Top-ranked Purdue enters uncharted territory when it plays No. 24 Ohio State on Thursday in Columbus, Ohio.
The Boilermakers (13-1, 2-1 Big Ten) will be looking to rebound from their first loss of the season, a 65-64 setback against visiting Rutgers on Monday.
“Worry about the next one. It’s 10 weeks,” Purdue coach Matt Painter said. “You guys (the media) follow it, but you don’t live it. You can get yourself on a roller coaster if you want. I’m not a big fan of roller coasters.
“You’ve got to get back to what you do well. We’ve got to take better shots. We’ve got to get some perimeter guys that are consistent shooters. That would be a great start for us.”
While the Boilermakers stumbled in their latest outing, the Buckeyes (10-3, 2-0) should be full of confidence following a 73-57 win at Northwestern on Sunday.
Ohio State limited the Wildcats, who missed 24 of their first 27 shots, to 19-of-67 shooting (28.4 percent) from the floor for the game.
“I just thought it was as good a defensive effort as we’ve had in a few years, and our guys deserve credit for that,” Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann said. “We’ve been really good offensively for a couple of years, but our defense has to continue to come so we can get better and better. We’ve got good offensive players. We have to keep buying into the idea of being hard to score on.”
Even though the 20-game Big Ten schedule is in its infancy, the Buckeyes and Boilermakers have a common conference opponent.
Ohio State defeated Rutgers 67-66 on Dec. 8 in a controversial ending when Tanner Holden made a 3-pointer at the buzzer. The next day, the conference issued a statement that the winning field goal should not have counted because Holden received the ball illegally when he stepped back onto the court after being out of bounds.
Against Purdue, Rutgers’ Cam Spencer made the go-ahead shot with 13.3 seconds left, and the Boilermakers were was unable to score on two last-second shots.
“We just had to show more resolve,” Painter said. “At the end of the day, I just thought that Rutgers was mentally and physically tougher than we were, even if we would have won the game.
“We’re close there, but we’re not there. We’ve got to keep working on those details, and that’s something we’ve known as a staff. Obviously when you win games, everything is great and you get ranked high. But you still are making mistakes and you are still having breakdowns.”
The Buckeyes are anxious take on Purdue with an eye on building their resume for a NCAA Tournament bid.
“It’s going to be a fun game,” Ohio State forward Justice Sueing said, according to the Columbus Dispatch. “It’s a game we want. That’s what you come to Ohio State for, these big games, these big Big Ten games. Purdue’s No. 1 in the country. We look forward to it. We know it’s going to be a good game. We know they’re going to give it their all and so are we.”
Zach Edey had team highs of 19 points and 11 rebounds for Purdue against Rutgers, and he leads the Boilermakers with averages of 21.7 points and 13.4 boards per game. Brice Sensabaugh paces Ohio State with 15.9 points per game, one of four Ohio State players averaging in double figures.
–Field Level Media