COLUMBUS — Ohio State men’s basketball had possibly their biggest test of the season thus far on Thursday evening, as they hosted the top-ranked team in the country in Purdue.
The Buckeyes came into the game riding a three-game win streak, while Purdue was coming off their first loss of the season, a one-point loss at home to Rutgers on Monday.
The Boilermakers are led by one of the top players in the nation in 7’4” center Zach Edey.
The Buckeyes were without starting forward Zed Key for most of the game, as he suffered a shoulder sprain just a few minutes into the contest.
This left true freshman Felix Okpara tasked with guarding Edey for much of the game. Edey finished with just four points at the half on two of six shooting from the field.
At the half, Ohio State led 36-33, thanks to a late three-pointer from Eugene Brown III.
True freshman Brice Sensabaugh led the Buckeyes with 13 points at the half.
There were several lead changes throughout the second half, with neither team leading by more than two possessions.
The final two minutes of regulation were intense to say the least.
With 1:57 remaining in the contest and the Buckeyes trailing by one, Okpara was fouled hard by Edey.
Okpara was sent to the charity stripe where he made the first free throw to tie the game. The second attempt was off, but an offensive rebound by Justice Sueing allowed the Buckeyes to regain possession.
OSU head coach Chris Holtmann would use a timeout to regroup. Out of the timeout, Ohio State would use much of the shot clock but were unable to get a shot to fall.
Purdue pushed the ball down the floor and used a timeout with 1:14 remaining.
The Buckeyes were able to get a stop and called a timeout on their end of the floor with 59.5 seconds left in the contest.
Ohio State took the lead on a huge three pointer from Sean McNeil. Purdue called a timeout with 40.3 seconds to go, trailing 69-66.
The Boilermakers got a quick two-point bucket from Edey and called a timeout with 28.3 seconds left, down 69-68.
The Buckeyes turned the ball over on the ensuing inbound, giving Purdue the ball with a chance to win the game. They would call their final timeout with 17.5 seconds left.
Fletcher Loyer drilled a three from the wing to give the Boilermakers a 71-69 lead, and OSU would call their final timeout with six seconds left.
Purdue’s defense didn’t allow for the Buckeyes to get a good look at the basket, and a last-second shot attempt fell short, leaving the final score: Purdue 71, Ohio State 69.
Statistically for the Buckeyes, Sensabaugh led the team with 21 points, followed by Sueing with 15, Bruce Thornton with eight, McNeil with seven, Tanner Holden and Roddy Gayle Jr. with four, Brown III with three, and Isaac Likekele with two points.
Ohio State was 29 of 58 from the floor for 50 percent and 6 of 14 from three for 43 percent. They were 5 of 7 from the free throw line for 71 percent and committed just seven turnovers.
Statistically for Purdue, Edey and Braden Smith led the team with 16 points each, followed by Loyer with 11, Ethan Morton with 10, David Jenkins Jr. With nine, Mason Gillis with six, and Caleb Furst with three.
Edey led the team with 11 rebounds, securing the double-double.
The Boilermakers were 25 of 58 from the field for 43 percent and 13 of 31 from beyond the arc for 42 percent. They shot 8 of 10 from the free throw line for 80 percent and committed 14 turnovers.
Ohio State (10-4, 2-1) is back in action on Sunday on the road against Maryland. Purdue (14-1, 3-1) plays again on Sunday as well, when they visit Penn State.