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Ohio State vs Purdue

Career day from Ross helps Ohio State subdue Purdue

CBSSports.com wire reports
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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- No. 3 Ohio State relied on a rare commodity to derail Purdue's young shooters Tuesday.

Experience.

LaQuinton Ross finished with 25 points and 12 rebounds, both career-highs, and Shannon Scott added a career-best 18 points to help the Buckeyes pull away for a 78-69 win at Purdue -- a victory that kept Ohio State among the shrinking group of teams that will take a perfect record into 2014.

"I thought down the stretch our veterans were as good as they could be," Ohio State coach Thad Matta said.

It's an unusual luxury for Ohio State, which has seen a regular parade of underclassmen leave early for the NBA Draft. The list includes Greg Oden and Mike Conley to Jared Sullinger and Deshaun Thomas.

Things are different this season. The Buckeyes have started the same two seniors and the same three juniors in all 14 games, so when things got tough in Tuesday's Big Ten opener, the older Buckeyes buckled down and came up big every time Ohio State needed a play.

Ross and Scott, both juniors, combined for all of the points in a decisive 10-2 second-half run that finally gave Ohio State some breathing room. And, of course, the wily Aaron Craft continually turned Purdue miscues into game-changing moments. Craft finished with seven points, eight rebounds, 10 assists and four steals against a team coming into the game with four of the Big Ten's top 10 freshman scorers, two of the league's most dangerous sophomores and a perfect 8-0 record on their home court.

"Ten assists and zero turnovers speaks for itself," Purdue coach Matt Painter said after losing to the Buckeyes for the fourth straight time. "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, especially when they're 6-foot-2."

The combination has the Buckeyes (14-0, 1-0) rolling.

Ohio State started the day as one of the nation's eight remaining unbeaten teams. It left Mackey Arena with the fifth-longest winning streak in one season in school history and the school's best start since going 24-0 in 2010-11, and the Buckeyes did that on a day they shot 44.6 percent from the field, went 4 of 22 on 3-pointers and were outrebounded 46-37.

Instead, the Buckeyes dug down defensively.

Yes, Purdue sophomore A.J. Hammons produced one of the most complete games of his career. He finished with a season-best 18 points, 16 rebounds and four assists, both career highs, and five blocks. Another sophomore, Ronnie Johnson, had 16 points and Johnson's older brother, Terone, finished with 13 points, nine rebounds and five assists.

But the Buckeyes suddenly staunch defense still made it tough. Hammons was just 6 of 16 from the field and accounted for four of Purdue's 12 turnovers. The Boilermakers shot just 41.8 percent from the field, were 3 of 14 on 3-pointers and lost for only the second time in seven games -- a telltale sign of how the Buckeyes' unflappable veterans will respond to challenges.

"That's something [experience] that we haven't had the luxury of having very much at Ohio State," Matta said. "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 still showed how much it has learned over the years.

After a topsy-turvy first half, in which neither team led by more than four points, and with the Buckeyes' top two centers getting into foul trouble defending Hammons, Ohio State managed to find a way out.

It made a concerted effort early in the second half to push the ball inside, extending a 34-33 halftime to 44-39. Forty-five seconds later, Terone Johnson tied the score with a 3. Hammons tied it again at 46 on a tip-in with 13:57 left.

Then the Buckeyes veterans took over.

After using a 6-0 run to finally take a 52-46 lead with 10:35 to go, Scott and Ross went on a personal scoring spree. Each of the juniors scored five points in the decisive 10-2 spurt that pushed the lead to 65-53 with 6:17 remaining -- and this time, it was too much for Purdue to overcome. The Boilermakers couldn't get closer than five the rest of the way.

"That might be one of his best games," Matta said when asked about Craft's performance. "I mean, what do you say? His poise, he had great reads on penetration."

Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
 
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LaQuinton Ross piles up a career high in points (25) and rebounds (12) as Ohio State improves to 14-0 for the season.  (USATSI)
LaQuinton Ross piles up a career high in points (25) and rebounds (12) as Ohio State improves to 14-0 for the season. (USATSI)
Scoreboard
Ohio State #3 (14-0) «344478
Purdue (10-4)333669
OHIOST:L. Ross 25 Pts
OHIOST:L. Ross 12 Reb
OHIOST:A. Craft 10 Ast
PURDUE:A. Hammons 18 Pts
PURDUE:A. Hammons 16 Reb
PURDUE:T. Johnson 5 Ast

Related Video

 
PLAYERS OF THE GAME
Ohio StatePurdue
OHIOST
LaQuinton Ross
PURDUE
A.J. Hammons
PtsRebsAstPtsRebsAst
2512018164
Ohio State Buckeyes
A. Craft, G403-81-381027
L. Smith Jr., G366-132-534014
S. Scott, G336-114-553118
L. Ross, F338-179-11120125
A. Williams, C143-30-03146
S. Thompson, F180-50-01030
M. Loving, F163-70-03138
T. McDonald, C70-10-01230
A. Della Valle, G30-00-00000
A. Goldstein, GDid Not Play
J. Lorbach, FDid Not Play
K. Williams, GDid Not Play
Totals 29-6516-2436211778
 44.6%66.7% 
Purdue Boilermakers
A. Hammons, C336-166-8164118
T. Johnson, G326-130-095113
R. Johnson, G297-131-113216
B. Smotherman, F224-61-43039
R. Davis, G182-30-03025
K. Stephens, G201-52-30104
E. Peck, F181-50-06012
B. Scott, G151-20-03042
S. Carter, G80-30-01020
J. Simpson, F50-10-03130
T. Carroll, FDid Not Play
N. Beshears, FDid Not Play
S. Toyra, GDid Not Play
A. Brown, GDid Not Play
J. McKeeman, GDid Not Play
Totals 28-6710-1645141969
 41.8%62.5% 
Big Ten
TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
Maryland0-010-144
Penn St.0-010-139
Wisconsin0-010-114
Ohio St.0-09-137
Indiana0-08-2143
Minnesota0-08-275
Illinois0-08-365
Iowa0-08-3101
Michigan St.0-08-325
Purdue0-08-3119
Nebraska0-06-3116
Michigan0-06-4104
Northwestern0-06-4145
Rutgers0-06-494
 
Other games
DUKE 86 Final
ELON 48
EMU 48 Final
SYR 70
LOU 90 Final
UCF 65
UNCW 51 Final
UNC 84
MIST 79 Final
PSU 63
NEB 57 Final
IOWA 67
NIU 63 Final
ISU 99
MEMP 88 Final
USF 73
NOVA 76 Final
BUT 73
CONN 71 Final
HOU 75