ATHENS, Ohio – Despite a gutsy comeback in the second half, the Ohio men's basketball team (7-4) was unable to overcome a tough Purdue (7-4) team, falling to the Boilermakers, 69-51, Tuesday night (Dec. 17) inside the Convocation Center.
"They came out, and during the first war I thought we did a good job," head coach Jeff Boals said. "We were leading and played them pretty well. It's almost like that same type of stretch where we miss shots and turn the ball over, and then it was a 20-point game at halftime. We kind of flipped roles in the second half. I think we had four turnovers in the second half, made six threes as opposed to the first half. When you take care of the ball and make shots, the game is a little different. I was proud of our guy's effort in the second half out of halftime."
Redshirt senior guard Jordan Dartis (Newark, Ohio) led the way with 16 points, going 6-of-15 from the field and 3-of-9 from three-point range. Redshirt freshman forward Nate Springs (Charlotte, N.C.) finished with a career-high 12 points, going 4-of-8 from three-point range, while freshman guard Lunden McDay (Akron, Ohio) finished with 10 points and six rebounds. Sophomore guard Jason Preston (Orlando, Fla.) finished with six points, a team-high 10 rebounds and five assists.
Overall, Ohio shot 37 percent from the field, 28 percent from three-point range and 50 percent from the free throw line, while Purdue shot 49 percent from the field, 39 percent from three-point range and 67 percent from the free throw line. Purdue out rebounded the Bobcats 33-28, while the Boilermakers dished out 14 assists to Ohio's 13.
Purdue opened the game with the first points, however, the Bobcats responded, with redshirt sophomore forward Ben Vander Plas (Ripon, Wis.) hitting the first three of the contest, followed by a layup from graduate transfer Sylvester Ogbonda (Port Harcourt, Nigera). Purdue hit a jumper later on, however, the Bobcats took a 5-4 lead entering the first media timeout. Out of the timeout, Dartis hit a jumper to give the Bobcats a 7-6 lead, however, Purdue went on a 9-0 to put the Boilermakers up, 15-7 going into the next media timeout.
Back-to-back jumpers from McDay and Preston cut the Purdue lead back to seven, however, back-to-back buckets for the Boilermakers extended the Purdue lead to 23-11 before a three from Springs brought the score to 23-14. Then, with Purdue leading by 11, another Springs three brought the Bobcats back within eight with 6:25 left in the half. After the Springs three, the Boilermakers went on an 12-0 run to take a 37-17 lead into halftime.
At the half, Ohio shot 30.0 percent from the field, 18 percent from three-point range and did not take a free throw, while Purdue shot 45.0 percent from the field, 50.0 percent from three-point range and 60.0 percent from the free throw line. The Bobcats out rebounded the Boilermakers, 17-15, while Purdue dished out 12 assists to the Bobcats' five.
Springs led the way at the half with six points, followed by Vander Plas with three and Preston, McDay, Dartis and Ogbonda all had two.
The Bobcats recorded the first points in the second half off of a driving layup from Ogbonda. After Ohio and Purdue traded baskets, a four-point play from Dartis sparked a run for the Bobcats that brought the Convocation Center alive, with Ohio going on a 15-2 run that cut the Boilermakers lead to 45-38 with 11:54 left in the game.
"The crowd was super loud," Dartis said. "It just shows how tight this OU community is and everyone came out to support tonight. We don't get high-majors in the Convo very often, so I really appreciate our fan base."
Ohio cut the lead to six, before Purdue brought the game back within 10. A layup from Datris cut the Purdue lead to 51-43 with 10 minutes to go, however, a 5-0 run brought the Purdue lead back up to 13 before a Springs three brought the Bobcats within 10 going into the under-eight media timeout.
Out of the timeout, Purdue went on a 5-0 run before a Preston hookshot and free throw brought Ohio back within 12, however a Purdue dunk gave the Boilermakers a 63-49 lead with 4:09 left in the game. Unfortunately, the Bobcats were unable to get the offensive run that they needed over the final four minutes, falling to the Boilermakers, 69-51.
Up next, the Bobcats stay in the Convocation Center to take on Morehead State on Saturday, Dec. 21. Tip-off is set for 1 p.m.