For the first time in two years, No. 24 Ohio State (10-4, 2-1) welcomed top-ranked Purdue (14-1, 3-1) to Columbus on Thursday evening for a classic Big Ten fist fight. Purdue entered the night as the No. 1 team in the nation, although a one-point loss to Rutgers on Monday night somewhat dulled the shine of a battle with the top-ranked team in the country.
Regardless, it was a key matchup between teams who are currently considered two of the favorites to win the Big Ten conference. The last time Purdue visited the Schottenstein Center was Jan. 19, 2021 — when Jaden Ivey’s buzzer-beating three over Seth Towns propelled the Boilermakers to a 67-65 win.
However, it was not to be tonight, as the Boilermakers were able to edge out a tight contest in the final seconds, 71-69. Ohio State did a fine job on Edey, but the supporting cast around him stepped up and made shots — which was their only option the way the Buckeyes were swarming Edey. Sueing made a poor pass in the closing seconds, and Fletcher Loyer knocked down a humongous shot that served as the final kill shot for Purdue.
Chris Holtmann went with the now-customary lineup of Bruce Thornton, Sean McNeil, Justice Sueing, Brice Sensabaugh, and Zed Key. Matt Painter rolled out Loyer, Braden Smith, Ethan Morton, Caleb Furst, and the big Canadian Zach Edey.
Despite Purdue dominating the offensive glass early, the Buckeyes ran out to a 18-7 lead by the under-12 media timeout. Sensabaugh had nine of those 18, but the Buckeyes were also taking care of the basketball and forcing the Boilermakers to move the ball around the perimeter to look for other shots. Felix Okpara did a phenomenal job on Edey early in the game after Key left with a reported shoulder sprain, holding the Canadian to just two points over the first eight minutes without committing a foul.
Ohio State continued to put the pressure on Edey, Furst, and Trey Kaufman-Renn in the post, sending two and sometimes three defenders down to stop easy baskets. The Boilermakers were forced to kick it out and swing the ball looking for a three, and more often than not, they got one. The problem, however, was that Purdue only hit one of their first nine three-pointers. By the under-eight timeout, the Buckeyes still held a 22-14 lead, and were shooting 58.8% as a team.
However, over time Purdue did, in fact, make other players beat Ohio State. After missing open shots repeatedly while Edey fought off three defenders, the Boilermakers knocked down five three-pointers over the final 6:05 of the first half to close the opening stanza on a hot streak. Purdue finished the first half on a 9-3 run to go into the break down just three points, 36-33. Sensabaugh led Ohio State with 13 points in the first half on 6-of-8 shooting. Smith had 12 points for Purdue on 5-of-7 shooting in the first half.
The two teams came out throwing haymakers in the second half, with Purdue hitting five of their first seven shots and Ohio State knocking down four of their first nine. The Boilermakers cut the Buckeye lead to just one point, 46-45, thanks mostly to six quick points from Edey over the first 4:43 of the second half.
The Boilermakers took a brief six-point lead for 56 seconds, but a long baseline jumper from Roddy Gayle followed by an emphatic slam from Sensabaugh pulled Ohio State back within two, 52-50. After the dunk from Sensabaugh, Matt Painter called timeout, and Holtmann pleaded with the crowd with his hands for more noise — to which they obliged. Purdue held a two point lead with just under 11 minutes remaining.
The Buckeyes tied things up 58-58 by the under-eight media timeout courtesy of an Okpara floater from about nine feet out off the feed from Sensabaugh. His previous career-high was 19 minutes against Charleston Southern on November 10, but his number was called tonight when Key was ruled out with the shoulder injury. He finished with five points, five rebounds, two assists, and three blocks over 30 minutes.
Ohio State took a brief lead on Sueing’s turnaround fader with just under seven minutes remaining, but the little Loyer’s three-pointer with 4:36 left put the Boilermakers back up one point, 64-63.
After Felix Okpara was fouled by Edey going up for a dunk with 1:53 remaining, he hit one of two free throws to tie things back up at 66. One minute later, with 40 seconds left on the clock, Sean McNeil had his biggest moment in the scarlet and gray, sinking a long three-pointer to give the Buckeyes a 69-66 lead.
However, after Edey hit a pair of free throws to make it 69-68, the Buckeyes turned it over on the inbounds. Sueing received the inbounds pass and looked for Thornton, but Morton jumped the passing lane and swiped it. Purdue had the ball with 10 seconds remaining, and since plan A —Edey — had two defenders on him, the ball was kicked out to Loyer, who drained the three-pointer to put Purdue ahead for good, 71-69.
Sesabaugh led all scorers with 21 points. Sueing was Ohio State’s only other double-digit scorer with 15. Edey and Smith each had 16 points for Purdue, while Loyer and Morton both scored in double digits as well.
If you weren’t around tonight to watch the Buckeyes’ nail-biting loss to the top-ranked Boilermakers, here are a few of the key moments and runs that helped Purdue squeak one out in front of a huge crowd in Columbus:
Sensabaugh pushes the pace early
As has been the case the last few games, Sensabaugh took three of Ohio State’s first five shots, making two of them, for a quick four points. The first came on a dunk off a feed from Sueing, and the second was a fastbreak layup where he simply outran Morton to the other end.
The talented freshman and likely 2023 NBA draftee was Ohio State’s go-to man all night, finishing with 21 points on 10-17 shooting over a season-high 35 minutes. He also had five rebounds, two steals, and a block.
Key exits with a shoulder injury
3:48 into the game with Ohio State leading 6-5, Edey corralled a rebound off a missed free throw from Furst. He immediately pivoted to slam home a dunk, and in the process Key twisted his shoulder in an unnatural way. He limped off the floor with his left arm dangling to the side, and was immediately escorted back to the locker room. Edey’s dunk made it 7-6 Purdue.
