Ohio State rains threes, but Purdue makes the biggest one in comeback win

Adam Jardy
Buckeye Xtra
Purdue guard Jaden Ivey launches the game-winning three-point basket in front of Ohio State's Justice Sueing in the Boilermakers' 67-65 victory on Tuesday.

Ohio State’s first shot attempt of its men's basketball game against Purdue on Tuesday was negated when Sasha Stefanovic fouled Justin Ahrens along the right wing.

Instead of a three-point attempt, Ahrens was awarded three free throws, hitting all three less than 90 seconds into the game.

The long-range display would be a theme for the evening, right to the end.

In a battle of teams with three-game winning streaks, No. 15 Ohio State would attempt a season-high 35 three-pointers but it was one the Buckeyes allowed from Purdue’s Jaden Ivey with five seconds to play that was the difference in a 67-65 loss at Value City Arena.

By the finish, Ohio State had taken 35 of its 53 shots from three-point range, tied for the third-most three-point attempts in a game in program history.

“It was a few too many,” OSU coach Chris Holtmann said. “I thought we did have some good looks, but it was a few too many for sure. We tried to establish the paint a little bit better in the second half, but as physical the game was and was called, we weren’t able to do that. That’s my fault.”

Ohio State’s first five baskets were three-point goals, and it wouldn’t make a two-point shot until Kyle Young scored with 7:46 to play in the first half. Duane Washington Jr. and Ahrens led the way with nine attempts each as six of the seven Buckeyes to score hit at least one three-pointer.

After making 9 of 22 first-half attempts (40.9%), the Buckeyes were 5 for 13 (38.5%) in the second half to finish 14 for 35 (40.0%) for the game. The 14 makes are Ohio State’s most in a Big Ten game this season and tied for ninth-most in a game in program history.

“Normally when someone makes 14 threes you’re going to lose the game, but they didn’t have many twos,” Purdue coach Matt Painter said. “We just tried to stay with Duane Washington as best we could and make it hard on him.”

Washington was the most productive Ohio State player, making 6 of 9 three-point attempts in scoring a game-high 21 points for the Buckeyes, whose three-point attempt rate of 66.0% was the highest in a game since the 2001-02 season.

Ohio State's Duane Washington Jr. made 6 of 9 three-point attempts and scored a game-high 21 points in the Buckeyes' loss to Purdue.

“I thought we could’ve took a couple better ones, myself included, but other than that they’re all good shots for us,” Washington said. “We have some really good shooters on the team and they were going in early. You’ve got to stay confident and believe in yourself.”

Washington was only 1 of 5 from two-point range on a night when Ohio State made only 6 of 18 baskets from inside the arc. The six makes are less than half Ohio State’s prior season-low in Big Ten play this season and were partly the result of the Boilermakers shadowing E.J. Liddell on most of his post catches, leaving somebody open on the perimeter.

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“That’s how their defense is built,” Holtmann said. “They leave guys open they want to shoot. They don’t guard you, and they close out really short. Give them credit, it’s been really successful for them. Ultimately we’ve got to figure out ways to get guys around and get them in the spots we need to get them into.”

At the other end of the floor, Purdue made only 5 of 20 three-point attempts (25%) but shot 21 of 34 (61.8%) from inside the line. Trevion Williams led Purdue with 16 points and Ivey and Stefanovic added 15 apiece.

The Boilermakers’ biggest baskets in rallying from an 11-point first-half deficit, however, were three-pointers, including one by Stefanovic from the top of the key that tied the score at 64 with 52.5 seconds left and the winner by Ivey, a freshman who entered averaging 6.4 points per game. 

“We’ve just got to be tougher defensively,” Young said. 

The 65 points marked Ohio State’s lowest output since a 77-60 loss at Minnesota on Jan. 3. In their four Big Ten losses, the Buckeyes are averaging 63.8 points per game.

“We need to get better at getting the ball where we want to get the ball,” Washington said. “Purdue’s defense does a good job speeding you up and trying to get you out of your stuff that you want to run. They took advantage of us on that end. We’ve got to get better as a group, as a team.”