Purdue upsets No. 20 Buckeyes
Published 4:25 am Thursday, February 5, 2015
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) — Ohio State coach Thad Matta understood the ramifications from the moment he suspended forward Marc Loving.
The Buckeyes needed everyone else to play a little better Wednesday. When they didn’t and the defense broke down, the Buckeyes’ three-game winning streak was history.
Rapheal Davis scored 20 points, and a stout defense rescued Purdue from late free-throw shooting woes to hold on for a 60-58 upset over the 20th-ranked Buckeyes.
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“We gave up 13 layups in 19 field goals,” Matta said. “We were not as sharp as we needed to be with our ball screen defense. We got blitzed off the ball screen a couple of times. Offensively, there were times we were like in quicksand.”
The Buckeyes (17-6, 6-4 Big Ten) still had chances, including a 40-foot desperation heave from D’Angelo Russell at the buzzer. But the shot never came close, typifying a strange night for the Big Ten’s second-highest scoring team.
Russell finished with 20 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Amir Williams had 10 points.
Matta didn’t elaborate on why Loving, who leads the Big Ten in 3-point shooting percentage at 53 percent, was suspended.
“It is not a right to play in our program,” Matta said. “When the time is right, we will bring Marc back. That is all I am going to say about it.”
For Purdue (15-8, 7-3, it was a game that rekindled welcome memories.
A four-game winning streak has the Boilermakers off to their best conference start since going 9-1 in 2007-08. They beat the Buckeyes for the first time in nearly four years, snapping a six-game skid.
Purdue has won three straight over ranked opponents for the first time since January-February 2010. All three of those wins have come with the Boilermakers unranked, a feat they last achieved during a January-February stretch in 1979.
Not surprisingly, the Mackey Arena crowd roared with approval as the buzzer sounded.
“I think we have really grown up,” Davis said. “Beating three Top 25 teams is really good, but we can get better in a lot of areas.”
Yet the Buckeyes nearly pulled off an incredible comeback.
After trailing 36-28 early in the second half, they charged back to take two brief leads, at 41-40 and 44-42.
When Purdue answered with 10 straight points to make it 52-44, the Buckeyes’ took advantage of Purdue’s free-throw struggles to close the gap. Russell’s 3 with 31.2 seconds left made it 58-56. After Jon Octeus made 1 of 2 free throws, Russell made both of his to cut the deficit to 59-58 with 6.4 seconds to go.
Kendall Stephens then made 1 of 2 from the line and the Boilermakers’ defense buckled down and held on — just like Painter’s teams used to do in the 1990s when he also played as a Boilermakers guard.
“It was a big game for us,” Painter said. “Ohio State has had our number.”
Buckeyes: Without Loving, the Buckeyes had no 3s in the first half, finished 4 of 15 from beyond the arc, and wound up with their second-lowest point total all season.
Boilermakers: One week after becoming the only Purdue player other than Joe Barry Carroll to block eight shots in a game, A.J. Hammons was back at it against the Buckeyes. He finished with 11 points, seven rebounds and seven blocks. Octeus added 14 points for the Boilermakers.
Buckeyes: visit Rutgers on Sunday.
Boilermakers: travel to Minnesota on Saturday.
Purdue honored one of its best-known ex-players, John Wooden, with a video tribute at halftime. Painter and several other former Boilermakers players including Troy Lewis, Robbie Hummel and Brian Cardinal, all talked about what Wooden meant to the university.
The Buckeyes are now in the midst of perhaps their toughest stretch of the season. They’ll play three of the next four on the road, with trips to Rutgers, Michigan State and Michigan.