COLUMBUS — Ohio State led 69-66 with 40 seconds left but could not hold on as No. 1 Purdue (14-1, 3-1) scored the game’s final five points to upset the No. 24 Buckeyes (10-4, 2-1) 71-69. Ohio State was favored by a point and a half prior to tip off.
Ohio State freshman forward Brice Sensabaugh led all scorers with 21 points on 10-of-17 shooting. He showed throughout the game that he could get a shot almost whenever he wanted, but in the game’s final seconds when the last play was drawn up for him, he could not get a clear look and his desperation three-pointer fell short.
Purdue had four scorers in double figures, led by center Zach Edey and freshman guard Braden Smith who scored 16 a piece.
Within the first seven minutes of the game, Buckeye starters Zed Key and Sean McNeil went down with injuries. The injury to McNeil happened so soon after the injury to Key that there were no Ohio State trainers on the bench to take a look at the senior guard.
Key missed the rest of the game with what was termed a shoulder sprain. McNeil eventually returned later in the first half. Despite the injuries, the Buckeyes led 18-7 at the 11:52 mark thanks to some outstanding defense by freshman center Felix Okpara on Edey, and nine points from Sensabaugh on a variety of baskets.
Purdue cut the lead to six points a couple of times, but a three-pointer from Justice Sueing built it back up to 33-24 with 2:59 remaining in the half. Eventually, however, the Boilermaker shots started falling, particularly during a two-minute stretch late when they hit three consecutive three-pointers to tie the game at 33. Eugene Brown got the final bucket of the half for OSU with a baseline three to stop the bleeding. The basket made it 36-33 Ohio State and gave the Buckeyes their halftime lead.
Sensabaugh led Ohio State with 13 points at the half. The Buckeyes shot 15-of-27 from the field over the first 20 minutes, and held Purdue to 13-of-34 (38.2%) shooting. The Boilers scored the first five points of the second half as Edey again used his size for easy points. The Buckeyes traded threes from Thornton and Sueing with layups from Edey to build back a 46-42 lead, but that was quickly stymied by a three from Braden Smith at the 16:05 mark.
Fletcher Loyer added a three after that to make it a 2-point Boiler lead, which then grew to 50-45 after a pair of Edey free throws. Leading 52-48, Edey had his shot blocked by Okpara, which led to a dunk by Sensabaugh on the fast break with just over 12 minutes remaining.
Sensabaugh would add a couple more baskets, as did Sueing and Sean McNeil, to help grab the lead back at 62-58 at the 6:30 mark. That lead was quickly diced by a three from Ethan Morton. A Loyer three just over a minute later recaptured the lead for Purdue at 64-63 with 4:36 to play.
Tied at 66-66 with 1:53 to play, Ohio State head coach Chris Holtmann called a timeout following a Sueing offensive rebound on an Okpara free throw miss. The Buckeyes couldn’t manage a good look on the ensuing play, however. Fortunately for OSU, Purdue’s possession came up empty as well.
Still tied at 66-66, McNeil dribbled for a shot and worked around a screen and hit a step-back three with 40.3 seconds left. Edey cut it to one with 28.3 seconds remaining, which was followed quickly by an Ohio State turnover on a bad sideline pass from Sueing and a Purdue timeout down 69-68 with 17.5 seconds remaining. Loyer then drained a three with 11 seconds remaining to give Purdue a 71-69 lead.
Holtmann called a timeout with 6.4 seconds remaining to get Sensabaugh back on the court, but they could not find a good shot for him and his bail-out three failed to find the net.
Purdue shot 7-of-16 from three-point territory in the second half.
Holtmann did not have an update on Key after the game.
- The Buckeyes played outstanding defense early, both inside and outside, but when you lose Zed Key early on, there’s only so much you can do against Purdue’s size with 7-foot-4 center Zach Eady. They didn’t make it easy on him, and OSU freshman center Felix Okpara gave Edey everything he could. Buckeye forward Eugene Brown was the other defender on Edey throughout the game, which gave the Boilers a 10-inch advantage in the paint.
- The timeouts down the stretch did not have the desired effect that Chris Holtmann wanted. He dialed up three plays in the game’s final two minutes and none of them worked out. The second one featured Justice Sueing down on the baseline, but they couldn’t get it to him and Sean McNeil ended up hitting a step-back three instead. There was no “instead” on the game’s final play when Brice Sensabaugh lost the handle a bit in the game’s final seconds. and had to throw up a shot blindly.
- That last shot by Brice Sensabaugh notwithstanding, he was generally getting what he wanted when he wanted tonight. His mid-range game is effective on the pull-up or in the post, and his ability to get into the paint makes him a good bet to finish more often than not. This was one of those games where it became clear that he’s going to have an NBA decision to make after this season, so the collective OSU collectives may want to see what they’ve got in the coffers for Buckeye basketball.
- Purdue coach Matt Painter said it wasn’t fair to Ohio State that Zed Key went out when he did, and he’s absolutely right. The Buckeyes are going to be outmatched in the size department against most opponents, but facing Zach Edey without your starting center is the exact opposite of ideal. Because of Key’s absence, the Buckeyes were doubling Edey in the paint and chasing the ball movement, which led to too many open threes for the Boilers, which they eventually started hitting. Purdue scored 39 points from three-point territory, which isn’t something they normally do.