The Buckeye Nation woke up whistling a happy tune this morning. The Basketball Buckeyes crushed the Purdue Boilermakers, 87-64, in what was easily Ohio State’s most complete and dominating game of the season. The Buckeyes pulled away from a solid Purdue team from the opening tip, never trailed, and inexorably increased their lead, which at times exceeded 30 points in the second half. With the win, the Buckeyes opened up a two-game lead in the Big Ten conference race.
This was a game where Ohio State was hitting on all cylinders. The team played lockdown defense on the Boilermakers throughout the game. Although Purdue’s ace center JaJuan Johnson scored 22 points, the rest of the squad was neutralized and seemingly baffled by the Buckeyes’ tough defense. The Buckeyes beat the Boilermakers like a drum on the boards. Ohio State’s hustle and grit, at times, seemed to catch the Boilermakers flat-footed, such as when Jon Diebler rebounded a miss on the front end of a one-on-one as the Purdue players napped.
Offensively, the Buckeyes rained in three-pointers, took Purdue defenders to the rack, and watched Jared Sullinger work his magic on the blocks. The game continued the season-long coming out party of Ohio State’s excellent freshmen — Sullinger, Aaron Craft, and Deshaun Thomas, each of whom made mighty contributions to the victory — and saw the Buckeyes outrebound and consistently outbattle the Boilermakers. David Lighty, Diebler, and William Buford, who together form the heart of the Buckeyes’ steady corps of experienced players, also had tremendous games.
The rout was a complete team effort that must have warmed the hearts of head coach Thad Matta and his staff. As impressive as the win was, however, it is only one game. The challenge for Coach Matta and his assistants will be to continue the development of their talented players and to challenge and inspire them to reach even greater heights during the rest of the Big Ten schedule and into the NCAA tournament.
Next up for the Buckeyes is a road test Saturday against Northwestern. It will give Buckeye fans some time to savor a very satisfying win.