Pretty wouldn't be the word to describe the past couple months. Nor would it be the best way to describe the action inside the Schottenstein Center on Saturday afternoon.
But after Ohio State's 68-52 victory against Purdue in the noon showdown in Columbus, Chris Holtmann's team has now won five of the past six games. The much-needed extended winning stretch follows the Buckeyes losing six of seven games in late December and January.
Ohio State has returned to .500 in the Big Ten, with a 7-7 record within the conference and a 17-8 overall record.
Similar to the Buckeyes' six-point win against Rutgers on Wednesday, Ohio State jumped out to a 16-point lead within the first three minutes of the second half. But unlike what happened in the latter part of the second half against the Scarlet Knights, Purdue couldn't mount a comeback and never came within nine points for the remainder of the game.
The Buckeyes didn't exactly put together an offensive showcase, turning the ball over 16 times, but their defense was on point. Purdue, which entered Saturday with the No. 36 adjusted offensive efficiency in the country, hit only 35.2 percent of its shots and went 4-for-20 from behind the 3-point arc. Ohio State also set a season high with 10 steals.
|22-45 (48.9%)||FGM-FGA (PCT.)||19-54 (35.2%)|
|9-20 (45.0%)||3PM-3PA (PCT.)||4-20 (20.0%)|
|15-23 (65.2%)||FTM-FTA (PCT.)||10-11 (90.9%)|
Offensively, the Buckeyes didn't overly rely on Kaleb Wesson, who had 13 points, eight turnovers and four assists but also turned it over six times. Kyle Young scored 16 points, including when he finished an alley-oop from CJ Walker with 6:59 remaining to give his team a 16-point lead.
Luther Muhammad had 11 points, draining three 3-pointers. He has now made at least three shots in three consecutive games for the first time since February of his freshman season. Walker, who had seven straight points early in the first half to help give the Buckeyes an early 15-6 lead, finished with nine points and four assists.
Ohio State shot 48.9 percent from the floor and 45 percent from behind the arc, continuing a trend that has the team ranked No. 1 in the Big Ten in 3-point percentage in conference games.
Evan Boudreaux led Purdue with 17 points before fouling out with 2:10 remaining. Jahaad Proctor scored 15 points.
Next up: The Buckeyes have a four-day layoff before going on the road to take on Iowa in Iowa City on Thursday. The game against the Hawkeyes will tip off at 7 p.m. and will be shown on ESPN.
- Chris Holtmann didn't have any changes to his starting five: CJ Walker, Luther Muhammad, Andre Wesson, Kyle Young and Kaleb Wesson.
- Former Ohio State player and staffer Scoonie Penn was in attendance. The current Memphis Grizzlies assistant coach is on his NBA All-Star break.
- A few recruits watched the game from behind the baseline, including 2022 guard Bowen Hardman, who holds an Ohio State scholarship offer.
- DJ Carton remains away from the team on a leave of absence to improve his mental health. He's taking classes online to remain eligible.
- Justice Sueing and Musa Jallow both watched the game from behind the home bench, per usual. They're recovering from injuries.
- Both Ohio State and Purdue found themselves mired in extended first-half slumps that slowed down Saturday's game considerably. Each team had scoring droughts of at least five minutes.