No. 4 Boilermakers edge No. 9 Buckeyes
JaJuan Johnson scored 24 points and consistently hit big shots to build the lead and keep No. 9 Ohio State at bay in No. 4 Purdue's 60-57 victory Wednesday night.
With the victory, the Boilermakers (22-3, 10-3) tightened the race for first place in the Big Ten with 11th-ranked Michigan State (21-6, 11-3).
E'Twaun Moore had 15 points and Keaton Grant added 13 off the bench for Purdue, which had lost in all nine of its previous trips to Value City Arena. The Boilermakers won their eighth straight game overall.
Evan Turner had 29 points, William Buford 11 and Jon Diebler 10 for Ohio State (20-7, 10-4), which had won its last nine Big Ten games.
Diebler had a chance to tie the game, but his last-second 3-pointer clanked off the back of the rim.
The victory was the Boilermakers' fourth against Top-10 teams this season while handing Ohio State its first home loss after winning its first 15 games.
Down by 15 early in the second half, the Buckeyes rode Turner to get back into the game. He had a three-point play and hit a 3-pointer to cut the lead to 43-37 with just over 14 minutes left.
Turner had 11 of Ohio State's first 16 points in the second half, but Johnson was unstoppable at the other end. He had a three-point play on a short turnaround and then, with the shot clock winding down, swished an 18-foot jumper from the elbow to push the lead to 48-39.
Buford -- who had only one field goal in the first 29 minutes -- hit a 3-pointer and another long jumper to pull the Buckeyes as close as 48-46 with 9:46 left. But they could never pull even.
With Purdue ahead 58-53 with 1:12 remaining, Moore nailed two free throws. After Dallas Lauderdale's tip-in narrowed the lead to five, Chris Kramer missed the front end of a bonus situation. Turner then hit a shot off glass to make it a one-possession game.
Moore missed a contested layup with 16 seconds left, giving Ohio State another chance. The Buckeyes hurried the ball down the floor and fed Buford, but his shot on a drive was blocked by Kramer. Diebler recovered the ball and seemed to hesitate as the seconds ticked away. Confronted by two defenders, he split them and got to the top of the key, but his jumper was off the mark.
Things couldn't have gone much better for Purdue in the first half if coach Matt Painter had scripted it.
The Buckeyes missed their first five shots from the field while the Boilermakers broke to a 7-0 lead. Even though Ohio State's David Lighty prevented Robbie Hummel from scoring in the opening half, the Boilers had plenty of other weapons. Johnson hit five of his first six shots from the field and Grant his first four as they rolled to leads of 20-9, 29-12 and 36-23 at the break.
Johnson had 15 at the half on 7 of 9 shooting, with Grant coming off the bench to add 11.
The Boilermakers had led 41-29 after the first half in West Lafayette, only to have the Buckeyes come back and steal the win. Not this time.