Thad Matta said his team was in need of a little emotion. His prize big man delivered on the doctor's orders.
With 2:42 remaining, Greg Oden went soaring through the lane to deliver a massive dunk off of a missed Buckeye shot. The dunk gave Ohio State (29-3) a 58-47 lead and energized them to a 63-52 victory.
"That was an amazing play," said teammate and freshman point guard Mike Conley. "It was a great moment to be apart of, watching him go crazy and waving his arms in the air."
With just under 12 minutes remaining, Ohio State trailed Purdue (21-11) 43-40. However, thanks in part to Oden's jaw-dropping plays and dominance on the glass, the Buckeyes closed out on a 23-10 run securing a spot in the Big Ten Tournament Championship Sunday.
Oden gave his coach 17 points, 19 rebounds and four blocks on a day the Buckeyes did a complete role reversal from their quarterfinal win against Michigan. Outrebounded 47-25 just one day prior, Ohio State returned the favor against Purdue by beating the Boilermakers 49-33 on the boards.
The effort of the 7-1 center inspired both teammates and coaches.
"I turn into a cheerleader," Matta said watching Oden put down the monstrous slam. "He does some things every now and then in practice where guys will just kind of stop practice and start laughing."
As Oden took control, Ohio State pulled away from a pesky Purdue club looking for an NCAA Tournament bid.
"Sometimes you're out there and you just catch yourself in awe at some of the moves and some of the plays that he makes ," said Purdue guard David Teague, who added 12 points.
While Ohio State is playing the winner of Illinois and Wisconsin on Sunday, Purdue has to await word from the NCAA selection committee as to their fate.
The Boilermakers, who fell to the Buckeyes for the third time this season, did some convincing of Matta.
"There's no doubt in my mind they're an NCAA Tournament team," he added. "I don't want to see them again. I know that."
Lost in the talk of Oden's herculean effort was a stellar performance by Purdue senior Carl Landry.
The 6-7 forward scored 24 points for Purdue. Landry was 9-of-16 and was assigned the task of scorer, play-maker and also the guy that had to guard Oden.
"I thought our guys played very hard today," said Purdue head coach Matt Painter.
But the rebounding differential did them in.
"When it comes down to it, you just can't give those guys (Ohio State) that many chances," Painter said.
Ron Lewis added 13 points for the Buckeyes. He also was without a turnover for the second consecutive game. Conley had 11 points, six rebounds and four assists while Ivan Harris added 10 points in a balanced Ohio State effort.
Chris Kramer was the only other Purdue player with more than 3 points. He finished with 8 in the losing effort.
The Buckeyes will play for a possible second Big Ten Tournament Championship Sunday. The game is scheduled for 3:30 pm eastern.