With Ohio State and Purdue tied 78-all, Jaden Ivey nailed a 3-pointer with a fraction of a second left on the clock to close the show.
Despite a spirited run late, upsetting the sixth-ranked team in the country in its own backyard proved too ambitious an assignment for the Buckeyes on Sunday. No. 16 Ohio State dropped its third game of the past seven as Purdue held on late after going up big early in the second half to notch an 81-78 win in West Lafayette.
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Ohio State kept things close early and only trailed by nine points at halftime, but Purdue opened the second half with eight straight points to put the Buckeyes down 17 before three minutes had elapsed in the final frame. But Ohio State cut the Boilermaker lead down to four points with 1:06 to go, courtesy of an offensive barrage from Malaki Branham. The freshman guard scored nine straight points for the Buckeyes in the final four minutes before an E.J. Liddell bucket made it 76-72 with 66 seconds to play.
Liddell then hit back-to-back 3-pointers in the final 34 seconds to tie things up with just 25 seconds to play, but Ivey’s dagger three sent the Buckeyes packing.
The Buckeye offense struggled for much of the day, particularly from behind the 3-point line, and the size of 7-foot-4 Purdue center Zach Edey proved to be a problem for the slew of Ohio State big men that tried to guard him. Coming off the bench for the Boilermakers, star guard Ivey had little trouble knifing into the lane to find his own offense as Purdue owned a distinct advantage in interior scoring.
After holding a 20-point lead with 14:35 to play, though, Purdue was outscored 46-29 by the Buckeyes the rest of the way, and Ohio State hit six of its final seven shots to finish the game.
To start things off, Ohio State held a slim lead at the first media timeout, but Purdue countered with a 9-2 run over the next few minutes to get back in front of the Buckeyes, 11-8, at the 12:41 mark. Ivey scored eight straight points off the bench for the Boilermakers during a 13-3 stretch in which they pushed that lead to 17-11, but Ohio State chipped away with several Branham buckets to stay within striking distance.
A Kyle Young layup at the 5:42 mark cut the Purdue lead to 24-21, but a sloppy sequence from the Buckeyes on the next possession led to a quick swing in favor of the Boilermakers. After an Ohio State offensive board gave the Buckeyes a chance to tie it up, Jamari Wheeler turned the ball over and fouled a 3-point shooter on the other end, giving up a four-point play that put Purdue ahead 28-21.
That sequence was part of a stretch in which Purdue’s Sasha Stefanovic scored eight straight points to put his team up nine points in the final three minutes of the first half. Another three from Stefanovic at 1:02 gave Purdue its largest lead of the first half, 39-28, but Branham hit a jumper on the other end to head to halftime down nine points.
Ohio State hit just two of its 13 3-point attempts in the opening half while Edey and the Boilermakers gave the Buckeyes problems inside, outscoring Ohio State 22-16 in the paint. Ivey and Stefanovic combined for 21 points in the first half, while Branham led the way with nine for the Buckeyes.
Things didn’t truly get out of hand for the Buckeyes until the opening minutes of the second half, when Purdue started on an 8-0 run to put Ohio State behind 47-30 at the 17:07 mark. That deficit increased to 20 just a few minutes later, as the Boilermakers scored 13 of the first 15 points in the half.
Cedric Russell and Eugene Brown injected some life into the Buckeye offense late, helping bring Ohio State back within nine points at multiple points in the final seven minutes, and Branham and Liddell took it from there. That pair scored all 17 of Ohio State's points in the final 3:37, and neither one missed a shot during that stretch.
But Ivey had the final answer, as an ill-fated full-court heave from the Buckeyes officially ended things at Mackey Arena.
Ivey led all scorers with 21 points while Branham, Liddell and Edey all finished with 20 for their respective sides.
What’s next: Ohio State returns home Thursday for an 8 p.m. matchup with Iowa.
- After missing Thursday’s game due to a foot injury, Jamari Wheeler returned to the lineup for the Buckeyes against Purdue.
- For the first time this season, Justin Ahrens did not start for Ohio State. Meechie Johnson made his third start of the year in place of Ahrens.
- Sunday’s game saw Purdue assistant coach Terry Johnson, who spent the past eight years coaching alongside Chris Holtmann with Butler and Ohio State, face the Buckeyes for the first time since leaving the program last April.
- Ohio State’s last matchup with the Boilermakers before Sunday was an overtime win in the Big Ten Tournament on March 12, 2021. Purdue took the two regular season meetings with Ohio State before that in 2020-21.
- The Buckeyes are now 70-57 against Purdue since 1950. Chris Holtmann has lost five of his first eight games against the Boilermakers as Ohio State head coach.