COLUMBUS, Ohio — When Purdue and Ohio State faceoff Sunday
in West Lafayette, it will be with the Big Ten title on the line.
Buckeyes Know Purdue
By Brandon Castel
still five games to play in the regular season, but a win for the Buckeyes will
give them a three-game stranglehold on the rest of the conference.
A victory for the Boilermakers would make it race again with
only one game separating the top two teams in the Big Ten heading into the
final four-game stretch.
“It's going to be a crazy atmosphere,” senior David Lighty
“They're trying to win a Big Ten championship just like us,
so they'll be ready and will have high energy."
The Boilermakers (21-5, 10-3 Big Ten) are riding a
three-game winning streak into Sunday’s matchup with No. 2 Ohio State (25-1,
12-1), but they will be motivated by more than just a chance to knock off one
of the top teams in the country.
They accomplished that feat Wednesday with a 70-62 win over
10th-ranked Wisconsin, but the last time they faced off against the
Buckeyes, it was all Ohio State.
“It was probably the one game this year where we flat got it stuck
to us,” Purdue Head Coach Matt Painter said of his team’s 87-64 loss in
Columbus back on Jan. 25.
What should have been a back-and-forth battle between two of the top teams in
the country quickly turned in a one-sided rout. Led by William Buford, the
Buckeyes came out firing and never looked back. They led by as many as 31
before settling in for a 23-point victory.
“They not just shot the ball well, they played well and
played very, very hard,” Painter said.
“Hopefully, we can learn from that day and do a better job
of competing on Sunday.”
Ohio State had six players in double-figures and shot
55-percent from the floor in the first meeting. They also made 11 of their 19
shots from behind the arc, but it was their defense that really set the tone
for a blowout.
“I think just the way we came out defensively,” Lighty said.
“It really took them out of their rhythm and they never
Buford connected on a pair of threes to open the game and
Ohio State led 27-11 in the early going. The junior out of Toledo connected on
five threes as the Buckeyes continued to poor it on Purdue for 36 minutes.
The Boilermakers got 22 points and seven rebounds from
JaJuan Johnson along with 16 points from E’Twaun Moore, but Purdue had no one
else in double-figures.
“There are certain times when things go well for one team
and maybe not as well for the other team. I’ve been on both sides of that
fence,” OSU Head Coach Thad Matta said.
“We obviously have a great amount of respect for Purdue and
we know how good they are. We’d like to take that blueprint, but I don’t think
they will let us duplicate it.”
Purdue has not lost at Mackey Arena this season, going a
perfect 14-0. Their three Big Ten losses came at Minnesota, Ohio State and
They recently avenged their loss to the Badgers, and will be extra
motivated to do the same against the Buckeyes Sunday (1 p.m. ET, CBS) after the
way things went in Columbus.
“I think anytime you get embarrassed, it serves as
motivation,” Painter said.
“Whether it's basketball or life, nobody likes to be
embarrassed. You have to give Ohio
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