INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – Purdue finally lived up to its billing.
The Boilermakers, the preseason favorites in the Big Ten, fell to a No. 3 seed in the conference tournament by losing three of their final four regular season games. They found their groove at Conseco Fieldhouse.
E’Twaun Moore scored 14 of his 17 points in the second half, and No. 24 Purdue rallied to beat Ohio State 65-61 on Sunday for its first Big Ten tournament title.
JaJuan Johnson scored 16 points, and Robbie Hummel added nine points, 11 rebounds and five assists for the Boilermakers (24-9). Hummel was named the tournament’s most outstanding player.
Evan Turner had 22 points and 10 rebounds for Ohio State (22-10). Jon Diebler and William Buford each added 15 points for the Buckeyes, who were was chasing their second title in three years. The loss snapped the Buckeyes’ four-game winning streak.
Purdue beat Penn State and Illinois to reach the final. Fifth-seeded Ohio State beat Wisconsin and No. 7 Michigan State to advance to the championship game.
The Boilermakers enjoyed a virtual homecourt advantage over the weekend. Conseco Fieldhouse is about 65 miles from Purdue’s campus in West Lafayette, Ind.
Ohio State led 33-27 early in the second half before Purdue went on a run. A 3-pointer by Moore and a putback by Hummel cut the Buckeyes’ lead to one point, then Johnson tied the game by making the second of two free throws with 15:44 to play.
Purdue finally took the lead on a 3-pointer by Moore that made it 43-41 with just over 12 minutes left. Another 3 by Moore fewer than 2 minutes later made it 48-41.
Ohio State chipped away, and a free throw by Turner trimmed Purdue’s lead to 58-55 with 1:33 left. Purdue’s Moore missed a 3-pointer, but Purdue rebounded and got a new shot clock. Keaton Grant made a 3 with 42.2 seconds to play to make it 61-55, and the Purdue fans started to celebrate.
Moore missed a free throw, then Turner converted a three-point play at the other end to make it 61-58 with 16.7 seconds remaining.
Kramer was fouled with 14.7 seconds left and made both free throws to extend Purdue’s lead to 63-58. Buford missed a 3 at the other end, then Kramer rebounded and made two more free throws to end the threat.
“Purdue is a great team, and they just came out in the second half and got us,” Ohio State guard P.J. Hill said. “It happens.”
The Buckeyes are excited to have reached the NCAA tournament this season after settling for winning the National Invitational Tournament title last year.
“It’s just an amazing accomplishment,” Turner said. “You kind of want to pat yourself on the back for a second. We’re just really excited. We’re fortunate enough to be in this position.”