSU holding a narrow, late lead. With the Buckeyes leading 63-61, a last second 3-point attempt by Terone Johnson just missed, giving Ohio State the win.
For the game, Ohio State shot 36% (23-64), a horrific 7% (1-14) from the perimeter and a horrendous 64% (16-25) from the free throw line. Purdue shot 41% (24-58) from the field, a pretty bad 20% (2-10) from the perimeter and 69% (11-16) from the free throw line. Ohio State out rebounded Purdue 43-39, with 20 of OSU’s boards being at the offensive end. It was tough for both teams to get shots off, as Ohio State blocked 10 shots, and Purdue blocked 7.
Oho State was led by LaQuinton Ross (19 pts, 13 rebs) [nice time for a double-double] and Aaron Craft (16 pts, 5 ast). Purdue was led by four players in double figures; A.J Hammons (15 pts, 9 rebs), Ronnie Johnson (12 pts), Terone Johnson (10 pts, 6 rebs) and Kendall Stephens (10 pts).
At the half, Ohio State led Purdue 30-27. Yes, you read that right. Purdue was 37% (10-27) from the field, 0-4 from the perimeter and 60% (3-5) from the foul line. Although they only had 4 turnovers, their 10 personal fouls matched their “field goals made” number. AJ Hammons (6 pts, 4 rebs) and Ronnie Johnson (6 pts) led the Boilermakers. Meanwhile, Ohio State shot 36% (10-28) from the field, 14% (1-7) fro the perimeter and an eye watering 54% (7-13) from the foul line. However, they did have 26 rebounds (10 offensive) but were slowed down by 8 turnovers. The Buckeyes were led by Aaron Craft (8 pts, 3 asts), LQR (6 pts, 8 rebs), ‘Zelle Smith (6 pts, 2 rebs) and Trey McDonald (4 pts, 6 rebs). I had to mention McDonald, since 4 of his 6 rebounds were on the offensive end.
After a slow start, 2 minutes into the game and Purdue had a 6-1 lead, OSU chipped away to take an 11-9 lead, thanks to an Aaron Craft layup, with 14:20 to play in the 1st half. Moving to the under-8 timeout, and Purdue held a 17-16 lead. Purdue was shooting a bit better (41%) than OSU (37%), but the Buckeyes were rebounding better (15-9) and had fewer fouls (3-7) at this point. At the 2:17 timeout, OSU had pushed the lead to 28-21. Neither team was shooting well (37%), but OSU had an astounding 10-1 margin in offensive rebounds.
In 2nd half play, Purdue worked to a 9-6 advantage in the under-16 mark to tie the game at 36. At the 13:20 mark, two LQR free throws gave Ohio State a 41-40 lead, which lasted for about 20 seconds. At the under-12 timeout, Purdue had the lead, 42-41. At the under-8, after some basket-trading, Purdue held a 2-point lead, 51-49. At the under-4, a Ross FG gave the Buckeyes a 57-54 lead. Granted, it’s still a one possession game, but better to be “up” the possession. A steal by AC gave OSU the ball with less than :50 remaining and OSU held a 59-58 lead
Ohio State now plays Nebraska at approximately 2:30 PM EST tomorrow afternoon. The game will be broadcast on ESPN2.