It looked like Ohio State might let a resume builder slip through their fingers after losing a 64-59 lead with 1:53 in regulation but a 14-4 run to start the extra session allowed the Buckeyes to cruise to an 80-72 home victory over #13 Purdue.
Evan Turner was once again the best player on the floor backing up his Big Ten POW honor with a 26 point, 12 rebound, 7 assist effort. To Thad Matta's credit, he installed Turner at the point for long stretches allowing him to bring the ball up and immediately create off penetration.
The #1 FG% defense in the country couldn't stop Turner without help and when they rotated the rest of the Buckeyes made them pay. Ohio State shot a blistering 60.4% from the floor (32/53) thanks to stellar ball movement creating wide open shots all night long. How great was the ball movement? Besides Turner's seven dimes, Jon Diebler picked up seven and P.J. Hill six.
Wil Buford was a prime benefactor as he poured in 22 points, 17 in the second half, on 10/14 shooting.
B.J. Mullens also caught fire hitting 8/9 shots, all dunks or layups, on countless feeds following help side rotations.
It wasn't all about the offense, however as the Buckeye defense came to play outrebounding the Boilers 34-19. In fact, Purdue didn't register an offensive rebound until Keaton Grant's o-board and putback gave the Boilers a 41-40 lead with 15:55 to play.
Purdue would finish with only three offensive caroms on the night while the zone harassed the perimeter shooters into a 6/21 (28%) effort from beyond the arc.
Even with those statistical advantages in hand and Robbie Hummel not playing due to injury, OSU allowed Purdue to force OT after Turner missed the front end of a one and one with 3:17 left, then missed another free throw failing to convert a three point play leaving OSU in front 62-59 with 2:45 left.
Turner would score again on a driving layup extending the lead to 64-59 at the 1:53 mark but Grant answered with a triple cutting the lead to 64-62 with 1:25 remaining.
Still, it appeared OSU was in good shape with possession but Hill inexplicably turned it over on the wing with a lazy pass to a covered Jon Diebler allowing Chris Kramer to tie the game at 64 with a breakaway layup.
Out of timeout, Turner had to force the issue and turned it over but Lewis Jackson's long jumper with :03 failed to draw iron setting up the extra session.
Ohio State's confidence wasn't shaken, however as the quickly jumped on Purdue in overtime taking a 70-66 lead courtesy of a sweet drive and dish from Hill to set up a Dallas Lauderdale dunk followed by two free throws from Turner and a jumper from Diebler.
Following two free throws from JaJuan Johnson, who finished with a career high 30 points, the Buckeyes salted it away with an 8-0 run capped by a Diebler pass off the backboard to B.J. Mullens for the rim-rattler and a 78-68 lead with 20 ticks left. Me likey.
The victory moves Ohio State to 16-5 overall and 6-4 in conference with the Gophers coming to the Schott on Saturday night.