Buckeyes show what future holds with Big Ten Tournament; but falls to tough Purdue in semifinals

Roddy Gayle Jr. drives against Purdue in Big 10 Tournament (courtesy OSU Athletic Communications)

CHICAGO, Ill. – What a week in Chicago. Ohio State became the first No. 13-seed to advance to the semifinals of the Big Ten Tournament, but its run ended on Saturday afternoon in an 80-66 loss to top-seeded Purdue.

The Buckeyes were 16-19 on the season but finished the year winning five of their final seven games.

Freshman Roddy Gayle Jr. got the Buckeyes off to a great start on Saturday, making his first five three-pointers. He had a season high 15 points in the quarterfinal win over Michigan State on Friday and then bested that with a 20-point effort against Purdue on Saturday. These two games were just Gayle’s second and third double-figure games of the season.

Graduate Justice Sueing had a bit of an up and down season, but he finished it on a high note. The Honolulu, Hawaii native, scored in double figures in each of the last seven games, finishing with 15 points on Saturday.

Freshman Bruce Thornton capped his first season with nine points and three assists vs. Purdue. Thornton recorded 15 assists and zero turnovers over the last three games.

Eugene Brown III and Felix Okpara were tasked with trying to slow down national player of the year candidate Zach Edey. Edey finished with a game-high 32 points but both Okpara and Brown would add seven points apiece. Brown led the Buckeyes with six rebounds in the game.

The shots were falling early. Behind Gayle and Sueing, the Buckeyes opened up as much as an 8-point lead at 29-21 with just over eight minutes to play in the opening half. Purdue came back and used a six-point possession to retake a two point lead and ended up closing the half on a 13-3 run to take a 42-34 lead at the break.

The lead quickly grew to double figures early in the second-half as the Buckeyes tired legs looked to have finally caught up with them. But they had one last push, as a pair of Thornton free throws were followed by a lay in by the Thornton. Okpara then split a pair of free throws to pull the Buckeyes within six at 61-55 with 5:43 to play. Purdue would score 12 of the next 14 points to shove the leave out to 16 points and would cruise home from that point.