West Lafayette, Ind. --In their final game before the holiday break, the Ohio men's basketball team (7-4) fell to Purdue (7-5), 95-67, on Thursday night (Dec. 20) inside Mackey Arena. The game was the first matchup between Ohio and Purdue since the 1969-70 season.
"We weren't able to establish position inside," head coach Saul Phillips said. "I thought we played a little bit timid and didn't attack like we do when we are playing well. I give Purdue a lot of credit, they came out very physical and very tough, and we didn't counter very well."
Redshirt freshman forward Ben Vander Plas (Ripon, Wis.) and sophomore guard Teyvion Kirk (Joliet, Ill.) both finished the game with 15 points. Vander Plas went 4-of-9 from three-point range and went 3-of-4 from the free throw line. Kirk finished the game 5-of-10 from the field and 5-of-8 from the free throw line. Redshirt sophomore guard Connor Murrell (Sioux City, Iowa) set a new career-high with nine points going 4-of-8 from the field and 1-of-3 from three-point range. Freshman guard Jason Preston (Orlando Fla.) finished the game with a team-high five rebounds and four assists.
The Bobcats would win the tip and get off the first points of the game, a three-pointer from redshirt junior guard Antonio Cowart, Jr. (McComb, Miss.). However, Purdue would match that shot moments later, tying the game at 3-3. After the Boilermakers would go up 10-5, Cowart, Jr. would hit a step back jumper, making the score 10-7 at the 15:32 mark. However, Purdue would go on a 17-point run to take a 27-7 lead before a basket from Doug Taylor (Columbus, Ohio) would stop the run.
With 6:43 left in the half, Purdue would go up 34-13 after a dunk, however Murrell would hit a three, cutting the lead to 34-18. After a layup from Murrell and a three from senior forward/guard Gavin Block (Lincoln, Ill.), the Bobcats would pull the score within 12 before Purdue hit another three, making the game 43-34 with 2:29 left.
Vander Plas would then get hot, draining back-to-back three pointers in 20 seconds, cutting the Purdue lead to nine points with 2:09 left in the half. The Boilermakers would take a 15-point lead on a three, however Block would connect on a jumper with 24 seconds left in the half, sending the teams to the locker room with the Bobcats trailing 49-36.
Vander Plas led Ohio at the half with 11 points, going 3-of-6 from beyond the arc and 2-of-2 from the free throw line. Murrell would add seven points, more than doubling his previous career high, going 3-of-5 from the field and 1-of-2 from three-point range. Preston led Ohio with four rebounds and three assists.
At the half, the Bobcats shot 40 percent from the field, 46 percent from three-point range and 67 percent from the free throw line, while Purdue hit 63 percent of their shots from the field, 53 percent from three and 75 percent from the free throw line. The Bobcats were outrebounded 16-10, while Ohio recorded eight assists to Purdue's nine.
The Bobcats opened the second half just as they did in the first, with Preston draining a three to make the score 49-39 in the opening seconds. After Purdue would go up 14, free throws from Taylor would cut the Boilermakers' lead to 12, however, both teams would trade baskets, with Purdue taking the 14-point lead into the first media timeout.
The Boilermakers would go on a 15-2 run to take a 70-45 lead before Murrell would stop the run with a jumper, making the score 70-47 with 10:50 left in the game. Ohio would cut the Purdue lead to 76-54 with 7:53 left after Vander Plas grabbed his own missed free throw and drained his fourth three of the night. Then after a jumper from Kirk that cut the Purdue lead to 78-56, Kirk would then grab a steal and finish the fast break with a layup, cutting the Boilermakers' lead to 78-56 with six minutes to go. However, Purdue would then go on an 11-0 run before Kirk would get another jumper to stop the run, however, the Boilermakers would hit another three-pointer to take the game to the final media timeout with Ohio trailing 91-60.
The Bobcats would add four points from Kirk free throws and a three-point basket from Block with 16 seconds to go, however, the Bobcats would fall by the final of 95-67.
Overall, Ohio shot 41.1 percent from the field, 37.5 percent from three-point range and 63.2 percent from the free throw line, while Purdue shot 56.7 percent from the field, 48.3 percent from three-point range and 81.3 percent from the free throw line. The Boilermakers outrebounded the Bobcats 36-27, and dished out 23 assists to Ohio's 11.
For Purdue, Carsen Edwards led the way with 30 points, going 10-of-16 from the field and 4-of-9 from three-point range. Ryan Cline added 19 points, going 7-of-11 from the field and 5-of-8 from beyond the arc. Trevion Williams grabbed a game-high eight rebounds.
Up next, the Bobcats will have 10 days off for the holiday break before returning to Athens for their final nonconference game of the season, when the Bobcats take on FIU on Sunday, Dec. 30. Tip-off is set for 2 p.m. inside the Convocation Center.