Thomas, Buckeyes prove too much for Boilermakers

The SportsXchange

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- DeShaun Thomas was just too much, and Purdue just missed too many shots.

Thomas scored a game-high 22 points and grabbed seven rebounds to lead No. 15 Ohio State to a 74-64 win over the Boilermakers on Tuesday night.

The Buckeyes jumped in front by 10 points at halftime behind 14 points from Thomas, and they never let the Boilermakers take control.

"It's my ability to score and my size," said Thomas, a 6-foot-7 junior. "It's kind of hard to guard a guy like me who is very versatile and who can be a mismatch nightmare."

Aaron Craft had 15 points, and Evan Ravenel added 13 points for the Buckeyes (12-3, 2-1 Big Ten). Ohio State has won three of its past four games.

Terone Johnson led the Boilermakers with 18 points, and A.J. Hammons had 13 points and eight rebounds. Purdue has lost two straight.

The Buckeyes built a solid lead in the first half and never let up. Even when the Boilermakers hit a shot to regain some momentum, Ohio State answered.

"I thought we had more of a composure about us," Ohio State coach Thad Matta said. "And we had to have it because of the environment and the crowd, and we handled that well."

Hammons completed a three-point play early in the second half to make it 50-43, but Thomas responded with a 3-pointer. On the next possession, Purdue's Anthony Johnson scored to cut the deficit again, but Craft answered to put the lead back to 55-45.

Anthony Johnson hit another shot, and Ravenel answered with a basket. Rapheal Davis hit a 3-pointer to get the Boilermakers within 57-50 midway through the second half, and later Hammons scored to make it 59-52. But Amir Williams dunked and Craft converted a three-point play to give the Buckeyes a 64-52 lead with 8:44 left to play.

The Boilermakers shot 38.8 percent from the field (26-for-67) and were outrebounded 38-32.

"When we came out in the second half, I felt like we fought," Terone Johnson said. "But we have to fight like that from the beginning instead of when we get down."

The Boilermakers got within 70-64 with 2:59 left when Terone Johnson made two free throws.

Thompson sank a jumper to make it 72-64, and the Buckeyes pulled away from the free-throw line.

The Buckeyes, who led 39-29 at halftime, started fast and led 4-0 after shots by Thomas and Craft and a Boilermakers turnover.

It didn't take long for Purdue to catch up. The Boilermakers tied the game at 4, and was back and forth until midway through the half.

The Buckeyes eventually jumped to a 20-11 lead.

Purdue's D.J. Byrd hit a 3-pointer to give the Boilermakers a 9-7 lead, but then the Buckeyes went on 13-2 run. Thomas hit a 3-pointer to put the Buckeyes back on top and to spark the spurt.

Byrd spent some time trying to contain Thomas, and it wasn't easy.

"When he catches the ball, when he's a little bit open and even if he's guarded, he has that feel that he can just shoot over you," Byrd said. "He got the first shot at the start of the first half, and you can't let that happen."

Johnson scored for the Boilermakers, but Purdue missed three shots and turned the ball over twice while the Buckeyes took a lead.

Later, Jacob Lawson scored to get Purdue within five, but then Thomas hit back-to-back shots, including a 3-pointer, and Ross and Ravenel both scored to give the Buckeyes a 31-17 lead with 8:16 left in the first half.

"It was very important to come in on the road and get this win," Thomas said. "Just knowing that we can win on the road and with great toughness."

NOTES: Byrd is four 3-point field goals away from tying Troy Lewis for ninth on Purdue's career list. ... Thomas has already reached the 1,000-point scoring milestone. Next, with 58 rebounds, he can reach 500 for his career. ... Thomas leads the Big Ten in scoring at 20.2 points per game.
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