Fletcher Loyer’s 3 lifts No. 1 Purdue 71-69 over No. 24 Ohio State
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Fletcher Loyer made a go-ahead 3-pointer with 11 seconds left and No. 1 Purdue bounced back from its first loss of the season with a 71-69 victory over No. 24 Ohio State on Thursday night.
The Boilermakers (14-1, 3-1 Big Ten) trailed 69-66 with 41 seconds remaining after Ohio State’s Sean McNeil made a 3 pointer.
Zach Edey responded with a bucket on the other end, and Purdue forced a turnover on the Buckeyes’ next possession.
After Loyer’s 3, the Boilermakers defended Ohio State’s final possession and Brice Sensabaugh’s final shot didn’t get off in time.
“Going in, you knew they’d have to help on Zach, so I knew I had to be ready to shoot to help the team win,” Loyer said.
Edey and Braden Smith each scored 16 points for Purdue, which had four players in double figures.
“We’re seconds away from feeling like crap again after a loss, but really digging down defensively and getting that big stop and not giving up a 3 there at the end is what we focused on,” Loyer said. “We stayed tight and stayed true to our principles.”
Sensabaugh scored 21 points for Ohio State (10-4, 2-1), which shot 50% from the field.
The lead changed nine times in the final eight minutes of the second half. Loyer made a 3 pointer to give the Boilermakers a 64-63 lead with under 5 minutes to go. Both teams went scoreless until Sensabaugh made a jumper to give Ohio State a 65-64 lead with 3:19 left.
Edey made free throws to flip the score back in favor of Purdue, but he fouled Felix Okpara, who knotted the game at 66 with 1:57 left on a free throw of his own.
The Buckeyes held a 36-33 advantage at halftime behind 13 first-half points from Sensabaugh. Purdue shot 38.2% in the first half after beginning 3 of 18 from the field.
“This was a back-and-forth contest,” Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann said. “I think more than anything as a coach you’re looking back, and you’d like to have a couple of those plays back as a coach.”
FINDING IT FROM 3
Purdue hasn’t relied often on shooting from distance.
Against the Buckeyes, the Boilermakers had 13 buckets from 3, which is a season high. They hadn’t made more than seven 3-pointers in six games.
Loyer, David Jenkins Jr. and Braden Smith each had three from the perimeter.
“We haven’t done that in a long time,” Purdue coach Matt Painter said. “I just feel like our shooting is much better than we have shown, but I think it’s also a strength.”
KEY EXITS GAME
Zed Key exited just under four minutes into the game and didn’t return due to a shoulder sprain, according to an Ohio State spokesperson.
Holtmann said he had “no update” postgame and he’ll know more Friday.
LOYER LIGHTS UP IN SECOND HALF
Starting the game and going 0 of 6 from the field in the first half, Loyer began the second on the bench.
He found his footing in the final period, shooting 66%, including 3 of 4 from beyond the arc.
“I played probably my worst half of college basketball so far,” Loyer said. “Coming off the bench in the second half, I knew I had to focus and play hard and play defense, so I focused on that. And then I happened to get a few open looks that helped the game go from there.”
Purdue: The Boilermakers avoided their second straight loss by outshooting Ohio State 50% to 45.2% in the second half. They began the game 3 of 18 from the field, but fought back behind 12 points and 11 second-half points from Edey and Loyer, respectively.
Ohio State: Sensabaugh has reached double figures for the seventh consecutive game. The freshman had at least 20 points for the third time in five games and made a team-best 10 field goals on 17 attempts.
Purdue: At Penn State Sunday.
Ohio State: At Maryland Sunday.