Key was ruled out for the game shortly thereafter with what Ohio State called a “shoulder sprain.” He finished with no stats accumulated over four minutes.
Boilers owning the offensive glass
To give Purdue credit, they crashed the glass on both ends. The Boilermakers had five offensive rebounds during their first six possessions, leading to eight second-chance points. But they weren’t defending at the other end, as the Buckeyes outscored Purdue’s offensive outputs on far fewer opportunities in the early going.
Purdue won the rebounding battle 37-27 overall, and had 16 offensive rebounds to Ohio State’s nine.
12-0 run for the Buckeyes
Starting at the 15:19 mark of the first half, Ohio State went on a 12-0 run that turned a 7-6 deficit into a 18-7 lead over the next 3:27. It went something like this:
- Bruce Thornton three
- Sueing baseline fader
- Sensabaugh two-point jumper
- Sueing baseline fader
- Sensabaugh fastbreak layup good, and the foul (hit the free throw as well)
Who would like to guard this tall Canadian?
After Key was ruled out with what Ohio State called a “shoulder sprain” four minutes into the game, the Buckeyes were forced to defend the 7-foot-4 Edey by throwing everything and the kitchen sink at him. Okpara spent 13 minutes on him in the first half, but Isaac Likekele and Gene Brown both switched on to the big man as well.
To their credit, Edey only scored four points on 2-of-6 shooting in the first half, but he also grabbed eight rebounds. He had a lot more success in the second half, finishing with 16 points, 11 rebounds and four assists over 32 minutes.
After the game, Matt Painter gave credit to Okpara and Gene Brown specifically for their effort guarding Edey. He said that putting the 6-foot-6 Brown on 7-foot-4 Edey was a move that threw a wrinkle into things that he wasn’t expecting.
Boilers get hot from beyond the arc to end the half
After hitting just one of their first nine three-pointers to start the game — most of the wide-open variety, Purdue closed the first half by hitting five of their final six from beyond the arc. A 30.5% three-point team on the season, Ohio State was banking on the Boilers missing a good chunk of those looks. For the first 15 minutes or so, it worked like a charm. Over the final five minutes, it did not.
In the second half, Purdue hit 7 of their 16 three-pointers, ending the day 13-31 from beyond the arc. 31 of their 58 shots were from downtown, and the 13 makes was a season-high for Purdue.
Who you calling slow?
The two teams opened the second half with a frenzy of scoring, as Purdue outscored the Buckeyes 12-10 over the first 4:43 and going 5-of-7 from the floor. Both teams were moving quickly and trying to catch the other off guard in transition to begin the half. Ironically enough, Purdue and Ohio State are two of the slower teams in the Big Ten, with both ranking outside the top-200 in adjusted tempo.
Okpara denies Edey and Sensabaugh brings the house down
On a possession where it felt like Purdue grabbed 18 offensive rebounds, the penultimate shot for the Boilermakers turned out to be a dunk attempt by Edey. However, Okpara went straight up and met him at the highest point, swatting his shot back towards the Purdue bench.
Thornton corralled the rebound and found Sensabaugh streaking down the court for an aggressive dunk, pulling the Buckeyes back within two, 52-50 with just under 11 minutes remaining in the game. Matt Painter called timeout as the crowd turned up the volume a few decibels.
Sueing, McNeil retake the lead for the Buckeyes
With the game tied 58-58 and 6:55 remaining in the game, Sueing backed down Morton on the left block, took two dribbles, and then hit a turnaround jumper to put Ohio State up two. On the next possession, Sean McNeil hit a long two to extend Ohio State’s lead to four points — their largest lead in over 10 minutes.
Sueing would finish the game with 15 points on 6-11 shooting over 32 minutes. He was 2-3 from three-point range, and also had four rebounds, two assists, and two turnovers.
Loyer’s triple puts Purdue back in front
Purdue trailed for 2:21 following that Sueing bucket over Morton, but Loyer — whose older brother Foster tormented the Buckeyes four years ago at Michigan State — knocked down his second three-pointer of the game to give Purdue a 64-63 lead with 4:36 remaining in the game.
McNeil has his moment...for a moment
With the game tied at 66 and 40 seconds remaining, the Buckeyes had nothing going as the shot clock slowly ticked down. McNeil had the ball with seven seconds on the shot clock, and yanked a straight-away three over the head of Mason Gillis to give the Buckeyes a nice 69-66 lead.
McNeil finished with seven points on 3-5 shooting and also had one rebound and one steal over 25 minutes.
Ohio State turns over the inbound, Loyer makes them pay....again
Up one point with 24 seconds remaining, Sueing’s errant pass off the inbound was stolen by Morton, and following a Purdue timeout, Loyer knocked down another three to give the Boilermakers a 71-69 lead with 10 seconds remaining. That was all she wrote.
Loyer finished with 11 points on 4-12 shooting, including 3-6 from long range. He also had two rebounds, one assist, and four turnovers over 25 minutes.
Ohio State (10-4, 2-1) won’t get much of a break before their next challenge, which comes on the road at Maryland (10-5, 1-3) Sunday afternoon. Kevin Willard’s first Maryland team rose into the AP Top 25 early in the season, but quickly fell out after a few embarrassing losses. The Buckeyes lost to Maryland 75-60 on February 27 last season in College Park. Maryland is coming off a 64-50 loss to Rutgers on Thursday night.
The Buckeyes’ game against Maryland will tip off at 1:00 p.m. ET on Sunday afternoon, and will be broadcast on ESPN.