For the second day in a row, the Ohio State Buckeyes showed championship-resolve in pressure-packed moments.
Despite a furious comeback from the Boilermakers, Ohio State beat Purdue 87-78 in overtime to set up a rematch with their archrivals. The Buckeyes will play in the Big Ten semifinals on Saturday against No. 1 seed Michigan. Tip off from Lucas Oil Stadium is set for 1 p.m. It's their first trip to the Big Ten semifinals in seven years.
The Buckeyes led by 18 points at the half, but hit just 6-of-26 shots in the second half and couldn't get off a game-winning attempt at the end of regulation as Purdue stormed back to force overtime. But down both Kyle Young and E.J. Liddell in the extra session, Seth Towns and Duane Washington Jr. stepped up for the Buckeyes to push them to victory.
Young and Washington Jr. stole the show in the first half. Young buried four 3-pointers in the first 20 minutes on the way to a career-high 18 points by the break. Meanwhile, Washington hit three 3's within two minutes late in the half and cashed in 13 points by the intermission.
The first 20 minutes featured perhaps the best offensive showcase Chris Holtmann's team has posted all year. They scored an almost unimaginable 1.531 points per possession. Most of that efficiency came after the first 10 minutes were a bit sporadic. The Buckeyes led 18-15 exactly halfway through the game, but closed with 31 points over the next 10 minutes and shot 56 percent from the floor for the half.
But for as well as the Buckeyes played in the first half, the second half start was not ideal. E.J. Liddell got called for a hook-and-hold flagrant 1 foul under the basket, his second foul in the first two minutes of the half.
Jaden Ivey's 3-pointer with 15:38 on the clock forced Chris Holtmann to call timeout with Purdue off to a 12-4 start to the half. In fact, he hit three 3's in two minutes time and kept Purdue within striking distance. The Buckeyes led 56-46 with 14:54 in the half.
Meanwhile, Kyle Young and the team's athletic training staff went to a treatment area behind the bench during that timeout. Young took an elbow to the head from Trevion Williams during a scrum in the paint two minutes prior to the timeout. After being treated, Young was seated on the top row of the bleacher-style, socially-distanced bench behind his teammates with a towel over his head and appeared to be in considerable pain. Young eventually headed to the locker room and never returned.
The Buckeyes hit only 3-of-10 to start the half over the first 8:24, but still led Purdue by 13 points. They were able to hit a few foul shots, but the Scarlet and Gray hit only one of their first 10 3-pointers of the half. Liddell's 3-ball with 15:20 marked that only long-range shot, which was notable because OSU didn't hit another shot from the field until Musa Jallow scored with exactly 7:00 to play.
And yet, despite the scoring drought from the field, Purdue only got five points closer over that 8-minute stretch because the Buckeyes kept converting from the free throw line.
With just over five minutes to play, Liddell picked up his fourth foul, which put the Buckeyes in a pinch. At that point, Jallow already had four and Young was still in the locker room. So Chris Holtmann went with Walker, Justice Sueing, Washington Jr., Justin Ahrens and Towns. The Buckeyes took that lineup to the media timeout with things starting to slip away.
Liddell had scored right before picking up the foul, but the Buckeyes then missed their next eight shots over a 5-minute stretch. With 1:40 to play, Trevion Williams (who finished the game with a double-double) hit a turnaround hook shot to bring the score to 70-68. He then tied the game with 46.5 seconds when he hit a similar shot while backing down Zed Key.
Sueing drew a foul while driving to the rim with 23.7 to play. He hit both shots to give OSU a brief 72-70 lead. Purdue called a timeout and got the matchup they wanted - Williams on Key. Williams hit a reverse lay-in with 9.6 to play to tie the game at 72-72.
Walker had a chance to win the game for the Buckeyes, but the ball was jarred loose as he drove to the basket and he never got a shot off.
As overtime began, Walker's fast-break lay-up and Towns' 3-ball gave the Buckeyes a 78-74 lead halfway through the 5-minute session. But Liddell fouled out on the next possession and the Scarlet and Gray were down each of their front court starters with Young unable to return.
Then Towns hit another jumper and Washington cashed in an open triple-try to give the Buckeyes an 83-76 lead with just over a minute to play. The Buckeyes eventually outscored Purdue 15-6 in overtime to win by nine.
Much more to come from Indianapolis after Chris Holtmann's postgame press conference, which can be streamed live on our website and on our YouTube channel.
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