Keady-Less Purdue Stumbles At OSU
Trying to pull off a road victory for ill coach Gene Keady, who missed his sendoff in Columbus, Purdue outshot and outrebounded Ohio State Wednesday night.
However, the Buckeyes caught a hot streak early in the second half and PU went on to amass 20 turnovers in Ohio State's 75-65 victory.
"I do wish we would have gotten a win for Coach Keady. We just didn't take care of the basketball," said associate head coach Matt Painter, who was afforded a preview as head coach of the team next season by taking over the reins Wednesday.
The Value City Arena crowd of 13,513 got the result it wanted but was shorted before the game since the fans also expected to see a ceremony for Keady, Purdue's accomplished 25-year coach who will step down after the season. The 68-year-old stayed home with the flu, missing his first basketball game in 47 years as a coach on any level.
Keady no doubt would have put on his trademark scowl as the Buckeyes (15-7, 4-4) methodically built a 33-30 halftime lead to 56-39 with eight minutes to play, effectively wiping away hope for Purdue (5-14, 1-7).
Guard Je'Kel Foster, who along with freshman Jamar Butler made his first home start as a Buckeye, got things going immediately in the second half by splashing a three on the opening possession. Soon after, Ivan Harris swished a baseline jumper off a high-post feed from Terence Dials.
A Brandon McKnight driving basket cut the score to 38-32, but Butler canned a three (his first in Big Ten play) with 16:57 to go and, after a pair of deep misses by the Boilermakers and a television timeout, Brandon Fuss-Cheatham hit a trey from the corner off an assist by J.J. Sullinger to up the score to 44-32 with 15:37 showing.
"They played H-O-R-S-E for a while," Painter said. "They were shooting open jump shots and they're a good shooting team."
OSU coach Thad Matta, meanwhile, was admiring the Buckeyes on the other end of the floor.
"We really stepped up our defense and did a better job of challenging shots," he said. "It was a little bit like at Northwestern (Jan. 29) in that our defense picked up when we needed it to."
Purdue forward Carl Landry led all scorers with 23 points but took 20 shots to do it. David Teague, who hit three treys in the first half, finished with 14 points and McKnight had 12.
The Buckeyes, meanwhile, won their third straight league game for the first time in three years on the strength of five players in double figures. Foster had a team-high 15 points and added four assists, Sullinger finished with 13 points and hit all eight of his free throws, Matt Sylvester had a dozen off the bench and also provided four assists, Tony Stockman had 11 points as a reserve, and Dials posted his seventh double-double of the season with 11 points and 11 rebounds.
Seventeen of OSU's 22 field goals were assisted.
"I really think we play our best basketball when we try to move the ball," Sullinger said. "We're confident in everybody and we have a lot of weapons."
The Buckeyes next host struggling Michigan (Saturday, 12:17 p.m., ESPN-Plus) , which lost at home to Minnesota by 17 Wednesday night. The Wolverines (12-10, 3-5) have lost five in a row.