Ohio State traveled to Purdue Thursday night on the heels of consecutive blowout losses on the road and three straight sluggish starts.
A day earlier head coach Thad Matta and players called for a better, more energetic start to the game against the No. 22 Boilermakers. They got it, but the Buckeyes couldn’t hold on, falling to Purdue 75-64
Fueled by better early effort and the hot shooting of Kam Williams, Ohio State (12-8, 4-5 Big Ten) led for much of the first half and built its advantage to as many as eight in the first 20 minutes. The Buckeyes couldn’t sustain the lead, however, and fell to the bigger Boilermakers (17-3, 5-2) in front of 14,846 at Mackey Arena.
The loss came on the heels of a 100-65 loss to Maryland Saturday, the worst of the Thad Matta era, and dropped the Buckeyes to 3-2 over a stretch in which four of five games came on the road.
Purdue took the lead with a three from Ryan Cline that gave the home team a 53-52 lead with 9:04 remaining, the Boilermakers first advantage since they held a 29-28 advantage with 3:07 left in the first half. That shot kicked off a 10-2 run from Purdue that was punctuated by another three, this one from P.J. Thompson after a scramble for a loose ball, pushed the advantage to 60-54, its largest of the night to that point with 6:06 left.
Following a Matta timeout, Marc Loving went right to the rim on the next possession to stop the bleeding and pull the Buckeyes with four. After a jumper from Vince Edwards, Loving connected on two free throws before finding Daniel Giddens inside to draw Ohio State within 62-60.
The Buckeyes would get a point closer on a free throw from Trevor Thompson, but Purdue’s A.J. Hammons scored down low before a turnover from JaQuan Lyle – his fourth of the night – led to an Ohio State foul and free throws for Purdue. That pushed the lead to 66-61 with 2:15 left and Ohio State would not be within one possession with the ball for the rest of the game.
Purdue built its first double-digit lead at the free throw line with less than 30 seconds remaining and closed the game on a 25-12 run.
The loss came despite the best efforts of Jae’Sean Tate as the sophomore recorded the third double-double of his career. The forward led the team with 17 points and 10 rebounds before fouling out with 20 seconds remaining.
Tate got the Buckeyes going, scoring the team’s first five points, while a better defensive effort led to five blocked shots and a steal in the opening 20 minutes. The story of the first half, however, was Williams as the shooting guard came off the bench to hit four threes and scored 14 points before halftime.
A.J. Harris poured in seven points off the bench in the first half as 23 bench points pushed Ohio State to a 36-33 halftime advantage.
Williams did not score after halftime, finishing with 14, while Harris finished with a career-high 11 as the third and final Buckeye in double figures.
Hammons led the Boilermakers with 16 while Vince Edwards and Thompson each had 12 while Isaac Haas had 10. Caleb Swanigan made it five Purdue players in double figures with 10, adding 10 rebounds for a double-double for the freshman.