Buckeyes battle Boilermakers in Big Ten brawl

9:40 AM, Jan 8, 2013   |    comments
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West Lafayette, IN (Sports Network) - The 15th-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes will attempt to bounce back as they visit Mackey Arena to battle the Purdue Boilermakers in a Big Ten Conference tilt.

Thad Matta's Buckeyes rolled past Nebraska in their conference opener with a 26-point victory, but they suffered their worst loss of the season at Illinois on Saturday to fall to .500 in the Big Ten standings. All three of Ohio State's losses have come to ranked opponents and it has defeated the rest of its foes by 10 points or more. The Buckeyes are the only team in the conference to appear in the top three in both scoring offense (76.0) and scoring defense (57.7).

Purdue managed to hold off Illinois to pick up an eight-point victory in its first taste of Big Ten action, but it was defeated by 23 points at Michigan State on Saturday. The Boilermakers are 105-18 overall and 48-14 under coach Matt Painter at Mackey Arena.

Ohio State knows how tough it is to come out of West Lafayette with a win. Purdue upset the No. 2 Buckeyes by 13 points the last time they visited Mackey Arena. Ohio State has won three of the last four meetings to take a narrow 84-83 all-time series lead.

Ohio State struggled on the offensive end last time out, as it converted just 33.3 percent of its field goal attempts and committed 16 turnovers. Deshaun Thomas continued to build his Player of the Year Award resume by tallying 24 points and Aaron Craft netted 11 in the loss. Thomas leads the Big Ten with 20.2 ppg and Craft is third in assists with 4.9 helpers per outing. Lenzelle Smith Jr. is also a key component offensively with 11.4 points and 5.2 rebounds per contest.

The Boilermakers appeared to have found consistency on the offensive end as they hit 41 percent or more of their shots from the floor in four consecutive games. However, they were unable to continue that trend in their lopsided loss in East Lansing. Purdue went 24-of-61 from the floor and just 9-of-20 at the charity stripe as A.J. Hammons matched a personal best with 20 points. Terone Johnson scored a career-high 25 points as Purdue beat 11th-ranked Illinois last week. The junior guard struggled against Michigan State though, finishing with 11 points on 5-of-19 shooting. Johnson still paces the team with 13.1 ppg, while Hammons and D.J. Byrd contribute 10.1 ppg each.

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