WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — The famous sign inside Mackey Arena, situated directly in front of the Purdue student section, proclaims that “DEFENSE LIVES HERE.”
For good measure, No. 14 Ohio State brought some of its own with it for its first true road test of the season. And in the first Buckeyes game featuring a pair of top-15 teams in more than three years, that effort moved Ohio State into first place in the conference after a stunning 64-63 win against the No. 3 Boilermakers, who entered the night with the longest winning streak in the nation at 19 games.
In a fitting ending, a final play that went haywire eventually found its way to its intended recipient. Andrew Dakich grabbed a loose ball after a Jae’Sean Tate missed drive with 22 seconds left, and Ohio State (21-5, 12-1 Big Ten) called timeout with 16.2 left on the clock, trailing 63-62. In the timeout, the coaches drew up a play to get Keita Bates-Diop the ball.
Freshman Musa Jallow
Sophomore Andre Wesson
Coach Chris Holtmann
When Purdue (23-3, 12-1) denied him, Tate then drove the basket and couldn’t finish through traffic. And as he has all season, Bates-Diop was there to clean up the miss and score with 2.8 seconds left for the game-winning shot.
“I knew if he was going to miss he was going to miss long, so I went for the offensive rebound and nobody boxed me out,” Bates-Diop said.
It was the 195th field goal of the season for the junior, but to Bates-Diop it was, “No. 1, by far.”
They still had to survive one final shot: With no other options, Purdue’s Dakota Mathias flung a full-court pass to Isaac Hass on the right block. There, he was bodied up by Kaleb Wesson and got off one final turnaround shot from about 12 feet that didn’t fall and the Buckeyes sprinted back up the court to celebrate by their bench. It was Purdue’s first home loss in 402 days, ending a streak of 21 consecutive home wins.
After trailing by 14 points with 10:17 to play following a stretch of what coach Chris Holtmann described as some “out-of-character possessions,” Ohio State closed the game with a 25-10 run while holding Purdue to 2-for-11 shooting with four turnovers.
“We beat an incredible team and an incredible program tonight,” Holtmann said.
Although Haas gave the Buckeyes fits with his 7-foot-2 frame early, they went small for the majority of the second half and got major contributions from a pair of bench players.
Freshman Musa Jallow, who had scored five points in Big Ten play this season, had six at the half and finished with 10 off the bench. Sophomore forward Andre Wesson, starting his second consecutive game in place of the suspended Kam Williams, had a career-high 13, including a banked-in three-pointer with 1:14 to play to give the Buckeyes a 62-60 lead.
“When it left my hand, at the last second I called it,” Wesson said of the three.