WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — The roar went out across Mackey Arena shortly before tipoff Saturday afternoon. A little more than 100 miles to the south, rival Indiana had knocked off Michigan State, clearing a direct path to a Big Ten title for the No. 14 Boilermakers.
Clearly, a strange day was in the offing. And with leading scorer and rebounder Kaleb Wesson on the bench in street clothes, suspended indefinitely because of an unspecified violation of athletic department rules, Ohio State paid the price.
Final: Purdue 86, Ohio State 51. The Boilermakers now sit alone atop the Big Ten standings, having handed the Buckeyes their worst loss since a 100-65 defeat at Maryland on Jan. 16, 2016.Join the conversation at Facebook.com/BuckeyeXtra and connect with us on Twitter @BuckeyeXtra
“We just didn’t turn the page very well,” senior guard C.J. Jackson said. “Especially when you play anyone in this league, the way we played today is just not good enough. We’ll lose to any team when we play like this.”
It unraveled quickly for the Buckeyes (18-11, 8-10 Big Ten), who were coming off a 20-point home win against No. 22 Iowa. Tied at 4 early, Purdue’s Ryan Cline drilled a three-pointer with two seconds left on the shot clock on what had been a solid defensive possession. Grady Eifert hit one on the next Purdue possession, answering an Andre Wesson three-pointer, and the run was on.
Starting with the Cline three-pointer, the Boilermakers (22-7, 15-3) hit their next seven shots. They missed their eighth, but Matt Haarms dunked the miss to push the lead to 25-13 with 10:43 remaining in the half.
A Carsen Edwards three-pointer with 8:32 left in the half marked the 11th straight possession on which Purdue scored. It also gave the Boilermakers a 32-13 lead and made them 11 for their last 13, and they still weren’t done.
An Eifert three-pointer with 5:59 left in the half gave the Buckeyes their biggest deficit of the season at 23 points, and they trailed by a season-high 28 at halftime. The Purdue lead marked the second-most porous half for the Buckeyes this season, two shy of Michigan State’s 50-point second half at Value City Arena on Jan. 5.
Edwards nearly outscored the Buckeyes himself at the break with 19 first-half points as only four Ohio State players made a shot.
“We did not have the urgency we needed to get out to their shooters,” coach Chris Holtmann said. “We didn’t have it the whole game. We did not play with enough urgency. They hit some tough shots, but that’s kind of what they do anyway.”
The 86 points are tied for the most allowed by the Buckeyes this season in a game in which they trailed by as many as 39. No timeouts were taken during the second half save for the mandated media breaks.
Jackson said this was as mad as Holtmann has been after a loss and took personal responsibility for the performance.
“It’s all on us,” he said. “He does a great job preparing and putting his heart into this team. We didn’t go out there and perform well enough.”