Mackey Arena is already a loud stadium. Give the Paint Crew and fans one of the biggest games in the history of the program?
They’re gonna try and blow the roof off the place. Especially when the game starts with an Isaac Haas lay-up off a Carsen Edwards drive and dump off.
Especially when their first defensive possession leads to a shot clock violation when Keita Bates-Diop is forced to a throw up a 30-foot prayer that banged hard off the side of the glass. There was a buzzer, the same buzzer that goes off any time the 30 seconds runs off, it is loud and sharp and amplified, but you couldn’t hear it.
Not with everything at stake. Not with these fans. Not in Boiler country.
But an amped Mackey Arena was not enough to hold off a hungry Buckeyes team, who pull the upset, winning 64-63 after Keita Bates-Diop grabbed an Ohio State miss with 3 seconds left and put it back in for his 18th point of the night.
Purdue rode the early energy to an impressive defensive start. They held the Buckeyes scores until the 14:26 mark when Jae’Sean Tate scored on a layup. But the Buckeyes brought a defensive intensity as well. Purdue had only scored 5 points in the first five minutes themselves and when the Buckeyes followed their first basket with a steal and another layup, they were only down one. When they finished their 8-0 run to retaliate, they led by 3.
It was a clear, this was a matchup between two of the best teams in the B10 and the country. Two teams that had come into the game with a combined 1 loss in conference play.
Purdue responded to the Buckeyes run by going to what had worked for them so well in big games, their big man, Isaac Haas. Haas controlled the paint on both sides of the court, getting Ohio State’s bigs into foul trouble, and blocking 1 shot but altering plenty.
Purdue came out in the second half and gave the ball to their sophomore Carsen Edwards, who scored 11 straight points at one point to give Purdue a 53-39 lead on his way to a new career-high 28 points. He knocked down 4 of his 7 3-point attempts and 8 of his 9 free throws.
Isaac Haas had 18 points on 11 shots and Vincent Edwards had 11 points, all in the second half after missing his six shot attempts in the first half. Dakota Mathias had 6 points, making 2 three-pointers.
But the Boilers could not find anyone else to score. Those were the only four Boilermakers who scored. P. J. Thompson missed all 5 of his shots, each one from distance, and each one finding different parts of the rim.
The Boilers came into the game with a 19 game win streak. #1 team in the country, Villanova, had just lost to St. John’s and they were posed to move into one of the top 2 spots in the country. Instead, the Buckeyes sit on top of the B10, tied with Purdue with 1 conference loss.
The Boilers held a lead for most of the game, and was up by as much as 14 points in the second half, but Andre Wesson banked in a long 3-pointer with 1:14 on the clock that gave the Buckeyes a 62-60 lead.
Purdue would answer as it had all season. Vincent drove from the far corner, collided with his defender, and finished a tough one-handed floater off the glass, drawing the And-1. His free throw would give Purdue a one-point lead.
The Buckeyes would miss their next shot. The ball batted around before the Buckeyes secured it, gaining a second chance to take the lead. They would get another look at the basket, but the ball bounced off the rim.
Again, a Buckeye was there to grab it. This time it was Bates-Diop who had an easy put-back lay-in.
Purdue would attempt a full court pass to Isaac Haas, who caught it, absorbed contact and faded away for one last-second shot. It would be short and the Boilers would fall, losing a crushing game that would have almost certainly secured a second straight B10 title and some breathing room before going to East Lansing on Saturday in what now becomes a must-win for the Boilermakers.