Instant reaction: OSU 87, Purdue 84
Quick thoughts on Ohio State’s wild 87-84 win over Purdue Tuesday night:
*It was always in doubt because Purdue wouldn’t miss. Ohio State won despite defensive breakdowns and foul trouble because William Buford wouldn’t miss late. A few breaks — both the kind that come with the officiating and the kind that come with superior athletes competing for those 50-50 balls — helped the Buckeyes seal it.
*Buford scored 29, passing Jimmy Jackson and becoming Ohio State’s all-time leading scorer (from Toledo, that is). Buford’s always been streaky, but especially lately. He hadn’t had a great game since he scored 28 in Ohio State’s Big Ten opener. His late explosion shows the Buckeyes’ talent and how dangerous they can be. Purdue showed some of the Buckeyes’ flaws in this one, too.
*Purdue ran a bunch of high screens and made a bunch of extra passes that caught the Buckeyes flat-footed. Purdue still made the shots — and some crazy ones — but had a lot of possessions that saw several guys either awaiting open shots or able to find creases in the defense. Lots of teams will watch this film and attack Ohio State accordingly.
*Both teams shot 52 percent from the field. Purdue was 11-19 from beyond the arc and Ohio State was 9-16. Considering Ohio State’s perceived strength entering the game — besides just having tons of talent — was defense and its perceived weakness was outside shooting, this was a good wakeup call and measuring stick. Overall, it was the kind of tournament-like test the Buckeyes needed. It was a bit of a typical letdown spot, and there was a bit of a typical letdown. Ohio State still got the necessary result.
*Jared Sullinger was so frustrated with the number of times he was beat on screens and switches at the top of the key that he committed his fourth foul 25 feet from the basket. Still, when things got tight in the final 10 minutes Sullinger got a lot of free throws, a number of baskets and was a force. He finished with 18 points and six rebounds.
*The Buckeyes’ home win streak is intact, and it’s something nice to have — but not something that’s going to help OSU win the games it ultimately wants to win. Last year is last year and means nothing this year. There’s something to be said for finding a way.
*Purdue’s Kelsey Barlow has a YouTube video he can show his grandkids with his first-half dunk over Sullinger. Yes, over him. That doesn’t happen often.
*Ohio State’s late-game free-throw shooting still leaves a bit to be desired, does it not?
*Purdue is 5-6 in Big Ten games and still an NCAA Tournament bubble team, but it’s an intriguing bubble team. The Boilermakers ran out of gas a little Tuesday, ran out of athletes, ran out of breaks. This one will sting and it should. Purdue still has chances to get itself a tournament bid.
*Ohio State will have a very interesting week of practice. Michigan State visits Saturday night.