Ohio State Falls to Purdue, Ending Big Ten Tournament Run

The run is over. Exceeding almost everyone’s expectations this week in Chicago, Ohio State became the lowest seed in tournament history to make it to the semifinals, but that’s where the run would end. The regular season conference champion Boilermakers advanced to the championship tomorrow afternoon after downing Ohio State 80-66. The Buckeyes built a lead as large as 8 in the first half, but a 17-3 run to close the half created the separation Purdue needed to get the win and move on. Thanks to some one sided officiating and the size mismatch of Zach Edey against the smaller Buckeyes, Purdue muscled their way to respond to every charge the pesky Buckeyes had, closing to as close as 6 points with the ball in the waning minutes before running out of gas and falling short. Zach Edey led all scorers with a double double that included 32 points and 14 rebounds. Ohio State was led by Roddy Gayle’s 20, while Justice Sueing added 15 in quite possibly his last collegiate game. In addition to Edey’s big game, Purdue got 15 from Brandon Newman and 14 from Braden Smith in the win. While the Boilermakers move on, the Buckeyes will head home hoping to get a call from the NIT to continue their post season. If not, their season will end with a disappointing 16-19 record, yet a lot to be encouraged about heading into next season. 

The Boilermakers got off to a fast start, hitting their first 4 shots to jump out in front 10-4 with two Felix Okpara buckets the lone Buckeye scores. Roddy Gayle split a pair of free throws and after Purdue finally missed, Justice Sueing buried a three and after Sean McNeil picked up his 2nd personal foul, the game reached the first media timeout with Purdue on top 10-8. On the inbounds pass out of the timeout, Purdue converted a dunk, but on the other end, Ice Likekele lobbed to Okpara for a dunk. Purdue drilled a three from the top to go up 5, but it was answered on the other end with a Gayle three from the right wing. After another Boiler dunk, Gayle found the bottom again from the right corner for another three. Another Boiler bucket at the rim was answered again from the right wing by Gayle, who drilled his third three of the game to tie the score. An offensive foul by Purdue turned it back over to the Buckeyes as Gayle took the charge on the defensive end and on the offensive end, Ice Likekele got into the lane and scored while being fouled to put the Buckeyes in front. Likekele missed the free throw to fail to complete the three point play, but another offensive foul, this time taken by Likekele took the game to the under 12 media timeout and with 11:34 left in the first half, Ohio State led 21-19. Out of the timeout, incredible ball movement led to Eugene Brown putting the ball on the deck from the top all the way to the rim for a dunk. After a defensive stop, another Gayle triple from the right wing dropped and the Buckeyes were up 7. A pair of Boiler free throws stopped the Buckeye run, but a Sueing triple bumped the Buckeye lead to 8. A Boiler dunk cut the lead back to 6 and with 7:36 left in the half, Ohio State led Purdue 29-23. Purdue cut the lead to 4 with a Zach Edey bucket at the rim, his 7th and 8th point, but Likekele dropped in a runner in the lane to answer. Another Edey bucket, after camping in the lane for an eternity cut back into the lead and the Buckeyes went three straight possessions without a shot and another Boiler bucket cut the lead to just 2 at the final media timeout with Ohio State clinging to a 31-29 lead. Just before the timeout, an inexplicable foul call on Brown against Edey for a questionable hook and hold and both free throws dropped to tie the game. Purdue regained control of the ball after the foul shot and Edey got away with an elbow and scored to put the Boilers back in front, resulting in a 6 point possession, turning the game. Gayle drilled another three to regain the lead for Ohio State for a moment and after a Boilermaker miss, an absolutely terrible offensive foul call on Likekele in the backcourt turned the ball back to Purdue. Another Edey jump hook gave the lead back to Purdue and a Boiler triple forced Chris Holtmann to take a timeout with 1:55 left in the first half with Purdue leading 38-34 and the Boilermakers on a 13-3 run. A horrible 5 second call out of the timeout turned it back over to Purdue, but fortunately for Ohio State, they came up with a defensive stop. After a missed Buckeye jumper, Purdue took a timeout with 43 seconds left in the half, leading by 4. Purdue split a pair of freebies and after an ill-advised Likekele shot, way too early in the possession, Purdue buried a three to go up 8 and the half ended with Purdue leading 42-34. A very one sided officiated half swung in the last several minutes, as Purdue finished the half on a 17-3 run to take the lead at the break. Ohio State shot 50% from the field, including 7 of 11 from three, while Purdue hit 59% and 5 of 6 from long. A 20-12 paint advantage by Purdue, which was all Edey, who got away with camping in the lane and rogue elbows en route to a 17 point first half to lead all scorers. Roddy Gayle led Ohio State with 16, which included 5 of 6 from three. 

