West Lafayette, Ind. — Ohio State’s Keita Bates-Diop managed to end the nation’s longest winning streak and shook up the Big Ten title race Wednesday night.
All it took was one big basket.
His putback with 2.8 seconds left capped Ohio State’s final charge, gave the 14th-ranked Buckeyes a 64-63 victory and ended No. 3 Purdue’s school-record 19-game winning streak.
“No. 1 by far,” Bates-Diop said when asked about ranking the final shot, which gave him 18 points and 11 rebounds. “I knew if Tate was going to miss he was going to miss long, so I just went in for the offensive rebound.”
The Buckeyes celebrated on the court and each received their own set of cheers from a smattering of scarlet-and-gray clad fans when they returned to the court, aware they had a share of the league lead.
It was a stunning conclusion to a gritty game.
The Boilermakers (23-3, 12-1 Big Ten) seemed to have control after taking a 14-point lead with 10:17 left and still led 58-51 with 5:29 to go.
But Ohio State finished on a 13-5 spurt and Isaac Haas’ 8-footer at the buzzer came up short for Purdue.
Now, suddenly, Ohio State (21-5, 12-1) has the inside track to the conference title with wins over the Boilermakers and No. 4 Michigan State, which is one game behind the co-leaders. And with home games against Iowa and Rutgers and trips to Penn State and Indiana left, the biggest remaining obstacle might be beating archrival Michigan in Ann Arbor on Feb. 18.
Of course, first-year coach Chris Holtmann isn’t looking that far ahead.
“We beat an incredible team and an incredible program tonight,” Holtmann said after winning his first game in Indiana since leaving Butler. “This may have been the best road environment I’ve ever coached in. What an environment. Players win games and our older guys did that.”
For Purdue, the loss marked the end of one of the greatest 2½-month stretches the tradition-rich school has ever seen.
They lost for the first time since Nov. 23, for the first time on American soil all season, for the first time in 22 home games and for the first time in 15 conference games.
Yet on a night when only four Boilermakers actually scored, they still nearly pulled it off.
Carsen Edwards finished with a career-high 28 points, had six rebounds and three assists. Haas scored 16 of his 18 points in the first half and Vincent Edwards wound up with 11 points, nine rebounds and gave Purdue a 63-62 lead by completing a three-point play with 51.7 seconds left.
But Andrew Dakich kept Ohio State’s ensuing possession alive by running down one rebound and Bates-Diop finished it off by grabbing the second and making the basket.
“I think it hurts, but you have to learn from it, honestly,” Haas said. “The things that got us beat in the Bahamas are what got us beat today with rebounding and turnovers.
The Buckeyes have won three straight and 11 of 12 and could now be the hottest team in the conference. They didn’t play great, shooting just 42.1 percent from the field and 6 of 18 on 3s. The difference Wednesday was they made all the plays when they counted most.
The hottest team in America kept finding ways to win — until their shooting touch went awry Wednesday. Make no mistake, Purdue remains one of the nation’s top teams and can still win a second straight conference crown. But losing this one, on the same night No. 1 Villanova also lost, will sting.
More Big Ten
(At) Penn State 74, Maryland 70: Lamar Stevens scored 25 points on 10-of-12 shooting with 14 points in the second half to lift Penn State.
Tony Carr added 16 points, Josh Reaves scored 14, and Mike Watkins had 11 for the Nittany Lions (17-9, 7-6 Big Ten Conference), who equaled their previous best mark for conference victories under coach Patrick Chambers.
Anthony Cowan Jr. led Maryland (16-10, 5-8) with 15 points while Kevin Huerter and Bruno Fernando added 13 apiece. Darryl Morsell had 10 points for the Terrapins, who cut a 10-point deficit with 8:11 to play to just three with 1:13 left.