A decisive win needed a little pizzazz, and Kyle Young was ready to deliver.
With roughly seven minutes left in a game that Ohio State had controlled for the duration, the junior forward cut in behind the Purdue defense and soared for a lob from CJ Walker. Catching it in stride, Young slammed it home to push the lead to 55-39 with 6:59 to play in what would become a 68-52 win over the Boilermakers at Value City Arena.
It’s a classic play in coach Chris Holtmann’s offense, and one that Young was excited to throw down.
"It felt good," he said. "I always like those kind of plays, hype plays, get people going."
It provided the exclamation point on not just Ohio State’s win but Young’s performance. After having scored eight points in two career games against Purdue, Young finished with a career-high 16 to help the Buckeyes claw back to .500 in league play.
His performance was so impactful that Purdue coach Matt Painter, who recruited Young out of Massillon Jackson High School, jokingly asked reporters if they were all writing Young features based on the number of questions he fielded about the junior.
"I wish he was on our team," Painter said. "He gets high praise from me. He’s about winning."
Young connected on all six of his two-point shots and missed three three-pointers after having attempted nine all season. He also added seven rebounds while playing a season-high 34 minutes on a right leg that is being closely monitored to prevent a recurrence of a stress fracture that dogged him for the second half of last season.
Those were just the measurables.
"I think more than anything he impacts the game in ways that not always are on the stat sheet, but today it really was with his rebounds and his scoring, his ability to guard different bodies in different positions," Holtmann said. "He was really good."
Young’s postgame date for the day after Valentine’s Day? An ice bath.
"We’ve limited some of my practice time, kind of similar to last year, eliminate impact aside from game time," he said. "I wouldn’t say it’s as bad as last year. I can deal with it. I have this KT tape on my leg, and it’s been helping a little bit. Once I get going in the game and get my adrenaline going, it’s nothing too crazy."