In a game that was billed as the second matchup between Big Ten Player of the Year candidates Jared Sullinger and JaJuan Johnson, Purdue senior guard E’Twaun Moore stole the show.
Moore scored a career-high 38 points, and fueled a late first-half run to help Purdue (22-5, 11-3 Big Ten) hand the Ohio State men’s basketball team (25-2, 12-2 Big Ten) its second loss of the season, with a 76-63 win against the Buckeyes on Sunday.
After the Buckeyes played a closely contested first 15 minutes of the game, OSU coach Thad Matta found himself forced to send Sullinger and junior guard William Buford — each having picked up two fouls — to the bench.
With the Buckeyes’ top two leading scorers on the bench, Moore took over the game, single-handedly fueling a 13-5 Boilermaker run to give Purdue a 37-33 advantage into halftime.
Moore didn’t cool off in the second half, as he helped extend the Boilermaker lead to 10 points with less than four minutes remaining.
OSU showed signs of life, cutting the Boilermaker lead to four points on a Sullinger dunk with 2:34 left, but Moore put the nail in OSU’s coffin with a dagger 3-pointer on Purdue’s next possession.
Sullinger led the Buckeyes in scoring with 25 points, and senior guard Jon Diebler scored 11, including two 3-pointers to bring his total career threes to 332, breaking the previous Big Ten record 331 set by Penn State’s Pete Lisicky from 1994–98.
No. 2 OSU’s loss to Purdue completes a week in which the teams that owned the top four spots in the polls lost, as No. 1 Kansas (25-2, 10-2 Big 12), No. 3 Texas (23-4, 11-1 Big 12) and No. 4 Pittsburgh (24-3, 12-2 Big East) also suffered losses in the past seven days.
After starting the season 24-0, OSU’s loss is its second in the past three games, after the Buckeyes picked up their first loss Feb. 12 at Wisconsin.
OSU will look to bounce back when it hosts Illinois (17-10, 7-7 Big Ten) at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Schottenstein Center.