Big Ten Tournament: No. 24 Ohio State survives over Purdue
Ohio State escaped with an opening-round win over Purdue on Thursday as the No. 24 Buckeyes held off the Boilermakers, 63-61, in Indianapolis.
The No. 5 seed Buckeyes needed stops on its final two defensive possessions to secure victory over No. 12 seed Purdue.
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Leading, 62-60, with under 10 seconds remaining, Ohio State senior Lenzelle Smith Jr., stole the ball on a botched dribble hand-off between Purdue guards -- and brothers -- Ronnie and Terone Johnson.
Smith (nine points) knocked down one of two free throws with 5.1 seconds remaining to give Ohio State a 63-60 lead and the Buckeyes opted to foul Ronnie Johnson (12 points) with 2.8 seconds left to prevent a tying three-point attempt.
Johnson made the first free throw attempt and his purposely-missed second free throw attempt was knocked out of bounds by the Buckeyes’ Smith with 1.6 seconds left. Purdue guard Terone Johnson (10 points) had a three-point attempt from the left wing on the final shot for the win, but it went off the back iron and missed.
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LaQuinton Ross led the Buckeyes with 19 points and 15 rebounds in a monster effort for the junior wing, while senior guard Aaron Craft added 16 points, five assists and three steals, including a critical steal with under a minute remaining to extend an Ohio State possession that led to foul and two Smith free throws when the Buckeyes led by a point.
No. 12 seed Purdue (15-17) had four players in double-figures, led by sophomore center A.J. Hammons, who finished with 15 points.
Ohio State (24-8) advances to face No. 4 seed Nebraska in the second game of the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals on Friday.