Seth Towns, Duane Washington lead Buckeyes in overtime thriller against Purdue

Adam Jardy
Buckeye Xtra
Ohio State forward Justice Sueing shoots over Purdue guard Jaden Ivey on Friday.  The Buckeyes will face Michigan in a Big Ten semifinal on Saturday.

INDIANAPOLIS – Dead and seemingly buried, Ohio State rose up yet again.

A double-digit lead had dissipated against a Purdue team that had twice beaten the Buckeyes already this season, and when the Boilermakers took Ohio State into overtime the comeback victory seemed all but assured.

Until Seth Towns happened. And Duane Washington Jr. happened. And, thanks to five straight points from the graduate transfer and a stone-cold three from Washington, No. 5 seed Ohio State advanced to the semifinals of the Big Ten tournament with an 87-78 overtime win against No. 4 seed Purdue on Friday afternoon at Lucas Oil Stadium. The Buckeyes will face Michigan at 1 p.m. Saturday.

Ahead 75-74 with three minutes left in overtime, Towns splashed a three-pointer. One possession later, he banked in a jumper. One possession after that, Washington drilled one to push the lead to seven points with 1:16 play and the Buckeyes (20-8) would live to play another day.

At the half, Ohio State had led by 18 points. With nine minutes to play, it was still a 10-point lead. And yet, again, Ohio State’s opponent mounted a late charge. This time, Purdue (18-9) would come back from a 68-59 deficit with six minutes to play, tie it at 70 with an 11-2 run and then again at 72 to force overtime.

The Buckeyes would close the half by missing their final eight shots from the floor. After Trevion Williams tied it at 70, Justice Sueing drove, drew the foul and hit two free throws with 23.7 seconds left to reclaim the lead, only to have Williams score again to tie the score with 9.4 to play. The Buckeyes called timeout, drew up a full-court action but didn’t get a shot off as CJ Walker had the ball knocked loose.

Ohio State guard Duane Washington Jr. dunks against Purdue on Friday.

Ahead by 18 at the break, Ohio State still led 56-43 when E.J. Liddell hit a three-pointer from the right wing with 15:20 to play and the Buckeyes were on solid ground. And then, in a dramatic reversal of the first half, the offense disappeared and Purdue came charging back.

Jaden Ivey, the freshman who hit the game-winner at Value City Arena in the second meeting between these teams this season, connected on three straight threes at one point as the Buckeyes would go 8:20 without a made field goal. That would finally end with Musa Jallow stepped into a jumper from the left wing with exactly seven minutes to play, giving Ohio State the 66-58 lead. In between, Ohio State had missed nine field goals and gotten eight points from the free-throw line to stay afloat.

With their fans chanting “Boiler Up!” Purdue just kept coming. With Kyle Young in the locker room after a blow to the head, Purdue’s big men began to feast. Ohio State’s 68-59 lead with 6:03 was cut to four on a Zach Edey bucket over Liddell, and two possessions later Williams scored over Liddell as well to pull within 70-68 with less than two minutes to play.

Ohio State forward Kyle Young had 18 points before leaving the game with a head injury.

Liddell then missed a jumper that was collected by Sueing, only to have his follow-up knocked out of play. It came to rest on the top of the backboard, improbably, and it would take Edey and a stick to get it down with a little more than a minute to play.

After scoring 18 points during the first half on 4-of-4 shooting from three, Young was called for a foul as Williams charged through the lane with 17:04 to play and drew what was whistled to be a foul on the Ohio State forward. Young was slow to get up, holding his head with both hands, and he would sub out of the game for good with 15:38 to play.