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Oden rallies Ohio State past pesky Purdue

Feb 10, 2007 - 9:15 PM COLUMBUS, Ohio (Ticker) -- Greg Oden came around just in time to extend Ohio State's winning streak against Purdue.

Oden scored eight of his 14 points in the final 10 minutes as the third-ranked Buckeyes rallied for a 63-56 triumph over the feisty Boilermakers in a Big Ten Conference clash.

It was Ohio State's seventh straight victory over Purdue, which has not beaten the Buckeyes since January 29, 2003.

Despite holding on for the win, Ohio State looked sluggish throughout the afternoon and clearly struggled without Oden on the floor.

"We were not ready to play today," Buckeyes coach Thad Matta said. "And that's a credit to Purdue. There wasn't a team in the county feeling better about themselves than when that team walked in here.

"I screwed up in the first half. I should have taken Greg out in the first half before he picked up his second foul."

Oden was held in check the last time Ohio State met Purdue, scoring just nine points in the Buckeyes' 78-60 win on January 31.

The country's highest-touted freshman, Oden took over down the stretch Saturday and finished with nine rebounds and two blocks.

"I haven't fouled out of a game this year," he said. "I'm getting used to being held and fouled all the time."

"When (Oden) is on the bench, the game changes," fellow freshman Mike Conley Jr. added. "We have more guards who can shoot when he's out there. Most of our offense goes through him."

Conley scored 14 points and Jamar Butler chipped in nine for Ohio State (22-3, 10-1 Big Ten), which is 16-0 at home this season and extended its winning streak at Value City Arena to 23 games.

"I'm getting more confident on getting to the rim," Conley said. "I like to read what defenses bring me. I like adjusting to what they do."

"We weren't has sharp as we needed to be," Matta added. "That's the hard part as a coach knowing the right thing to say, the right thing to do. It is a valuable lesson for them from the standpoint of consistently being ready."

After being saddled with foul trouble for much of the contest, Oden's return sparked the Buckeyes on a decisive 17-5 run to close out the game.

With Ohio State trailing, 51-46, with 7:28 remaining, Oden made a pair of free throws to start the surge and converted a layup just over a minute later to cut the deficit to one.

Butler drilled a jumper with five minutes left to give Ohio State a 52-51 lead, but Purdue forged a tie 30 seconds later when Carl Landry made 1-of-2 free throws.

"I just said not to panic," Matta said. "Purdue is a good team, and they had a great game. They shot early. We just needed to keep composure which we did down the stretch. There was still a lot of time left."

"I tried to keep the team calm," Butler added. "I knew all we had to do was get on a run and we would be fine."

The Buckeyes took the lead for good with 3:07 remaining when Ron Lewis made a layup, and Oden made it 56-52 with a pair of free throws a minute later.

David Teague scored 17 points to pace Purdue while Landry added 13 and nine rebounds for the Boilermakers (16-9, 5-6), who committed 17 turnovers.

"We had some shots not go down and some careless turnovers," Purdue coach Matt Painter said. "They got fouled in the bonus and when we got fouled in the bonus, we didn't have a chance to steal points. When Greg Oden comes back into the game, you don't have a chance to knock down points."