Newsflash, Ohio State had a bad day in West Lafayette — again.
While I — and probably most of Buckeye Nation — am still in the process of repressing, or even attempting to erase, the memory of the gridiron beatdown Purdue put on the Ohio State football team back in the fall, I couldn’t help but have those memories flood back into my mind again; this time around, it revolved around the hardwood.
Thanks to Indiana’s upset earlier on Saturday over No. 6 Michigan State, Matt Painter’s Purdue Boilermakers control their own destiny in the Big Ten, and they showed their urgency to play well (and win) on Saturday. Unfortunately, OSU had to face these Boilers on Senior Day.
At halftime, the home team had scored 48 points, nailing eight three-pointers in the process; Chris Holtmann’s Buckeyes had a whopping 20 points at the break. Nothing was going right for the Kaleb Wesson-less Bucks in the first half. Things weren’t better in the second half, either.
On the bright side: Northwestern is now in front of OSU. But, before we move on to the next one, let’s take a peek into the rear-view mirror about this blowout at Mackey Arena.
The importance of Kaleb
Friday brought bad news to the basketball program: Kaleb Wesson was suspended for a violation of athletic department policy. While it isn’t clear exactly when he will get back on the floor, we got a glimpse of what happens when he’s not on the floor... and boy, the sight wasn’t pretty.
On the rebounding front, the Bucks got outworked 39-27. Kyle Young led the charge in pulling down the ball, tallying eight boards in the game. It’s nice that Young was able to get some rebounds, because the rest of the team was brutal in terms of helping him. Justin Ahrens had four boards, and Duane Washington Jr. had three.
On Purdue’s side, there were five members that had five or more boards. Purdue limited Ohio State’s ability to get second-chance opportunities, and it showed in the final score.
Scoring wise, Jaedon LeDee had a start to remember. He led the team with 16 points, and was the only Buckeye in double-figures. Just imagine if he had a bad game; this could’ve easily ended as a contest where Purdue’s margin of victory was bigger than the point total Ohio State assembled. LeDee getting solid minutes (22) filling in for Kaleb will go a long way. Purdue was on a mission to win, and LeDee did what he could to make that mission difficult. Even in this loss, we all got to see a preview of what the freshman will be able to do with more experience and time in the process.
Some days (and some nights)
There are some games where you’re just not meant to win. This was one of those games for Ohio State.
Carsen Edwards led the way for Purdue, scoring 25 points on 9-of-16 shooting. He was part of the first half surge from three-point land that paced the Boilermakers to a 28-point halftime lead. When all was said and done, he played only 29 minutes — and was lethal to the Bucks whenever he was on the floor.
Matt Haarms and Aaron Wheeler also dropped double-digit point totals; Haarms recorded 12 points (and six rebounds) while Wheeler had scored 10. Even though Wheeler had the third most points on the team, he led the rebounding efforts with seven.
Fifty-six percent of the Boilers’ shots connected, while OSU made just 33 percent of theirs. From distance, things were even worse for the Bucks; of the 19 attempts from downtown, only two were made. Purdue, on the other hand, made 11 threes on 21 attempts.
Bad days happen. Even with Kaleb Wesson in the lineup, Purdue likely still would’ve won convincingly. However, it probably wouldn’t have been by 35 points. The thing that OSU can’t do is let this game mess with their psyche. Wednesday’s game against Northwestern will be on the road, and as we’ve seen before, wacky things happen when you play away from home in the Big Ten. Just look at what happened to Iowa last week.
Indiana beating No. 6 Michigan State puts them back into NCAA Tournament consideration. Will they steal Ohio State’s spot if the Buckeyes fall apart in the last two regular season games and Big Ten Tournament? Possibly. At this point, it’s all about momentum. And right now, the Buckeyes have been zapped of that with today’s disappointing performance at Mackey.
A silver lining
There were a lot of things that did not go well. But, from a team perspective, there was something good that came from this loss.
OSU only committed nine turnovers on the afternoon, with five happening in the first half. Granted, this game got out of hand early, but this could’ve been Michigan State Part II, where the Buckeyes gave the ball away nearly 20 times. C.J. Jackson and Luther Muhammad had two TOs apiece, but that’s kinda expected. Those two are the playmakers on offense, so they are gonna have the ball — and will make the occasional mistake.
When postseason time comes around, taking care of the ball will be how teams live and die.
But outside of that, yeah, let’s move on to Northwestern.