Purdue Fort Wayne –– a team with a loss to Southeast Missouri State –– was already swimming upstream against Ohio State.
It didn’t help that it couldn’t throw a stone in the ocean.
A 31.5 percent shooting performance from an outmatched Purdue Fort Wayne (2-5) team aided No. 10 Ohio State (5-0) in its 85-46 drubbing of the Mastodons Friday.
“I was really pleased with our guys’ effort tonight. I think playing a team that shoots 45 to 50 percent of their shots are 3s, it’s always a dangerous game,” Ohio State head coach Chris Holtmann said. “We were able to take away that strength.”
While Ohio State was on a 16-0 run midway through the first half, Purdue Fort Wayne was on a streak of its own: missing 13 consecutive shots, stuck on just two made baskets.
Sophomore guard Duane Washington continued the hot-shooting stretch he sparked against Villanova two games ago, scoring a team-high eight first-half points on 3-of-5 from the field. Washington is shooting better than 61 percent in his past three games. He added a career-high five assists on the night.
With two 3-pointers, Washington was the only Buckeye other than redshirt junior guard CJ Walker to score from deep, as the rest of the team combined for an 0-for-11 first half from behind the line.
“They were making us shoot a lot of 3s, and half of our shots were 3s coming into the first half,” freshman forward E.J. Liddell said. “And we just wanted to focus on keep touching the paint and keep playing together and everybody’s going to shine.”
Senior forward Andre Wesson missed three 3s in the opening half and finished 1-for-5. Wesson’s shooting 25 percent in three games this season, marking the worst shooting start of his Buckeye career.
The Mastodons were dominated on the glass early, losing the differential 16-25 to the Buckeyes in the opening half. Ohio State junior forward Kaleb Wesson led the game with seven boards, adding to his career-high 50 total through the first five games of any season at Ohio State.
Wesson led the effort to alleviate the Buckeyes’ 3-point shooting woes in the second half, knocking down back-to-back triples before Walker followed suit with a pair of his own to push the lead to 27 four minutes in.
No team has shot more than 35 percent against the Buckeyes this season, and they forced 19 Mastodon turnovers Friday while committing just eight. Ohio State scored 31 points off turnovers in the game.
“I give our older guys a lot of credit right now, because they set the tone for how we want to defend and play, and that’s a credit to them,” Holtmann said. “If that gets inconsistent, then that’ll be an indictment of me and them.”
Ohio State freshman guard D.J. Carton got going in the second half, where he scored nine of his 13 points while getting the Buckeyes out running in transition. The point guard threw a bounce-pass assist to Liddell lying on his back in the first half.
Liddell’s dunk on the Carton assist was one of two authoritative finishes he laid claim to during his eight-point, five-rebound performance. Liddell has now scored eight in three straight contests for the Buckeyes.
“The biggest thing with him, he’s a really gifted offensive player,” Holtmann said. “And I think we’ll continue to see that, you guys will continue to see that –– obviously we’ve seen it watching him.”
Up 37 with just under eight minutes to go, Ohio State redshirt senior walk-on guard Danny Hummer entered the game and continued to pile on for the Buckeyes, draining a left-handed 3 from the top of the arc to garner the loudest crowd reaction of the night.
Sophomore forward Justin Ahrens hit all three 3-pointers he attempted in the second half, assisting in a 10-for-13, 71 percent shooting half from distance for the Buckeyes.
Purdue Fort Wayne redshirt senior guard Marcus DeBerry was the only Mastodon starter to shoot above 50 percent, hitting 6-of-7 attempts for a team-high 16 points.
Ohio State heads to St. John Arena Monday for a matchup with Kent State, slated for a 6:30 p.m. tipoff at the Buckeyes’ former home court.