After fighting some old demons and defeating Minnesota at The Barn for the first time since 2015, the No. 16 Ohio State Buckeyes basketball team (13-4, 6-2) headed into one of their toughest tests of the season at No. 6 Purdue (17-3, 6-3). Mackey Arena is another place of horrors for the Buckeyes, not only struggling to win against Purdue there throughout the years, but also being the venue that the Buckeyes lost to Oral Roberts in the infamous upset in last years NCAA tournament.
Ohio State came into this game on a small hot streak, winning three in a row since getting hammered by Wisconsin and looking to add another quadrant one win to their resume. E.J. Liddell had a career game against Minnesota in the Buckeyes’ win, recording 23 points, a career-high 15 rebounds and five assists. The Buckeyes led 32-30 at the half, and were able to pull away late and take the win 75-64.
Purdue likes to run out an interesting lineup, having two of their three best players not in the starting five. Trevion Williams comes off the bench for the Boilermakers so that 7-foot-4 center Zach Edey can start, and those two guys rarely play at the same time. Purdue also brought star guard Jaden Ivey off the bench for the second game in a row. Ivey missed the Boilermakers’ 80-60 win over Northwestern with an injury, and came back and played 22 minutes off the bench against Iowa, scoring 15 points.
Ohio State also got one of their top guys back, as fifth-year senior Jamari Wheeler played his normal role, starting at the point guard position after missing the game against Minnesota with a foot injury.
Purdue had won two in a row coming into this one, losing to Indiana on Jan. 20 and then defeating Northwestern and Iowa handedly. They came into today being led in scoring by Jaden Ivey with his 16.6 points per game. Zach Edey averages 14.8 points and 7.6 rebounds per game, and Trevion Williams averages 12.7 points and 8.5 rebounds per game. Guard Sasha Stefanovic averages 12.2 points per game.
Williams has a history of success against the Buckeyes. In the two matchups between the two teams, he recorded 16 points, nine rebounds and eight assists and followed that up by dropping 26 points, 14 rebounds and five assists. Purdue won both regular season contests against Ohio State last season, but the Buckeyes got their revenge in a classic overtime game in the Big Ten tournament. It was in the Purdue game in the conference tournament that Kyle Young suffered a concussion and missed the rest of the season.
Ohio State came into this one led by E.J. Liddell, who is averaging 19.6 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.7 blocks per game.
This was a big one for the Big Ten standings, as Ohio State came in fourth in the Big Ten at 6-2 in-conference and Purdue came into the game fifth in the B1G at 6-3.
Updated Big Ten ...— Patrick Stevens (@D1scourse) January 30, 2022
1. Illinois 8-2
2. Michigan State 7-2 (HTH)
3. Wisconsin 7-2
4. Ohio State 6-2
5. Purdue 6-3
6. Indiana 7-4
7. Rutgers 6-4
8. Michigan 4-4
9. Iowa 4-5
10. Penn State 3-6
11. Maryland 3-7
12. Minnesota 2-6
13. Northwestern 2-8
14. Nebrasketball 0-10
It started off back and forth for the Buckeyes and Boilermakers, with both teams exchanging baskets through the first eight minutes. Purdue was able to take the lead and hold it for the entirety of the first half and had Ohio State chasing them the rest of the way.
Purdue closed the first half on a 15-9 run and led 39-30. Sasha Stefanovic had 11 points and Jaden Ivey had 10 in the first half. Trevion Williams filled up the stat sheet once again in the opening half, recording six points, seven rebounds, three assists, two blocks and two steals.
Malaki Branham led the Buckeyes in the opening half, scoring nine points and recording three rebounds. Liddell added six points.
Purdue came out of the half and went on an 8-0 run to extend their lead to 47-30. One of their better defensive efforts all season, Purdue made every Ohio State possession tough. Ohio State attempted to keep it close, but could not string together enough defensive stops in a row to cut into the hefty Purdue lead.
The Buckeyes got back within six points after back-to-back Malaki Branham buckets with 1:17 left in the contest. After a Jaden Ivey travel, Liddell knocked down a basket to make it a four point game with a minute left.
On the ensuing Purdue possession, Mason Gillis got an offensive rebound off a Jaden Ivey miss and made two free throws, making it a six point Purdue lead. Liddell answered with a three-pointer on the other end to make it a three-point game. Then, after a Kyle Young steal on the Purdue inbound, Liddell knocked down another three to tie the game at 78 apiece with 23 seconds remaining.
