By SEAN BOCK Ohio State needed a Keita Bates-Diop tip-in with 2.8 seconds left to knock off No. 3 Purdue in West Lafayette on Wednesday night, the Boilermakers first loss in Mackey Arena since Nov. 14, 2016.
With the win, the Buckeyes (21-5, 12-1 Big Ten) are now the conference leaders, surpassing No. 4 Michigan State and Purdue. “I would ask: what’d you have to drink?” Ohio State head coach Chris Holtmann said after the game if someone would have told him his team would be at the top of the Big Ten at this point when he took over in June.
Keita Bates-Diop’s put-back gives Ohio State yet another signature win. pic.twitter.com/N3MEkXguBu— James Grega Jr. (@JGrega11) February 8, 2018
Following its only conference loss on Jan. 25 at home against Penn State, the Buckeyes have won three straight games and are in fantastic position to win the Big Ten outright. ESPN Bracketologist Joe Lunardi has four Big Ten teams in his latest bracket – Purdue, Ohio State, Michigan State, and Michigan – but that number could get to five or six due to the recent performances of Nebraska and Penn State. An Ohio State loss would have left the Buckeyes two games behind the Boilermakers and given Matt Painter’s squad a two-game lead. Instead, Holtmann’s group is in sole possession of the conference, and own the tiebreaker over Purdue. The Boilermakers, one of the top shooting teams in the country, weren’t their usual self on the offensive end especially down the stretch as Ohio State outscored them 13-5 in the final 5:13. Purdue will need to regroup quickly, as they head to East Lansing for its next matchup on Feb. 10 against Michigan State. The Buckeyes will be in action on the same day but will have it a little easier as they host Iowa in Columbus.
Ohio State was picked 11th in the Big Ten. They’re now in 1st place.1-Ohio State – 12-1
2. Purdue – 12-1
3. Michigan State 11-2 pic.twitter.com/6ic4NUQFwD — Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) February 8, 2018