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Oden powers Ohio State past Purdue in Big Ten semis

Mar 10, 2007 - 11:46 PM CHICAGO (Ticker) -- Greg Oden certainly has left his mark on the Big Ten Conference tournament.

Oden scored 17 points and grabbed a tournament-record 19 rebounds to lead top-ranked Ohio State to a 63-52 victory over Purdue in the Big Ten semifinals.

It was the 16th consecutive win for the Buckeyes (29-3), who advanced to the conference championship game for the second consecutive year.

"I think that for us, the competitiveness comes out," Ohio State coach Thad Matta said. "As we told our guys, we came here to play 120 minutes of basketball. We've got 80 down. I think the competitiveness will come out."

Ohio State lost to Iowa in last season's Big Ten title game. However, that squad did not have Oden, the heralded freshman center who has led the Buckeyes to the highest single-season victory total in school history.

One day after scoring 15 of his 22 points in the second half of a 72-62 win over Michigan, the 7-1 Oden made an impact on both sides of the floor, shooting 8-of-13 while blocking four shots. He also grabbed nine of his 19 rebounds off the offensive glass.

"We just got a lot of tips and we got a chance to get the first-time rebounds, and that helped out a lot," Oden said. "It helped out with our victory because it got our team going."

The Buckeyes trailed, 43-40, with 12:20 remaining when Oden made a layup to ignite a 23-9 run to close out the contest. He had five points and seven boards during the decisive surge.

"I think as the year goes on, I'm getting a lot more comfortable just shooting that hook shot," Oden said. "I'm taking my time and looking for the double teams and being able to pass it out to my teammates if I am double-teamed."

Ron Lewis scored 13 points while freshman Mike Conley Jr. collected 11 points and six rebounds for Ohio State, which enjoyed a 49-33 edge on the glass. The Buckeyes will play fourth-ranked Wisconsin in Sunday's conference championship game.

"I had to really challenge our guys at halftime to get more active, and we did that," Matta said. "I think we beat a very good team today."

Carl Landry scored 24 points to pace the Boilermakers (21-11), who shot just 28 percent (8-of-29) in the second half.

"I thought our guys played very hard today, we did a good job of doing what we wanted to do defensively" Purdue coach Matt Painter said. "We had a couple of breakdowns throughout the course of the game, but we made some adjustments. We just had a difficult time rebounding the basketball, and you can't give (Ohio State) that many chances."