Third Time is the Charm, Buckeyes Down Purdue in OT, Advance to Big Ten Semifinals

Ohio State built a huge halftime lead, had Purdue claw back and force overtime before finally putting the Boilermakers away 87-78 to advance to the semi finals of the Big Ten tournament. Duane Washington Jr. led Ohio State with 20, including a big triple in overtime that all but sealed the game for the Buckeyes. Kyle Young scored all 18 of his career tying points in the first half before having to leave early in the second with an apparent head injury. E.J. Liddell added 17 and Seth Towns and CJ Walker came off the bench to add 11 and 10 points respectively. Walker also added 7 assists and 5 rebounds and Liddell chipped in 5 rebounds and 5 assists and Justice Sueing, who fouled out late in overtime, finished with just 6 points but pulled down 10 boards in the win.

A short jump hook by Kyle Young opened the scoring and after a bucket each way, an Ohio State miss led to a wide-open transition three for the Boilers and Purdue led by a point. Back to back Young triples from the identical spot on the right point sandwiched a Purdue 3 to put the Buckeyes ahead 10-8 at the first media timeout. A Purdue bucket tied the game, but another Young triple, this time from the right point put the Buckeyes up three. The lead increased to five when E.J. Liddell went up strong, pulled down an offensive rebound, and scored and at the under 12 media timeout, Ohio State was on top 15-10. A Purdue bucket cut the lead to 3, but Seth Towns buried a three from straight on top put the Buckeyes up 6. Purdue answered with a three of their own, and after a pair of Zed Key free throws, Ohio State led by 5. The Buckeyes went up 7 when C.J. Walker hit a 12 footer from the right wing and after  Young caught a bounce pass from Liddell and went up for two, Purdue called timeout with Ohio State suddenly on top by 9. A Purdue triple out of the timeout trimmed the lead to 6 but Ohio State went up 10 after a transition dunk by Duane Washington Jr. and a Walker lob to Young. A Purdue bucket just before the media timeout cut the lead back to 8. The lead went back to ten when Washington used a hesitation move and scored off the glass and on the next possession, Liddell hit a fade away mid paint as he was fouled. He knocked down the free throw to go up 13. Purdue cut the lead to 11, but back to back long jumpers from Walker bumped the lead to 15 and Ohio State led 37-22 at the final media timeout of the half and Ohio State on a 9-2 run. A 5-0 Purdue run cut the lead to 10, but it went back to 13 when Washington hit a highly contested three from straight on top. Purdue cut the lead to 11 and Ohio State called timeout with 2:15 left in the half and a 40-29 Buckeye advantage. Back to back triples from the left wing by Washington ballooned the Buckeye lead to 17.  After a pair of Purdue free throws near the end of the half, Young drilled another triple from the left corner just before the halftime horn and Ohio State took a 49-31 lead into the break. Kyle Young led the Buckeyes with 18 first half points and Duane Washington added 13. The Buckeyes forced Purdue into just 39% shooting, including 5 of 12 from three. Ohio State hit 56% of their shot attempts, including 8 of 17 from long range.

A 6-0 Purdue run to start the second half cut the Buckeye lead to 12 before a Washington floater right of the lane fell. The lead went to 14 when Young found Liddell along the baseline for a dunk, but back-to-back Purdue triples cut the lead to 10 and Chris Holtmann called timeout with 15:38 left on the game clock. Out of the timeout, Liddell drilled a three from the right point to stem the tide for the moment, but another Boiler three cut the lead right back to 10. Three Towns free throws fell after he was fouled attempting a three, put the Buckeyes up 13 and after a Purdue bucket, two Liddell free throws had the Buckeyes enjoying a 13 point lead at the under 12 timeout.  Purdue went on a quick 6-0 run to cut the lead all the way to 7 before Liddell knocked down 3 of 4 free throws on a pair of trips to the stripe to put Ohio State back up 10. A Purdue bucket trimmed the lead to 8 and at the under 8 minute media timeout, Ohio State led Purdue 64-56 despite the Buckeyes having gone nearly 8 minutes without a field goal. Purdue scored on the first possession out of the timeout to cut the lead to six, before the field goal drought was broken when Musa Jallow drilled a 17 footer from the left wing. After a Boilermaker free throw cut the lead to 7, Sueing found the bottom from the middle of the paint and Ohio State was back up 9. Purdue cut the lead back to 6 with 3 free throws in a pair of trips and at the final media timeout, Ohio State was clinging to a 70-64 lead. Four straight Purdue points trimmed the lead to two and Chris Holtmann called timeout with 1:37 to go and Ohio State leading 70-68 but Purdue was on a 7-0 run. The run went to 9-0 and Purdue tied the score with less than a minute to play and Chris Holtmann called timeout with 39.5 seconds to go in the game.  A pair of Sueing free throws dropped and Ohio State regained a two-point lead and Purdue called timeout with the ball and 20 seconds remaining. Purdue tied it again with 9 seconds to go as Trevion Williams continued his domination of the second half, scoring 18 of his 22 in the second twenty minutes. Ohio State went for the win on their last possession and was unable to get a shot off as Walker dribbled into three defenders and had the ball batted away sending the game to overtime. The Buckeyes scored the first three in OT when Key split a pair of free throws and Walker scored on a lay in off transition. Williams went back to work, cutting the lead to one, but Towns buried a three from the left wing to put the Buckeyes up 4. On the next Purdue possession, Liddell was called for his fifth and final foul, disqualifying him from the game. A pair of Williams free throws trimmed the lead to 2, but Ohio State answered as Towns banked in a 15 foot jumper from the left wing. After a Purdue miss, Washington buried a triple from the top, putting the Buckeyes up 7 forcing Purdue to call timeout with 1:07 left in overtime. The Boilers split a pair of free throws to cut the lead to 6 but a pair of Washington free throws bumped the lead back to 8. The Boilers went back to the stripe on the next possession and made the first, but the second missed and kicked out to Walker who raced to the other end and scored to cement the 9 point win for the Buckeyes.

The Buckeyes survived and deserve a lot of credit in doing so.  Having to play without Kyle Young for much of the second half was certainly exploited by Trevion Williams and the Boilermakers in the massive comeback, but some big time plays in overtime showed tremendous resiliency when Purdue had all the momentum. The Buckeyes depth was evident once again and they needed their bench and it certainly stepped up in a big way, specifically Seth Towns, who showed what he can be once he’s fully healthy. The status of Kyle Young will be something all will be following as they will need him to advance to Sunday.  For now, they will enjoy this one and get ready for a big one tomorrow.

Ohio State will play in the Big Ten Semi Finals back at Lucas Oil Stadium, taking on 4th ranked Michigan at 1pm and airing on CBS.

– Jason Harris  

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