College Basketball Nation: Boilermakers-Buckeyes 021710

Purdue holds off Ohio State, 60-57

February, 17, 2010
Check the site later tonight for my column, but here is a postgame, instant analysis from Purdue 60, Ohio State 57:

  • Purdue played cat-and-mouse again in a major Big Ten game, building a big advantage early and seeing if it had enough juice left to hold on. The Boilermakers lost the big lead at home against Ohio State, held the big lead on the road last week against Michigan State, and held it again Wednesday. That’s progress -– but also an unnerving pattern for Purdue fans to endure.
  • Ohio State closed to within two at 48-46, got the crowd on its feet … and then the offense rested. Perhaps out of necessity, given the load on superstar Evan Turner. On the Buckeyes’ ensuing six possessions after that point, they lofted jumpers of at least 17 feet. They made none of them. They got zero offensive rebounds. Credit Purdue for walling off the interior, but Ohio State was far too content to settle for jump shots.
  • JaJuan Johnson loves Value City Arena. The Purdue center scored his career high of 30 points here last year, and had 24 points tonight.

Halftime observations: Ohio State-Purdue

February, 17, 2010
Purdue now has played two of the most impressive first halves of any team in the country in consecutive weeks.

Halftime observations from Purdue 36, Ohio State 23:

  • Last week the Boilermakers went into East Lansing and took a 14-point lead on Michigan State at intermission, on their way to a 12-point victory. Now the Boilers have put a 13-point choke hold on Ohio State on the road, shooting 60 percent from the field (57 percent from 3-point range) and limiting the Buckeyes to one assist.
  • Purdue has a power trio of Robbie Hummel, E’Twaun Moore and JaJuan Johnson, and they trade off starring roles. Tonight it’s Johnson’s world – he has 15 points, four rebounds and three assists at halftime. Ohio State postman Dallas Lauderdale has had no idea how to combat the lanky junior Johnson.
  • If it weren’t for Evan Turner, this would be a Little Bighorn-level wipeout. Turner, my leading candidate for national Player of the Year, has 13 of Ohio State’s 23 points, four of its 12 rebounds and the lone assist. He’s made 6 of 13 shots against a rotating array of defenders, while the rest of the Buckeyes are 3 of 11.
  • William Buford, Ohio State’s second-leading scorer, did not scratch while playing the entire 20 minutes. Buford was 0 for 2 with one rebound and one blocked shot.
  • This game could really be out of hand if Purdue were a little tighter with its ball handling and passing. The Boilermakers have committed nine turnovers, while averaging just 10.8 per game in Big Ten play. Then again, Ohio State has turned it over 10 times, including four errors by Turner.
  • A late-arriving, lackadaisical crowd hasn’t helped Ohio State create much homecourt atmosphere or generated any significant animosity toward the Boilers. The vibe at Purdue home games is roughly 400 times more boisterous.

Live from Columbus: Purdue-Ohio State

February, 17, 2010
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- In place here at Value City Arena. Some pregame notes from tonight's matchup between No. 4 Purdue and No. 12 Ohio State:

  • The game is a sellout. Kind of. Ohio State got rid of every ticket in the 19,049-seat Value City Arena, but it took some deep discounting to make it happen. Starting last Friday, the school made a buy-one-get-one-free offer at the bargain price of $10, and the game officially sold out Wednesday afternoon. Moral of the story: Don’t build an arena this big for a football-centric fan base. They can put more than 100,000 in Ohio Stadium for home football games, but have to give away tickets to fill this place for a huge Big Ten basketball game. (Now you know why the marquee on one merchandise store near campus is still advertising Rose Bowl gear.)
  • Last time these two teams met, the stars were spectacular. Purdue’s Robbie Hummel hit eight first-half 3-pointers and finished with 32 points. But Ohio State’s Evan Turner owned the second half and finished with 35 points while leading the Buckeyes to a 70-66 comeback victory back on Jan. 12. If these guys come close to reprising that night, this will be one entertaining game -- but expect both defenses to be focused on preventing that.
  • Which is the hotter team? Purdue, but not by much. The Boilermakers have won seven straight, Ohio State has won six straight. The Buckeyes are coming off, what most observers here think, was their best game of the season -- spanking Illinois in Champaign by 19 points. Purdue probably had its most impressive win of the year last week, beating Michigan State in East Lansing by 12.