Ohio State
77 - 80 Final - OT
  for this game

Butler helps Ohio State edge Purdue, keep alive NCAA hopes

Mar 5, 2008 - 5:43 AM COLUMBUS, Ohio (Ticker) -- Jamar Butler did not let a tough start kill Ohio State's hopes for an NCAA Tournament berth.

Butler scored 23 of his 25 points after halftime as Ohio State captured a much-needed win with an 80-77 overtime victory over No. 15 Purdue in the Big Ten Conference on Tuesday.

Othello Hunter and freshman Evan Turner added 15 points apiece for the Buckeyes (18-12, 9-8 Big Ten), who snapped a four-game losing streak with a win worthy of bolstering their resume for the NCAAs.

"I hope that this game is a turning point," Ohio State coach Thad Matta said. "These guys have been so close so many times. We hope that they have more of a spirit to play here down the stretch. We just want them to play the game, have fun, and enjoy themselves."

The decision may prove to be even bigger for the Boilermakers (23-7, 14-3), who fell one-half game behind Wisconsin in the conference standings with a game remaining. The Badgers (14-2) face Penn State on Wednesday before closing out the season at lowly Northwestern on Saturday.

"We controlled our destiny (in the Big Ten)," Purdue coach Matt Painter said. "Now we don't, but we still have to come out hard and prepare for Michigan and try and pick up a win."

The win was Ohio State's third straight against Purdue when the Boilermakers were ranked. Overall, the Buckeyes have won nine of the last 10 games in the series.

The team's leading scorer and top holdover from last year's national runner-up club, Butler mustered just two points in the opening half on a pair of free throws as Purdue took a 29-26 lead after a last-second four-point play by freshman Scott Martin.

Butler only attempted one shot before the half, as the Boilermakers' Tarrance Crump partially lived up his boast.

"Their point guard (Crump) told me it was going to be 4-on-4 all night because I wasn't going to touch the ball," Butler said. "For a while, he was right."

Before Butler could get a chance to pick up his game, there was a 19-minute delay to the start of the second half as both the clocks over the baskets went blank. Eventually, portable clocks had to be set up on each baseline.

Although most of the second half went back and forth, the Boilermakers took a 51-45 lead with 9:02 left when Martin capped a 6-0 run with a jumper.

Despite the lead, Purdue did have some issues, as top defender Chris Kramer was forced to go to the bench with his fourth foul with 7:53 left.

"It was a significant substitution for us," Painter said. "Jamar (Butler) got loose and hit a couple shots. He's the kind of player who can get going quickly and we couldn't contain him. The key part there was how we had to shift our defense to cover (David) Lighty and Turner. Turner really made us change what we did defensively and they exploited that."

Butler did his best to bring Ohio State back, scoring five points over the next three-plus minutes.

The Buckeyes eventually tied the game at 62-62 on a baseline jumper by Matt Terwilliger with 2:08 remaining.

After both teams converted a pair of free throws over the next 1 1/2 minutes, Ohio State had a chance to win the game in the final possession of regulation. However, Turner's pass intended for Hunter in the lane in the closing moments was stolen by freshman Robbie Hummel.

In the extra session, Butler scored seven points, including a 3-pointer that gave the Buckeyes a 68-66 lead with 4:23 to play. Although Keaton Grant answered with a shot from the arc, Butler came back with a driving layup.

Both teams once again went back and forth until Hunter hit a pair of free throws to make it 74-72 with 1:26 to go. Purdue then turned the ball over on the other end, as Butler grabbed a tipped inbound pass.

Turner hit a shot in the lane and, after a 3-pointer by Hummel, Butler made two foul shots for a 78-75 edge with 16 seconds to play.

"We scored enough points (in overtime)," Painter said. "We just didn't make the stops we needed to. They made some plays, and Butler and Turner hurt us."

Boilermakers freshman E'Twaun Moore then rushed a 3-point attempt and Turner converted two free throws for an 80-75 cushion with 10 ticks left.

"We made our free throws and big shots down the stretch," Butler said.

Butler finished 6-of-8 from the field, including 5-of-6 on 3-pointers, and converted all eight of his free throws.

Turner grabbed eight rebounds and blocked a pair of shots for Ohio State, which shot 57 percent (16-of-28), including 5-of-8 on 3-pointers, after halftime.

Moore finished with 16 points for Purdue, which dropped just its second game in its last 15.

Hummel finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds and Martin added 14 and six for the Boilermakers, who had a 39-33 advantage on the boards.