Well that got ugly in the second half.
Defensively, Ohio State started off as many predicted, going hard with the full-court press from the get-go. The Buckeyes might have gotten away with some fouls in the process, but with some nice mid-range jumpers, they were able to continue pressing and jumped out to a quick 8-2 lead on the road.
Soon, however, they’d start hacking away and the Boilers were in the double bonus earlier in a half than I recall seeing this season. By the time Purdue took a 12-10 lead, Ohio State would only tie the game once more before the Boilermakers took a 16-14 lead seven minutes and fifty-three seconds into the game. Purdue never looked back.
Edey was putting away his jump hooks, punishing Ohio State for the lack of double team, which in turn allowed Purdue to regain control of the pace after the Buckeyes’ fast start. The Big Maple was drawing contact left and right from a smaller team with only one option when it came to guarding him: foul, foul, foul.
At the end of the half, Purdue was awarded 19 free throws, hitting 15 of them. At the time, Ohio State had but four attempts from the stripe.
At the half, the Boilers had out-rebounded the Buckeyes 21 to 11, with eight second-chance points giving Matt Painter’s team 14 points in the paint (compared to Ohio State’s eight). Edey had three blocks, Purdue was creating turnovers, and all looked right playing physically down low.
Ohio state reduced their deficit to six, but Edey hit a free throw and then decided to absolutely hammer home a missed three right before the buzzer and the home team entered the second half with a 38-29 lead.
Ethan Morton opened the second half with his second three of the game, and from then on out, it was never going to be close. Ohio State’s more-hot handed shooters in Sean McNeil, Brice Sensabaugh, and Justice Sueing started to fizzle in the second half while Purdue was just bodying them down low on the opposite end of the court. Trey Kaufman-Renn looked particularly good imposing his will in the final twenty minutes, earing some hard-fought points in the paint backing up against defenders followed by quick pivots preceding shots with a soft touch.
At one point, the lead climbed to 76-45 as the Buckeyes kept hitting iron with quick, seemingly uncalculated shots while the Boilermakers were already set defensively. Purdue continued to dominate the rebound battle as a result of the desperation offense and never gave Ohio State the chance for any second-chance points or steals with full-court press because oh my goodness they just could not shoot in the second half and kept fouling Purdue, it’s as simple as that.
Edey finished with 26 and 11, keeping him tied at first for most double-doubles in college hoops this season. It was a pretty balanced offensive effort from the rest of the team, as shown below:
The Boilermakers played really physical basketball today, almost inviting the smaller opposition to foul. With Purdue being one of the best free throw shooting teams in the country, that alone allowed them to take control of the game and maintain momentum despite a slow start in the first few minutes. When the Boilers don’t panic and play physically, there’s nothing they can’t do offensively. This matchup probably came at the most perfect pivotal point of the season for a group of guys who needed to remember who they are and how they’re capable of playing.