These are the type of games Ohio State cannot afford to lose, and they are the most frustrating ones. Without leading scorer and rebounder EJ Liddell (15.5 PPG, 7.5 RPG), the Buckeyes shot poorly from the field, lacked crucial rebounding, and failed to overcome adversity as Purdue picked up the convincing 67-60 home win over the Buckeyes.
The Buckeyes had some interesting lineup changes for this game. Chris Holtmann went with Jimmy Sotos for CJ Walker, Musa Jallow for Justin Ahrens, and Zed Key for Kyle Young. Sotos, Jallow, and Key combined for just 15 points (6-13 shooting, 0-2 from three), while Walker, Ahrens, and Young combined for 15 as well (6-18 shooting, 1-6 from three). Whatever the reasons were for this change, it was not effective whatsoever. Duane Washington had 14 points but shot poorly (4-14 shooting, 2-9 from three). Justin Sueing was the only solid contributor for the Buckeyes, scoring 15 points (5-11 shooting, 2-5 from three). Overall, the Buckeyes had an inefficient 22-58 shooting from the field (37.9%) and just 6-24 from three-point range (25%). The Buckeyes did however shoot 10-13 from the free throw line (76.9%), a small silver lining. Not having Liddell showed how stagnant and inconsistent the Buckeyes offense can be, especially if threes are not falling.
Purdue Center Trevion Williams torched Ohio State with 16 points (6-12 shooting, 4-4 from the free throw line), 9 rebounds, and 8 assists off the bench. Eric Hunter Jr added another 15 points (6-11 shooting, 1-3 from three). Purdue shot poorly from three (6-20; 30%), but shot 25-53 from the field (47.2%). They also out-rebounded Ohio State 36-30, and had more assists (16-14), and 11-13 from the free throw line (84.6%). Purdue actually had 16 turnovers to Ohio State’s 13, but their massive size advantage proved troublesome for Ohio State. Ohio State’s tallest player was Ibrahim Diallo at 6’10”, but he plays sparingly. After him, Zed Key, Kyle Young, and EJ Liddell all range from 6’6″ to 6’8″. Justin Sueing and Seth Towns (still injured) are both 6’8″ as well. Purdue has multiple players at least 6’11” or taller. Ohio State’s interior defense was suspect at times, and they had some terrible turnovers to put their defense in a bad position.
Time for the Buckeyes to rebound following a loss, and it will be interesting to see how they perform coming off this loss. Due to circumstances with COVID-19, Ohio State will play UCLA (5-1) instead of #22 North Carolina in the CBS Sports Classic. This means North Carolina will play unranked Kentucky in a battle of historically great blue blood programs. It will certainly be tough for the Buckeyes, but hopefully they will come out victorious.
Next Game: 12/19 vs UCLA (Neutral Site) at 4:15 PM ET on CBS