Confidence can be hard to come by for a college basketball reserve in the thick of a conference schedule.

But when Andre Wesson pulled up for his first three-point attempt on Wednesday in Purdue’s Mackey Arena, the Ohio State sophomore guard wasn’t lacking in that area.

“They knew I was going to have some open shots and some chances to score, so they just said keep shooting,” Wesson said of his coaches.

So Wesson did keep shooting, and the result went a long way toward helping No. 14 Ohio State earn a 64-63 win at No. 3 Purdue to take the lead atop the Big Ten standings.

After averaging 1.8 points per conference game this year while shooting 5 of 17 (29.4 percent) from three-point range, Wesson scored a career-high 13 points and made 3 of 4 three-pointers while playing a career-high 36 minutes.

Just as important, his play allowed the Buckeyes to play a small lineup despite missing their best long-range shooter, Kam Williams, for the second straight game due to a suspension. Wesson played the entire second half against the Boilermakers, helping to neutralize the 7-foot-2 center Isaac Haas despite giving up 8 inches to the Purdue senior.

Haas scored 16 first-half points, but only two in the second half, and Purdue finished with a season-low two offensive rebounds. Haas conceded that Ohio State’s smaller lineup, keyed by Wesson, caused Purdue problems.

“They won the game, so it speaks for itself,” he said. “They hit some threes from people who haven’t hit any threes before. Andre Wesson’s not really known as a three-point shooter and he hit three tonight.”

Wesson’s final basket was a three-pointer from the left wing with 1:14 remaining that banked off the glass to give the Buckeyes a 62-60 lead. And no, he didn’t call the bank.

“I tried to,” he said. “When it left my hand, at the last second I called it. I’ve hit some pretty big shots, but that’s one of the biggest.”

The performance provided some validation for a player who has endured his share of criticism from Ohio State fans this season expecting more production. In a lineup with Keita Bates-Diop and Jae’Sean Tate, the Buckeyes have three players who can switch on all screens without being exposed defensively.

With Williams expected to miss at least one more game, Wesson likely will be needed again as the Buckeyes turn their sights to Iowa on Saturday and a chance to move one game closer to a goal that seemed inconceivable even three months ago: a Big Ten regular-season championship.

Asked what the Buckeyes’ ceiling is, Wesson said, “I don’t know. We’re still trying to figure that one out.”