Ohio State stays perfect with win over Purdue
West Lafayette, IN (SportsNetwork.com) - LaQuinton Ross had 25 points and 12 rebounds as the third-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes remained unbeaten with a 78-69 win over Purdue in the Big Ten opener for both teams.
Shannon Scott and Lenzelle Smith Jr. added 18 and 14 points, respectively, for the Buckeyes (14-0, 1-0 Big Ten), who have won eight of their last 10 conference openers.
Aaron Craft finished with just seven points, but had eight rebounds, 10 assists and four steals without a turnover.
"Ten assists and zero turnovers speaks for itself," Purdue coach Matt Painter said. "He gets eight defensive rebounds, and he's able to affect the game without scoring. There are not a lot of guys who can do that today."
A.J. Hammons scored 18 points to go with 16 rebounds and five blocks, Ronnie Johnson tallied 16 points and Terone Johnson poured in 13 points to go with nine rebounds and five assists for the Boilermakers (10-4, 0-1), who lost at Mackey Arena for the first time this season.
The score was tied 46-46 after Hammons tipped in a Terone Johnson miss, but Smith buried a jumper and Ross made back-to-back layups to give the Buckeyes a six-point spread with 10:39 remaining.
Just over four minutes later, Ross scored five straight points to give Ohio State a 65-53 lead at the 6:16 mark.
Purdue, though, countered with a 7-2 surge to pull within seven, 67-60, before shaving the deficit to 71-66 with a Terone Johnson jumper with 1:06 left.
The Buckeyes went 7-for-8 from the free throw line down the stretch and a Ronnie Johnson 3-pointer in the closing seconds accounted for the final margin.
"I thought down the stretch our veterans were as good as they could be," said Ohio State head coach Thad Matta. "I talk about it with our guys all the time, 'You've been through this before.' You know we never panicked and there's no drill that you can do in practice to give them experience."
Ohio State led 34-33 at the end of a back-and-forth first half.
The Buckeyes are 18-7 all-time on New Year's Eve ... Ohio State has won 14- straight games to open the season for the first time since 2011 when they started 24-0 ... The Buckeyes shot 44.6 percent (29-for-65) from the field. It was just the fourth time in nine games this month Ohio State has failed to shoot at least 52 percent from the floor ... Purdue won the battle of the boards by a 47-39 margin, but forced just six while giving it away 12 times ... Purdue holds an 83-80 advantage in the all-time series.
12/31 17:17:25 ET