Ohio State will finish up a stretch of four road contests in their last five games tonight when they take on Purdue at Mackey Arena. The Buckeyes will be trying to bounce back from Saturday's 100-65 loss to Maryland, in which the Terrapins led by 18 points at halftime and by as many as 42 points in the second half. Ohio State came out of the halftime break ice cold, missing 12 of their first 13 shots, while Maryland hit 11 of their first 15 shots in the second half to open up the massive lead.
The 63% Maryland shot from the field was the highest percentage by an Ohio State opponent during Thad Matta's tenure with the Buckeyes. Only two other opponents have shot better than 60% or better during Matta's time at Ohio State. UConn shot 60.4% from the field in the Huskies' 75-55 victory earlier this year, and Illinois shot 60% from the floor in a 79-74 win over the Buckeyes in 2012. The 100 points Maryland scored on Saturday marked the first time an opponent has scored at least 100 points against Ohio State since Purdue scored 107 against the Buckeyes back in 1998. Saturday's loss was just the third time in 19 games this year in which Ohio State failed to have a better field goal percentage than their opponent this year.
One of the few bright spots in the game for the Buckeyes was Keita Bates-Diop, who scored a team-high 15 points in the loss. Trevor Thompson also had a strong game for Ohio State, scoring 10 points, grabbing seven rebounds, and blocking three shots. Thompson has now scored at least 10 points and secured at least seven rebounds in three of his last four games. Ohio State also had nine steals against Maryland, which marked the fifth time this year in which the Buckeyes have recorded at least nine steals in a game.
Now Ohio State will take on a Purdue team that is off to their best start since 2010-11, where they also started off the season with a 16-3 record. The Boilermakers hold a slight 84-83 edge all-time against the Buckeyes, but Ohio State has had Purdue's number lately, winning seven of the last eight meeting. The lone loss during that stretch came last season in West Lafayette, where the Boilermakers earned a 60-58 victory against the Buckeyes. Purdue has enjoyed a great deal of success against Ohio State at home, holding a 55-26 edge all-time over the Buckeyes in West Lafayette.
While Ohio State was on the receiving end of a blowout loss in their most recent game, Purdue dishing out a blowout of their own on Monday night against Rutgers. The Boilermakers had little problem in dispatching the Scarlet Knights in Piscataway, marking the biggest road victory in school history. The win by Purdue was also the biggest Big Ten victory for the Boilermakers in school history. The 63 rebounds Purdue pulled down was the most the Boilermakers have recorded under Matt Painter, and the +40 rebounding margin by Purdue was not only the best in school history, but it was also the highest by a team in a game between Division I schools this season.
Ohio State might have some problems in this contest dealing with the size Purdue has on the interior. The top-three scorers on the Boilermakers all measure at least 6-9, with seven-foot senior A.J. Hammons leading the way with 13.4 points per game. 7-2 center Issac Haas has been coming off the bench the last few games for Purdue, but is still averaging 10.9 points per game. The most dynamic player on Purdue's front line might just be 6-9 freshman Caleb Swanigan, who is averaging 10.4 points per game and 8.9 rebounds per game. Purdue has a very balanced offense, with five players averaging at least nine points per game so far this year.
Numbers to know
Ohio State is currently tied for ninth in Division I with 111 blocks this season. The Buckeyes rank second in the Big Ten with 5.8 blocks per game. Daniel Giddens is Ohio State's leading shot blocker this year with 36 blocks, which is fifth among freshmen in Division I. With one more blocked shot Giddens will tie B.J. Mullens for sixth in school history for blocked shots by a freshman.
Ohio State may already have seven losses so far this season, but the teams they have lost to have posted a 96-27 record so far this year. In their respective conferences those seven teams are 26-11. Indiana and Maryland, the two teams to beat Ohio State this year in Big Ten play are a combined 33-5 overall and 12-1 in Big Ten play.
So far this year Purdue has scored 414 more bench points than their opponents this year, which translates into 21.8 points per game. Overall the Boilermakers are averaging 36.1 points per game this season from their bench. Of the 462 points Purdue has scored in Big Ten play, 217 of those have come from the bench.
Cast of characters
Following his triple-double last week against Rutgers, Lyle was named co-Big Ten Freshman of the Week on Monday. Lyle is currently second among Division I freshmen with 99 assists this season. With just five more assists Lyle will tie Troy Taylor for sixth in Ohio State history for assists by a freshman. Lyle has cut down on turnovers in Big Ten play, committing two or less turnovers in five of six conference games. During non-conference play Lyle committed two or less turnovers in just four of 13 games.
With his 12 points on Saturday against Maryland, Tate now has 510 points in his Ohio State career. This marked the 11th time in 19 games this year that Tate has hit double figures in scoring. Tate also had three steals against the Terrapins, which marked the third time this season in which the sophomore from Pickerington has recorded at least three steals in a game. Tate not only leads Ohio State with 26 steals this season, but also leads the team in rebounds with 118 boards.
After coming off the bench in his first 13 games of the season, Hammons has started at center for Purdue in the last four games. Prior to last game, where Hammons scored six points in just 14 minutes of action, Hammons had reached double figures in scoring in his previous eight games. Hammons is currently averaging 2.5 blocks per game and has rejected at least one shot in 12 straight games. The 302 career blocks by Hammons are the most for an active player nationally. In six career games against Ohio State, Hammons has blocked 23 shots.
The highly-touted freshman has lived up to the hype so far, registering six double-doubles, which is tied for second by a freshman in school history. Swanigan had 12 points and 13 rebounds in 21 minutes in the lopsided win over Rutgers on Monday night. Swanigan has recorded at least five rebounds in each of the 19 games he has played for the Boilermakers. Swanigan is just one of five freshman nationally to average at least 10 points per game, eight rebounds per game, and two assists per game.
How to watch
Game time: 9:00 p.m. ET
Radio: WBNS-FM 97.1