Then, in a cruel form of deja vu from last year’s matchup in Mackey, Jaden Ivey knocked down a three-pointer at the buzzer, giving Purdue the win. The score was 52-32 with 14 minutes remaining, and the Buckeyes fought all the way back to tie the game at 78, but ultimately came up just short in a thrilling game between two of the Big Ten’s best.
Purdue would take the victory, 81-78, to move to 18-3 overall and 7-3 in the conference. The Buckeyes fall to 13-5 and 6-3 in the conference despite an excellent second-half comeback effort.
Switching up the starters
For the first time this season, senior captain Justin Ahrens came off the bench and was not apart of the Buckeyes’ starters. Jamari Wheeler, Meechie Johnson Jr., Malaki Branham, E.J. Liddell and Zed Key made up the starters — the Buckeyes sixth different starting lineup of the season. Ahrens has been struggling to find his shot since the calendar switched to 2022, and the Buckeyes hoped bringing him off the bench would provide a spark for him.
Zach Edey is a nightmare matchup for every team with his height, but especially for Ohio State. Zed Key picked up two fouls in the first two and a half minutes along with Malaki Branham, as Justin Ahrens and Indiana transfer Joey Brunk had to come into the game before the first media timeout. The Buckeyes recorded four fouls in the first three minutes, three of which came against Edey.
Brunk stands at 6-foot-11 and is the biggest player on the Buckeyes’ roster, so he is somewhat of a secret weapon in a game like this for the Buckeyes. Brunk has played in 15 games for the Buckeyes, but averaged only 5.7 minutes and 1.6 points per game coming into this one.
Ivey’s fast start
Jaden Ivey is the machine that makes Purdue go. He got off to a fast start in this one, coming off the bench and scoring eight-straight points for the Boilermakers to give them a 17-11 lead with 10 minutes left in the first half. Ivey started 3-for-5 from the field and 2-for-3 from three-point range.
Purdue closes strong
With 5:45 left in the first half, Purdue led the Buckeyes 24-21. Sasha Stefanovic then recorded eight-straight points for the Boilermakers and Purdue closed the final five minutes on a 15-9 run, expanding their lead to 39-30 heading into the break.
Picking up where they left off
After closing the first half strong, Purdue came out of halftime and went on a quick 8-0 run to extend their lead to 17 with 16 minutes remaining in the game. Mason Gillis knocked down a three-pointer in transition to start the scoring. This run forced a Buckeyes timeout and as the teams went to the bench, they had to be separated.
Lessons on how to start a half.— Purdue Mens Basketball (@BoilerBall) January 30, 2022
Timeout Buckeyes. pic.twitter.com/IusYGSIt6P
Buckeyes continue to fight
After going down 47-30, the Buckeyes used three-pointers from Meechie Johnson, Eugene Brown and Cedric Russell to cut the Boilermaker lead to 13 on three separate occasions, but Williams and Ivey did a good job of keeping the Buckeyes at arms length, knocking down multiple timely buckets.
One of the big discrepancies in this contest was the foul difference. With 10 minutes left in the game, Purdue had drawn 18 fouls while Ohio State had drawn just six. Zed Key was benched with four fouls and Malaki Branham played most of the second half with three fouls, affecting how aggressive the Buckeyes could be on defense. Purdue entered the bonus with seven minutes left in the first half and nine minutes left in the second half.
A valiant effort
After trailing by 20 at one point in the second period, Ohio State battled all the way back to tie the game at 78-78 late. Down by three points with under 30 seconds remaining, Branham got the steal on Stefanovic’s inbound pass to give the Buckeyes possession. They then got to ball to Liddell, who knocked down a three-pointer from straight on to tie the game with just 25 seconds to go. Purdue called timeout, and drew up a play for one final possession.
Unfortunately for Ohio State fans, the result was something they had seen before. Despite playing solid defense, the Boilermakers managed to get the ball into the hands of Ivey, who stepped back from beyond the arc and drilled a three-pointer while falling out of bounds with less than a second on the clock. The Buckeyes’ full-court heave was no good, and Purdue escaped a furious comeback effort by Ohio State to come away with yet another win over the Scarlet and Gray in Mackey Arena.
Ohio State will head back home after the two-game road trip to take on Iowa on Thursday, Feb. 3. The game will be broadcasted on FS1 at 8:00 p.m. Iowa is 14-6 overall and 4-5 in the conference. They currently sit at ninth in the Big Ten standings.