If Ohio State was supposed to be intimidated by Purdue and roll over and die in their Big Ten home opener, they didn’t get the memo. But their spirited effort wasn’t quite enough, as the Boilermakers prevailed in another winnable game for Ohio State.
The Buckeyes rallied back to pull within 2 points against Purdue with 29 seconds left, and then a Trevor Thompson finish after Marc Loving lost the ball created an and-one to give Ohio State a shot at a lead with 15 seconds left. But he missed the free throw (after going 5-5 from the stripe earlier in the game) and Caleb Swanigan drained a free throw to give the Boilermakers the final points they needed, winning 76-75.
The game began with a bang, and the two teams traded the lead over the first 16 minutes, with Ohio State doing something they’ve struggled with over the season so far, they started running and set up some easy baskets in transition. They also frustrated Purdue’s Caleb Swanigan, holding him to just five points on 1-5 shooting from the floor. He was almost never able to establish solid position inside.
But Purdue ran off a 11-0 run near the end of the first half, which could have been worse had Marc Loving now drained a three at the buzzer. Purdue lead 43-39 at halftime, with Dakota Mathias leading the way with 10 points, include two threeballs. The Buckeyes shot well from the floor, hitting 50%, but Purdue’s 21-14 rebounding advantage gave them multiple second chance opportunities.
The Boilermakers were able to take advantage of Buckeye foul trouble and poor defensive rebounding to widen their margin in the second half, thanks to strong play from the Boilermaker’s two Ohio players, Mathias and Vince Edwards. The margin was pushed to 10 at the 16:00 mark, although the Buckeyes stormed back on a 12-2 run of their own over the next three minutes to tie things up again. The Buckeyes gamely fought the rest of the game, forcing a rash of Purdue turnovers, and shot excellently from the free throw line, but superior Purdue rebounding, and Ohio State’s shooting troubles, allowed Purdue to escape with the win.
Vince Edwards lead Purdue with 16 points, as Swanigan added 16 and 11 boards, and Mathias added 14. Jae’Sean Tate lead Ohio State with 17, and Marc Loving added 14 and eight rebounds. Ohio State shot 17-20 from the stripe, but couldn’t hit the one that counted.
Ohio State falls to 10-5 (0-2) on the year, and has to travel to Minnesota next.
Here’s what we learned:
- Ohio State needs KBD. Bates-Diop missed the game today with a sore leg, and has struggled with his health over the season. Without him, the Buckeyes probably aren’t a tournament team, as his length, defense, and shooting ability are conspicuously absent. Here’s hoping he gets healthy soon, before the Buckeyes go too many games in Big Ten play without him. With the difficult early schedule, Ohio State could be too deep in a hole to dig out from if he misses extended time.
- Ohio State isn’t deep enough to get into big foul trouble. Already shorthanded thanks to KBD’s absence, the Buckeyes can’t afford to take their best players out of the game due to foul trouble. In the first half, both Trevor Thompson and Micah Potter picked up two fouls, and Jae’Sean Tate, who played well, picked up three. Those fouls robbed Ohio State of their defensive intensity, which Purdue was able to take advantage of in the second half. Already has a huge rebounding disadvantage, Ohio State can’t afford to play timid, and that’s what foul trouble makes you do.
- This team has work to do to make the NCAAs. Given the experience level of this team, missing the Tournament would be a major disappointment. But after failing to get a quality win before Big Ten play (those home wins over Providence and UConn don’t look quite as hot now), and with a horrible loss to FAU dragging down their computer numbers, the Buckeye had work to do in conference play to rehabilitate their profile. There’s plenty of season left, but now Ohio State is staring at an 0-2 record in Big Ten play, and the conference schedule isn’t getting any easier in the near future. It’s especially frustrating given that Purdue didn’t even play particularly well, and the Buckeyes couldn’t grab the upset at home. If they want to make a move, they’ll need to start soon.