Thornton had his three attempt rattle in and out to open the half and an Edey bodied his way into the lane and scored with a hook to put Purdue up 10. McNeil rattled in a short jumper to answer, but a Boiler bucket put Purdue back up 10. McNeil hit a heavily defended pull up along the right baseline, but a Purdue triple killed any momentum Ohio State was trying to gain and with 15:38 remaining, Purdue was ahead 49-38. A Purdue bucket was answered by a Gayle short jumper, but Purdue started to open it up, scoring the next 4 to go up 15 as the Buckeyes were running on fumes, playing their 4th game in 4 days. Thornton drilled a three from the left corner to trim the lead to 12 and with a chance to get closer, Tanner Holden missed a 15 foot jumper and Edey scored at the rim, getting away with an elbow on Brown. Edey once again was the beneficiary of a questionable foul call, feeling like a broken record, sending the teams to the benches for the under 12, and with 10:19 to play, Purdue was in the driver’s seat, leading 57-43. After a defensive stop, Sueing buried a three from the left wing. Sueing knocked down a pair of free throws to cut the deficit to 9 with 8 minutes to play and after yet another inexplicable foul call on Ohio State, the under 8 media timeout was called with Purdue leading 57-48 and being challenged a bit by the scrappy Buckeyes. Thornton got the rim off the bounce and scored off the window to creep Ohio State a bit closer, but an Edey jump hook answered. With a chance to get closer, Thornton missed the front end of a one and one and yet another ridiculous foul call on Ohio State put Edey at the stripe. He buried both and Purdue was back ahead by 11. Thornton made 2 of 3 free throws and an offensive rebound gave Ohio State a shot and Thornton scored off the window to complete a 4 point possession. A foul on the other end on Edey, finally, sent Okpara to the stripe and Felix split the pair, cutting the deficit to 6. Purdue got away with some more pushing and shoving and somehow Thornton was called for a foul battling for position on Edey. Edey made both to put Purdue up 8 and after an empty offensive possession, Purdue went up 10 and Ohio State took a timeout with 4:05 to play, trailing Purdue 65-55. After a foul and a quick media timeout, two Sueing free throws cut the lead to 8, but two free throws on the other end answered. After a missed three by Sueing, Purdue buried a three to all but seal it as every shot Ohio State took fell short as the legs were failing them. An Edey old-fashioned three point play preceded a Brown triple and the Buckeyes took a timeout with 2:01 to play, but trailing 73-60. Two Sueing free throws trimmed the lead to 11 but it was too little too late. Another Purdue bucket was followed by a Gayle runner and Ohio State fouled, down 11 with 52.5 to play.  Purdue split the pair and after a Buckeye miss, a foul put Purdue back on the line where both dropped. Brown hit two free throws on the other end, but a pair on the other end completed the scoring. 

What an end of the season run for the young Buckeyes. They ultimately ran out of gas and fell short, but the past few weeks gave everyone a glimpse of what is to come. The freshmen are now more than fully seasoned and as they say goodbye to some key seniors, they will welcome in a top 10 recruiting class, rated even higher than the current group, and it could expand one more as they await a decision from 5 star guard Bronny James. However, this group showed a lot of heart this week and really for the last several weeks, when they could have quit and given up on a lost season, they didn’t and it says alot about the character of the players and the belief in the coaching staff. Playing without Zed Key all week and really wasn’t even close to being healthy when he played during the losing streak, they also lost leading scorer Brice Sensabaugh for the last two ball games, yet continued to fight and claw and nearly pulled off a monumental upset. If this is it for the season, they can go into the offseason with their heads high. They didn’t accomplish what they set out to at the beginning of the year, but they finished strong and there is certainly a sense of optimism and next year should be a whole lot of fun. 

If the Buckeyes do not gain an NIT invite,  Ohio State will next be on the floor in early November for a home exhibition game to tip off the 2022-23 season. Time and Date TBD.

-Jason Harris

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