WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — With Mackey Arena rocking and the game slipping away, Ohio State responded with something the home team had not seen all season.
Keita Bates-Diop hit a put-back with 2.8 seconds to play as the No. 14 Buckeyes stunned No. 3 Purdue 64-63 on Wednesday in a battle of the two top teams in the Big Ten. The result snapped Purdue’s 19-game winning streak and served as its first Big Ten loss.
Ohio State forward Keita Bates-Diop, left, celebrates with teammates Andrew Dakich, right, and Joey Lane after defeating Purdue 64-63.
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Ohio State trailed by as many as 14 in the second half, but put together their fourth double-digit comeback in Big Ten play and are now the Big Ten’s No. 1 seed with five games to play.
The final play attempted to find Bates-Diop off an inbound pass, but the ball found him anyway after Jae’Sean Tate missed the initial try.
“J.T. went left, and I knew if he was going to miss, he was going to miss long,” Bates-Diop said. “I went in for the offensive rebound, and nobody boxed me out.”
Bates-Diop finished with 18 points to lead OSU, while Andre Wesson chipped in 13.
Purdue’s Vincent Edwards erupted for 28 points. Isaac Haas scored 18, but only two in the second half.
The Buckeyes (21-5, 12-1) and Boilermakers came into the game with one combined conference loss, the fewest for two power-conference opponents this late in the season in 20 years.
Purdue (24-3, 12-1 Big Ten) and Ohio State are now tied atop the league standings with the Boilermakers headed to Michigan State on Saturday.
“In a coach’s mind, it’s still early,” Buckeyes coach Chris Holtmann said. “To others, it might not be early. Our goal really throughout the season has been to commit to consistent improvement.
“But obviously, anybody playing in this league would like to win their league.”
Ohio State did not hit the rim until its third possession, turned over the ball three times before it scored, and did not find the bottom of the net until its 10th touch. Once Tate broke the Buckeyes’ scoring drought with a layup, the Buckeyes suddenly found a rhythm.
OSU scored on five of six possessions, a spurt of 11 points in fewer than three minutes that gave the Buckeyes the lead.
Purdue’s size, however, was something the Buckeyes simply couldn’t match. Haas and his 7-foot-2 frame was a force, as Haas drew three fouls on Buckeyes center Kaleb Wesson before the game was 15 minutes old and scored 16 points in the first half.
Haas and Vincent Edwards combined for 28 points in the first half, but the Buckeyes held the rest of the Boilermakers to three points. Coupled with a 7-0 run to finish the half, Ohio State went into halftime trailing by just two points, 31-29.
Haas drew a fourth foul on Kaleb Wesson just more than three minutes into the second half, forcing Ohio State to bring Wesson to the bench for a prolonged stretch.
With Kaleb Wesson out of the game, Purdue began pulling away thanks to its shooting. Purdue connected on four 3-pointers in the span of 2 minutes, 30 seconds that created a nine-point lead and forced Holtmann to call timeout.
Ohio State forward Jae'Sean Tate, right, tries to shoot around Purdue defenders Vincent Edwards, left, and Matt Haarms on Wednesday.
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Carsen Edwards hit another 3 and was fouled in the process, then made a layup to give Purdue a 14-point lead at 53-39.
“I did not like our offensive possessions at the start of the second half, which I think fueled their run a little bit,” Holtmann said. “Listen: they’re really, really good. Carsen Edwards got rolling on us, and he’s a load.”
The Buckeyes answered with a 9-0 run capped by a jumper from Bates-Diop. Andre Wesson buried a three two possessions later to cut the deficit to four.
Vincent Edwards connected on a 3 in response, but the Buckeyes responded with another run — 7-0 — to cut Purdue’s lead to one with 3 minutes, 51 seconds to play.
“If you’re in the last five minutes with a one or two-possession [game], hey, that’s where you want to be,” Holtmann said. “That’s where you relish being.”
After C.J. Jackson trimmed the lead to one, Andre Wesson banked in a 3-pointer to give the Buckeyes their first lead in 36 minutes.
On the other end, Vincent Edwards scored plus a foul to take the lead, setting up the final possession.
The Buckeyes missed twice on their final possession, but Bates-Diop saved the day with a rebound and putback.
It was his 103rd made field goal of the season == but none was bigger than the basket that snapped Purdue’s unbeaten streak.
“That’s No. 1,” Bates-Diop said, smiling. “By far.”
Keita Bates-Diop silences a raucous Mackey Arena with the late putback. pic.twitter.com/i7ouLWY1c1— Nick Piotrowicz (@NickPiotrowicz) February 8, 2018
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