Buckeyes Turn Showdown Into Laugher

In front of a national television audience, No. 1 Ohio State presented another convincing argument for its position at the top of the polls. The Buckeyes never trailed and dominated No. 2 Purdue from start to finish as they improved to 21-0 on the season. Updated at 12:01 a.m. with quotes and final stats.

As Ohio State handled 20 wins in 20 games, head coach Thad Matta continually lamented the fact that his team had not yet strung together a full, 40-minute effort.

In front of a national television audience, the No. 1 team in the nation did just that. Six Buckeyes scored in double figures as they throttled No. 12 Purdueby an 87-64 final that was not even that close.

OSU (21-0, 8-0 Big Ten) shot 55.2 percent from the field, limited the Boilermakers (17-4, 6-2) to a 38.1 percent effort and saw its lead climb as high as 31 points while running away to the win on its home court. Afterward, Matta and his players praised it as the most wire-to-wire dominating performance of the season.

"I think this is the best game we've played, period," freshman forward Jared Sullinger said. "We played good defense and on top of that we executed on offense. We've never had a game like this."

Purdue head coach Matt Painter was forced to agree. Joking that he might burn the tape rather than watch it, he lamented the fact that his team did not come out with the necessary energy to knock off the nation's top team on its home court.

"I think you can take something from it but there's no doubt at times you burn a tape like this," he said, "but you've also got to let them see it too. If they don't see it, it might happen again."

In a game that was supposed to be a showcase of the conference's top two post players – OSU's Jared Sullinger and Purdue's JaJuan Johnson – the story instead became the balance possessed by the Buckeyes.

Junior guard William Buford led the way with 19 points while Sullinger added 17 and seven rebounds. Junior guard Jon Diebler and freshman Deshaun Thomas each had 13 and senior forward David Lighty added 10.

It proved to be far too much for the Boilermakers to handle.

"I liked our mental approach we had coming into the game," Matta said. "So much started with our defense and I thought that was able to generate some pretty good offense for us. There was a good balance of inside and outside. Guys were making shots."

The Buckeyes (21-0, 8-0 Big Ten) wasted no time seizing control against the Boilermakers (17-4, 6-2). With the home team ahead 8-5 at the 16:14 mark, the Buckeyes got a contested three-pointer from Diebler to double his team's lead.

It marked the start of an 11-0 run during which all four baskets were scored by a different Buckeye. Purdue's Matt Painter tried to stem the tide by calling a timeout following a three-pointer from Aaron Craftwith 13:12 remaining, but Thomas hit a trey at the other end on the ensuing possession to complete the run.

That made it 19-5 in favor of the Buckeyes, who hit on half of their first 14 shots from the field. Conversely, Purdue opened 2 for 8 (25.0 percent) and had three turnovers.

With the lead at 13 points with 10:21 remaining, OSU put together another run that started with a drive to the basket by Craft. His bucket made it 24-9 in favor of the Buckeyes and marked the beginning of a 13-4 run that covered 4:29 and featured three impressive layups by Craft.

The final one came with 6:19 left and saw him matched up with Johnson on the right wing. The 6-2, 195-pound guard seized upon the mismatch and drove right past him, making it 33-13 and forcing the Boilermakers to call another timeout.

Again, OSU scored the next basket. This one came on a drive from the perimeter from Lighty after he came up with a steal that made it 35-13 with 5:52 remaining.

Although Sullinger and Johnson received the top billing entering the game, the two did not start off guarding each other. Sullinger was matched up with Travis Carroll at both ends while Johnson drew OSU's Dallas Lauderdale.

Once the Buckeyes began substituting, however, the nine-time Big Ten freshman of the week and the leading scorer in the conference found themselves going head to head.

"He's a great player," Sullinger said of Johnson. "He hit a lot of tough shots today. We knew going in he was going to hit a lot of those shots. We tried our hardest to contain him. I think I did pretty good, but at the same time he's a great player."

Each started 1 for 3 from the floor, but Johnson warmed up as he got his outside game going. The senior connected on four of his final five shots from the field before the break to help keep the Boilermakers from being completely blown out of the water in the first half.

The lead hit 30 points at 78-48 with 8:32 remaining when Diebler connected on a three-pointer, and from there some of the fans started heading for the exits.

With the win, OSU increases its lead atop the conference to two games. Purdue falls into a tie with Wisconsin with two losses but hold a half-game lead with one more victory.

Johnson led his team with 22 points while E'Twaun Moore added 16 on 4-for-13 shooting.

Buckeye Sports Top Stories