After wins over Wisconsin and Michigan State propelled the Buckeyes into the conference tournament final, they ran out of gas late falling 65-61 to Purdue.
The Buckeyes led for much of the early going but their last lead came at 41-40 with 12:33 remaining thanks to a 12-2 Purdue run. E'Twaun Moore buried three triples during the stretch as guys like Madsen failed to rotate and cover the shooter.
Trailing 58-49 with 5:49 left, the Buckeyes tightened up defensively forcing the Boilers to miss eight consecutive shots while Evan Turner made one last push scoring five of OSU's six points cutting the deficit to 58-55 with 1:33 left.
Our old nemesis Ed Hightower failed to whistle Robbie Hummel for over the back on the ensuing Purdue possession and the Boilers promptly delievered the knockout punch in the form of a Keaton Grant triple giving Purdue a 61-55 lead with :47 left.
While the no-call hurt, Purdue again proved they are a much deeper team than the Buckeyes and their second half performance earned the tournament title.
Evan Turner led the Buckeyes with 22 points and 10 boards while Wil Buford and Jon Diebler added 15 apiece. The rest of the squad basically forgot to show up though I'll give P.J. Hill a bit of love for dropping five dimes.
The bigs, however turned in one of their most frustrating "efforts" to date. Lauderdale allowed himself to be tied up for a quick but correct jump ball call late in the second half and Mullens looked like he was only interested in making sure he didn't get injured and negatively impact his draft status. Madsen also stunk it up defensively making me wonder if he and Moore are step-brothers.
Whatever. This team accomplished more in this tourney than most thought plausible. Let's hope it has an impact on seeding because anything less than a six seed has me thinking one and done - of course it's all about matchups so we'll see how it shakes out in the next hour.
Either way, it's good to be back in the dance.