Moore Torches Buckeyes for 38
By Brandon Castel
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Despite being without their two best offensive weapons for much of the first half, Ohio State trailed Purdue by just two points after David Lighty knocked down a three with 19 seconds to play in the half.
The second-ranked Buckeyes had to feel like they had weathered the storm, but E’Twaun Moore went the length of the court and hit a fall-away jumper over the finger tips of David Lighty to give the Boilermakers a 37-33 halftime lead.
It was only one shot, but it exemplified Moore’s performance Sunday. The Boilermaker senior torched Ohio State for a career-high 38 points in a 76-63 win over the Buckeyes (25-2, 12-2 Big Ten).
“To beat a great team like Ohio State, someone had to be special,” Purdue coach Matt Painter said.
“That was E’Twaun tonight.”
After scoring 16 points in Purdue’s 87-64 loss in Columbus earlier in the season, Moore was unstoppable on his home floor. He made 13 of his 18 shots from the floor, including 7-of-10 from behind the arc. He also grabbed four rebounds and dished out five assists in one of the best single-game performances of the college basketball season.
“He was spectacular,” OSU Head Coach Thad Matta said.
“That was the difference, and we didn’t have Evan Turner today either. E’Twaun was as good as I’ve seen and Purdue could have beaten anyone in the country today.”
Turner scored 23 of his career-high 32 points in the second-half of last year’s game, as the Buckeyes rallied from a 12-point deficit at halftime to defeat Purdue (22-5, 11-3) in West Lafayette.
Without him, Ohio State was just 6-of-22 shooting in the second half Sunday, and 1-of-8 from behind the arc. They also turned the ball over nine times in each half for a total of 18 in the game as they were outscored 39-30 down the stretch.
“We had a couple offensive fouls, we stepped out of bounds, we threw some balls away, which is uncharacteristic,” Matta said.
“We couldn’t make a shot in the second half. I thought we had some really, really good looks that didn’t go down for us. They were able to knock some balls away from out of the post.”
The Buckeyes made up for some of their inefficiencies on offense by out-rebounding Purdue (32-30) and hitting their free throws. They were 17-of-19 at the line in the second half, and 23-of-29 for the game, but every time they tried to make a run in the second half, Purdue responded with a big basket at the other end.
“We just couldn’t ever put the stops together. We were disheveled in the first half, with Will (Buford) playing eight minutes and Jared (Sullinger) playing 12 or 13,” Matta said.
“There in the second half, as good as E’Twaun Moore was, the back-breakers we gave up a couple easy baskets off the ball. Those are things you can’t do against a great team.”
Sullinger overcame his foul trouble to finish with 25 points and six rebounds in 33 minutes, but Buford never seemed to find the rhythm after sitting for 12 minutes in the first half.
“It’s hard to get into the flow of the game when you sat out so much,” senior Jon Diebler said.
“Will’s a great player and we tried to get him going. He was aggressive, which is good because when he’s aggressive it opens things up for everybody else.”
After six-straight games in double-figures—including 21 and 23 in the last two—Buford was held to just seven points Sunday on 1-of-5 shooting. He combined with David Lighty and Deshaun Thomas—who played 12 minutes off the bench—to go 3-of-20 from the floor.
“One of the big problems we had today was Will, Dave and Deshuan combine for 3-for-20, and that’s kind of been our downfall,” Matta said.
“It’s not their fault that we didn’t win, but we have to make a few of those shots there.”
Despite the poor shooting performance, and the turnovers, the Buckeyes cut the deficit to five points with 7:15 to play after Sullinger threw down a monstrous dunk in transition off a bounce pass from Lighty. Sullinger completed the three-point play to make it 56-51, but Moore scored over Aaron Craft at the other end and Purdue quickly built its lead back up to 10.
Ohio State was able to cut their lead down to four with 2:34 to play, but once against Moore responded with a dagger three at the other end as the Boilermakers pulled away for a 13-point victory.
“I’ve always thought Purdue was a great basketball (team). You’ve got two of the best players in the country in E’Twaun Moore and JaJuan Johnson. That’s what seniors do,” Matta said.
“They’re 22-5; they’re a great basketball team. Here today they were rolling.”
With the win, Purdue pulls to within one game of Ohio State in the Big Ten standings with four games left to play. The Boilermakers play three of their last four on the road, while the Buckeyes are home for all but one of their remaining games.
Game Play by Play
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