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Jeff Eisenberg

Purdue students serenade Ohio State's Jared Sullinger

Jeff Eisenberg
The Dagger

Even though there wasn't much for Ohio State to smile about during Sunday's 76-63 loss at Purdue, freshman big man Jared Sullinger admits there was one moment during the game that he had to force himself not to laugh.

Students in Purdue's Paint Crew belted out the Miley Cyrus hit "Party in the USA" as Sullinger attempted to shoot free throws early in the second half, an homage to his off-key rendition that became a YouTube sensation last month. The clever jab didn't prevent Sullinger from sinking both foul shots, but he acknowledged after the game that keeping his focus wasn't easy.

"I loved it," he tweeted. "It almost made me laugh."

Sullinger has taken a lot of abuse from opposing fans since he, Aaron Craft and Jon Diebler took on the Miley Cyrus pop anthem for a video that airs during TV timeouts at Ohio State games. One Minnesota fan taunted Sullinger about the song with a cardboard sign, prompting the Ohio State freshman to approach the student after the game and ask to take the sign back with him to Columbus to give to his mother.

Clever as Purdue's sing-along was, it was only the second-funniest student section rendition of a song this season. First place still belongs to a costume-clad Wild Bill and his fellow Utah State students who belted out "I'm a Little Teapot" while Nevada guard Malik Story shot free throws.

Unlike that moment in which ESPN's announcers stopped to appreciate the humor of it, CBS' Clark Kellogg and Verne Lundquist unfortunately talked right over the Purdue students' a cappella efforts.

Maybe Kellogg and Lundquist didn't get the joke. Maybe complimenting Sullinger's free-throw form was that critical to the broadcast. Either way, it was a missed opportunity.

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