The Buckeyes’ Cinderella run in the Big Ten Tournament came to a close Saturday in the conference semifinal round.
Ohio State (16-19), which became the first No. 13 seed to advance to the conference semifinals, led by as many as eight points in the first half, but No. 1 seed Purdue had a 9-0 advantage at the end of the opening period and didn’t give up the lead to halt the Buckeyes’ tournament run in an 80-66 loss.
Purdue (28-5) outscored Ohio State 15-6 in the first 10 minutes of the second half, and the Buckeyes made four shots in that span. Freshman guard Bruce Thornton made a layup with 7:44 to go to bring the Buckeyes within seven points, and Ohio State began to rally.
Taking advantage of a 6:50 span of one Purdue field goal, freshman center Felix Okpara made a free throw to bring the game to 61-55 with 5:43 left.
Boilermakers freshman guard Braden Smith got to the basket for a layup as 4:14 remained, and he made a pair of shots at the free throw line as part of an 8-0 Purdue run almost two minutes later that put the Boilermakers ahead by as many as 16 points.
Freshman guard Roddy Gayle Jr. topped his previous career high set Friday against No. 4 seed Michigan State by five points, scoring 20 to lead Ohio State alongside 5-of-6 shooting from 3-point range.
Redshirt senior forward Justice Sueing scored 15 points and went 6-for-6 at the free throw line. Thornton finished with nine points, which came in the second half, Okpara had seven as did junior guard Eugene Brown III who also had a team-high six rebounds.
The Buckeyes played with urgency after trailing 10-4 after the first three-plus minutes, keeping their early deficit fewer than six points.
Gayle took command and made four of his five first-half 3-pointers in the first 9:45, helping Ohio State flip the lead 26-19 during a 10-0 run midway through the period.
Gayle and the Buckeyes led by as large as 29-21 in the first half thanks to a 3-pointer by Sueing with 8:18 left. Ohio State shot 7-of-11 from distance in the first 20 minutes compared to Purdue’s 5-of-6 rate.
Boilermakers senior guard David Jenkins Jr. made a long 3-pointer to finish the first half over a 9-0 Purdue run, part of the Boilermakers’ greater 21-5 close over the final eight minutes. Purdue led 42-34 at halftime which saw both teams shooting over 50 percent from the field.
Junior center Zach Edey had a 32-point, 14-rebound double-double to lead Purdue. Boilermakers junior guard Brandon Newman scored 15 points and Smith tallied 14.
The Buckeyes shot 42 percent overall but 34.6 percent in the second half. Purdue held a 38-27 rebounding advantage and doubled Ohio State’s 18-point scoring output in the paint.
Ohio State’s season will likely come to an end as an at-large bid into the NCAA Tournament may be out of reach. A berth in the National Invitation Tournament, a 32-team bracket which last saw the Buckeyes appear in 2015-16, could be at play when it’s revealed Sunday.
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