Buckeyes Buried In West Lafayette

A win at Purdue could have cemented a trip to the NCAA Tournament for Ohio State, but instead the Buckeyes ran into a buzzsaw on the road against the Boilermakers. Evan Turner led the way with 14 points in the loss.

For the second game in a row, Ohio State's opponent wanted to make someone besides Evan Turner beat it.

This time, that approach was successful.

The No. 16 Purdue Boilermakers doubled OSU's all-everything player in Turner every time he touched the court and dared someone else on his team's roster to beat them. Turner still managed to put up 14 points despite being limited by foul troubles, but he alone was no match for a balanced Purdue team that showed no ill effects from having suffered a road loss to Michigan two nights prior.

Purdue (22-7, 11-5 Big Ten) handed OSU its fourth loss in five games, 75-50.

Although the Boilermakers dictated the tempo from the get-go and never trailed, the Buckeyes looked poised to take control in the first seconds of the second half. Trailing by six at the half, OSU got a tip-in from freshman center B.J. Mullens – who did not start the game but started the second half – on the opening possession to cut the deficit to four points.

At the other end of the court, point guard P.J. Hill came up with a steal and Mullens finished at the other end, making it a 32-30 Purdue lead 1:09 into the second half.

That is as close as the Buckeyes (18-9, 8-8) would get. Purdue would counter with a free throw by Robbie Hummel to push the lead to three points with 18:34 left, and that basket ignited what would become a 17-2 Purdue run that put the home team ahead 49-32 with 13:21 left. During the run, OSU was 0 for 4 from the floor, committed four turnovers and got its lone points on two free throws by Turner.

After that, the rest of the game was merely a formality.

Turner fouled out of the game with 2:41 remaining with a team-high 14 points. In an 80-72 overtime victory Feb. 3 against the Boilermakers in Columbus, Turner poured in 26 points.

When the Buckeyes defeated Penn State four days prior, the Nittany Lions tried to take Turner out of the game and make a cast of others beat them. The strategy did not work, as Hill and backcourt mate Jeremie Simmons responded with big games.

This time, each finished with seven points as no Buckeye aside from Turner broke double digits. Freshmen William Buford and Mullens were held to six points each, while sophomore guard Jon Diebler had six points on 2-of-12 shooting from the floor including a 2-for-10 performance from beyond the three-point arc.

As a team, OSU was 4 for 17 (23.5 percent) from beyond the arc.

The Buckeyes committed 15 turnovers against 10 assists. Turner was responsible for five of those miscues as he handled the point for much of the game.

Conversely, Purdue had five players in double digits and was led by Hummel's 17 points.

Turner headed into the half with a team-high 10 points, but his last two baskets before the buzzer gave the Buckeyes hopes for an upset. With Purdue holding a 32-20 lead 4:04 remaining, OSU would close the first half on a 6-0 run thanks to two baskets by Turner and one by Hill.

The junior point guard pulled up near the three-point arc and buried a transition jumper with 2:57 remaining, and the score would stay at 32-22 until the final moment of the half. After William Buford blocked a shot attempt by JaJuan Johnson with 52 seconds remaining, Turner drove through four defenders and found an opening, laying the ball off the glass with 39 seconds remaining to pull his team within eight points.

The Boilermakers brought the ball up and called timeout with 18.4 seconds to get off one final play for the half, but Hummel was whistled for an offensive foul that gave the ball back to the visitors with 7.8 seconds left. After receiving the inbounds pass from in front of the team's bench, Turner drove across halfcourt and nearly lost the ball while executing his patented spin move.

Regaining composure, he pulled up and buried a jumper at the buzzer with his foot on the line to send the Buckeyes into the half trailing by six, 32-26. It was the smallest deficit OSU had faced in the half since a basket by Turner made it 16-11 nearly eight minutes into the contest.

In the waning moments of the game with the final outcome already decided, the Purdue student section began chanting for seldom-used OSU walk-on Mark Titus, whose personal blog has been viewed more than 660,000 times since its early-November inception.

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