Facing the possibility of a 1-4 start to conference play, the road weary Buckeyes got 32 points from The Villain, including 23 in the 2nd half, to overcome a 12-point halftime deficit and escape with a 70-66 shocker at No. 6 Purdue.
As college hoops usually plays out, it was a crazy game of runs culminating in an 18-4 Buckeye blitz over the final 3:57 thanks first to Matta's move to full court press resulting in two straight turnovers and Robbie Hummel leaving the game for a few minutes with a dislocated finger coupled with Turner flat out taking over the game. The Villain dialed up 14 straight points via a three point play, a driving layup, and a triple from the left point while going 5/5 from the stripe. His three tied the score at 62 and after E'Twaun Moore yakked the front end of a 1-and-1, Turner drove the right side of the lane drawing a foul on Moore. Turner drained both free throws with 1:14 to play giving OSU a 64-62 lead they would not relinquish.
Following a Keaton Grant turnover, the Buckeyes attacked the Boiler press and Jeremie Simmons got free for an easy layup providing a 68-64 cushion with :35 remaining. After two free throws from Hummel cut it to 68-66, Wil Buford was fouled bringing it up against the Boiler press and calmly buried two free throws with :16 left to provide the final margin.
It looked like a miracle run wouldn't be in the cards early as Hummel caught fire against a Stevie Wonder inspired zone defense that refused to identify him contributing to an insane 8/10 three point shooting half. Matta would say later that the gameplan was to stay in the 1-3-1 zone because Purdue wasn't a strong 3FG shooting team. Hummel would finish the half with a ridiculous 29 points helping the Boilers to a 41-29 lead.
In sharp contrast to Hummel's blistering start, Turner struggled mightily hitting just 4/11 shots (9 pts) with five turnovers as the Buckeyes coughed it up 12 times in the opening 20 minutes. Ohio State actually led 18-13 at the 9:40 mark after a 9-0 run capped by back to back buckets from Buford but the Boilers countered with a 28-11 run keyed by five triples from Hummel.
Purdue would increase the lead to a max of 13 in the second half after a Moore layup made it 58-45 with 7:28 remaining but the Evan Turner show would begin shortly thereafter. When the final buzzer sounded Turner's line read 11/21 from the floor, 9/10 from the stripe, nine boards and three assists along with six turnovers but only one in the second half. Hopefully, watching him will this team to win on the road against the #6 team in the land will help a few fans find their way to the bandwagon. Considering Turner's injury and an unfriendly schedule lining up four roadies out of the first five conference games, I think this team deserves a little more love and credit for their perseverance.
Certainly, Turner was a one man wrecking crew in the second half but he did get some help from Buford who scored 17 of his 19 in the first to keep OSU within striking distance. Buford hit 7/9 in the opening 20 minutes and if you throw in Turner's nine, the Buckeyes only received three points from the disappointing trio of Lighty (0 pts, 3 TO), Diebler (1 pt, 1 TO) and Lauderdale (2 pts, 0 reb, 1 TO).
For the game, Diebler finished with six points (2/4) and six boards against only one turnover while Lighty had a very poor offensive game with five points (2/9), 0 boards and three assists with four turnovers. He did, however, put the lock down on Hummel in the second half as the Buckeyes switched to man. Lauderdale added a sad two boards in 24 minutes though he did help hold Buckeye killer JaJuan Johnson to four points after he burned the Buckeyes averaging 25 in two games last year. Madsen also deserves some love for locking down Johnson plus he pulled down four boards (3 off) in 15 minutes.
On the glass, OSU held a 31-26 advantage and they shot 51% from the floor. Even more impressive, they finally showed up at the line hitting 83% (15/18) which was key as Matta instructed them to attack the paint early and often in the second half. Matta's strategy of fronting Johnson with a wing while Dallas played behind limited Johnson's touches as he attempted just five shots (2/5). Of course, Hummel was the prime benefactor of this strategy as he received countless kickouts while wide open on the baseline or wing as OSU essentially doubled down inviting Purdue to shoot threes. As Matta put it, he was playing the percentages since Hummel entered the game shooting under 30% from deep.
Hummel's night ended with 35 points on 11/19 shooting but he scored just six in the second half. E'Twaun Moore added 19 as the Boilers lost their second straight.
Next up for the Buckeyes is a home tilt with Wisconsin at 8pm in The Schott.