The Buckeyes earned a trip to the conference championship game and most likely locked up a #1 seed with today's 63-52 win over the Boilers. Greg Oden led OSU with a second straight dominating performance producing 17 points, 19 rebounds (9 offensive!) and 4 blocks complete with an increased level of skill, intensity and emotion. As 11W Godfather Jason put it, Oden is sending a message to the entire nation, especially those in the media that have such a chubby for Kevin Durant. Yesterday Oden was blowing kisses after soft jump hooks and today he had a very nimble put back tip on a Lewis miss, showed nice footwork on the low block and crashed the boards with great vengeance and furious anger (sorry Samuel L). The 19 rebounds tied the single game Big Ten Tournament record held by expert ball-grabber Reggie Evans (Iowa '01 & '02). If you recall, Evans loved grabbing balls so much that he put a death grip on Chris Kaman's balls during last year's NBA playoffs.
Purdue led 43-40 with 12:20 to go before OSU peeled off a 20-4 over the next 10 minutes to take a commanding 60-47 lead with 2:07 to play. Ron Lewis had 8 points during the run and the OSU defense smothered Purdue, holding the Boilers to 2-15 from the floor during the decisive blitz.
Ron Lewis took a season high 16 shots, making just 4, but played another solid game with 13 points and 5 rebounds. Lewis has now reached double figures in six of the last seven games. His poor shooting was more acceptable than usual because he didn't resort to launching 25 footers but instead kept driving the lane and got the line six times (4-6). With the disappearance of Daequan Cook, Lewis needs to continue to look for his shot. Mike Conley turned in another steady performance with 11 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists while directing the offense with Scorsese like precision.
For the game, OSU shot just 35% from the floor (31% from distance) and hit only 13 of 21 free throws (62%). OSU overcame the poor shooting with a 43-25 edge on the glass while committing just 8 turnovers. Carl Landry played a solid game with 24 points on 9-16 shooting and despite the loss, Matt Painter's Boilers have likely done enough to earn an NCAA bid.
OSU's win combined with Wisconsin's 53-41 decision over Illinois sets up tomorrow's cage match for the tournament title. I hope everyone remembers their mouthguard because you can bet it's gonna get physical.