The Boilermakers (15-8, 7-3) used their imposing size to overpower the Buckeyes (17-6, 6-4) and earn a 60-58 win at Mackey Arena in West Lafayette, Indiana.
The loss, which snapped a three-game Ohio State winning streak and gave Purdue their fourth straight victory, came without sophomore Marc Loving. The forward did not make the trip to Purdue and has “temporarily lost his privilege to wear scarlet and gray,” according to a university spokesman.
While the Buckeyes were without their second leading scorer and the Big Ten’s top three-point shooter, the bigger problem for Ohio State came in the post. The Buckeyes have been searching for more production from their three post players all season and Anthony Lee, Amir Williams and Trey McDonald simply couldn’t match Purdue’s pair of seven-foot centers.
A.J. Hammons finished with 7 points, 7 blocks and 7 rebounds for Purdue, part of a nine-block effort by the Boilermakers that kept Ohio State tentative at the rim. Still, things came down to the final seconds.
A transition layup from Jae’Sean Tate gave Ohio State its first lead of the second half, a 41-40 advantage with 9:26 left, but Purdue responded with an 11-3 run. That spurt featured four made free throws by Purdue as well as a three from Dakota Mathias, a layup from Rapheal Davis and a dunk from Jon Octeus.
That gave the Boilermakers a 51-44 lead and prompted a timeout from Thad Matta. Williams finally snapped a 5:36 Ohio State scoring drought with 3:12 left, keeping the Buckeyes within six at 52-46.
A layup and a free throw by Davis gave Purdue a nine-point edge, but a three by Sam Thompson kept Ohio State within striking distance, trailing 55-49 with 2:04 left. Thompson scored again on the next possession after a Davis turnover to cut the deficit to four.
A layup by Davis was answered with free throws from Williams before the Buckeyes were forced to foul with just 38 seconds left. Davis made one of two and a Russell three cut the Boilermakers lead to 58-56 with 33 seconds left.
Again, the Buckeyes fouled and the Boilermakers made just 1-of-2. Ohio State got the ball trailing by three with the shot clock off, but a Russell three rimmed out. Kam Williams tracked down a long offensive rebound and Matta called a timeout for a final try.
Purdue did all they could to deny Russell the ball on the inbounds, but the freshman finally created space to receive the ball. He was fouled immediately by Davis, the fifth on the junior who was forced to exit with 20 points.
Russell sank both free throws to cut it to a one-point game and Kendall Stephens went 1-of-2 at the line at the other end, giving the Buckeyes a last chance with five seconds remaining, trailing 60-58. A desperation three fell short from Russell to end the game.
While Davis led the Boilermakers in scoring, it was Hammons that controlled the game.
The junior got going early, scoring four of his team’s first eight points. Still, it was back-and forth early. The Buckeyes got their first lead with a Williams layup at the 13:15 mark, but it was short lived as a three from Kendell Stephens put Purdue back on top. Ohio State would lead again at 16-15 and took a 20-17 edge on a D’Angelo Russell layup with 5:10 until the half.
Purdue went on an 8-2 run from there to take a 25-22 lead and the teams would trade baskets to go to the half with the Boilermakers leading 27-26.
Russell finished with 20 points, seven rebounds and five assists while Williams was the most productive Buckeye post player, scoring 10 points, but he grabbed just two rebounds. The senior was the only Buckeye to join Russell in double figures.
Ohio State will look to get back in the win column Sunday at 5:30 p.m. at Rutgers.