Purdue drops Ohio State
Whether he was knocking down one of his seven three-pointers, making an acrobatic layup or draining a jumper in the closing seconds of the first half, the senior guard seemed at ease. He scored a career-high 38 points to help No. 11 Purdue beat No. 2 Ohio State, 76-63, on Sunday.
His teammates saw it coming.
“I know once he gets that rhythm going and steps back and hits a 3 and once he smiles, you know he has it going,” guard Lewis Jackson said. “E’Twaun, he may put his fingers up and tell you he hit a three-pointer, but he rarely smiles. Once he smiles, he’s in a zone, and you probably won’t stop him that night.”
Purdue (22-5, 11-3 Big Ten) has had much to smile about in the past week. The Boilermakers defeated No. 10 Wisconsin on Wednesday, and their two wins over Top 10 teams brought them within a game of the Buckeyes (25-2, 12-2) for the conference lead with four games to play.
Purdue’s victory capped a week that saw the top four teams in the AP Top 25 lose a game. With losses in the past week by No. 1 Kansas, No. 3 Texas and No. 4 Pittsburgh, the Buckeyes entered the game in line to reclaim the No. 1 ranking they dropped after losing at Wisconsin on Feb. 12.
Ohio State coach Thad Matta knew his team was playing in a rough stretch, and he expected challenges.
“We’ve got to continue to keep our focus,” he said. “Our guys know we have to play better basketball, and we have to get them ready to do that.”
Ohio State center Jared Sullinger, who scored 25 points, said this game was nothing like Ohio State’s 87-64 win over Purdue on Jan. 25.
“In that game, we had toughness to not get screened, toughness to make shots, toughness to make plays
on the defensive end, and we didn’t do that today,” he said.
Jon Diebler scored 11 points and David Lighty and Aaron Craft each had 10 for the Buckeyes, who have lost two of three after winning their first 24 games.
Moore surpassed 2,000 career points during a flurry of 13 in the final 3:49 of the first half, becoming the fifth player in school history to reach the milestone.
“Right now, it’s just numbers to me,” Moore said. “I still have a career and games to play.”
Moore made 13 of 18 shots and had five assists and two steals. Purdue coach Matt Painter said Moore’s performance was extra special because it came against Lighty, whom Painter considers the best defensive guard in the Big Ten.
JaJuan Johnson added 13 points and six rebounds for Purdue.
Diebler entered the game one three-pointer short of the Big Ten career record of 331 set by Penn State’s Pete Lisicky from 1994-1998. Diebler tied the record on a fadeaway as the shot clock expired that gave Ohio State an 11-5 lead, and broke it on a shot from the right corner 1 minute into the second half.
Purdue shot 51 percent overall after hitting just 38 percent in the first matchup.
“We’re not playing team defense,” Sullinger said. “We need five guys connected. Once we get that back, we’re going to be all right.”
Ohio State shot 6 for 22 from the field and committed nine turnovers in the second half.
“We need to execute better on offense,” Diebler said. “We had some turnovers that were self-imposed. That’s the beauty of college basketball. We’ve got another game Tuesday.”