COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Jamar Butler scored 23 of his 25 points in the second half and Othello Hunter, one of Ohio State’s worst free-throw shooters, hit two foul shots and made a big defensive play in overtime as the Buckeyes upset the 15th-ranked Boilermakers 80-77 on Tuesday night.
The loss dropped Purdue (23-7, 14-3) a half-game behind first-place Wisconsin in the Big Ten. The Badgers (No. 8 ESPN/USA Today, No. 10 AP) host Penn State on Wednesday and Northwestern on Sunday. The Boilermakers finish at Michigan on Sunday.
The Buckeyes (18-12, 9-8), who had lost their last four, may have revived their hopes for an at-large berth to the NCAA tournament.
“We tried to ignore it,” Butler said of the talk that the Buckeyes’ NCAA chances were dead. “Of course, a win like this can help us. We’re just going to try to get another one on Sunday [at home against Michigan State] and then get a few in the Big Ten tournament, if not win it. And hopefully get in.”
Butler was the biggest difference. He managed just two free throws, missing his only shot from the field, in the first half. In the second 20 minutes, he was 6-of-7 from the field including 5-for-5 on 3-pointers.
“At one point, Terrance Crump, their point guard, told me, they [the other eight players] are going to be playing four-on-four all night because you’re not going to get the ball,” Butler said with a laugh. “I was standing out there and he was denying me.”
Painter said once Butler found his range, it didn’t matter how many players were guarding him.
“If you let someone like Jamar Butler shoot a couple of 3s you can actually play good defense on him and he’s still going to hit some shots,” he said. “That’s what he was able to do.”
Hunter, averaging 9.3 points a game, had 15, as did Evan Turner.
E’Twaun Moore had 16 points for the Boilermakers, who had won 13 of 14, while Scott Martin had 14 and Robbie Hummel added 12 points and 10 rebounds.
Martin’s 3 with 3:14 left in regulation put Purdue up 62-58. Turner, who scored all of his points in the second half, beat his man baseline for a layup. After a Purdue turnover, Matt Terwilliger hit a 12-foot baseline jumper to tie it at 62.
Butler made two free throws with 49.5 seconds left, but Moore tied it again with two of his own with 32.2 seconds remaining.
The Buckeyes set up for a last shot but never got it. Turner drove the lane and drew multiple defenders, but his pass was intercepted by Hummel with a second left.
In the overtime, the Buckeyes built a three-point lead only to have the Boilermakers pull even on a 3 by Moore.
With 1:28 left, Hunter was fouled on a dunk attempt and the 56 percent free-throw shooter hit them both for a 74-72 lead.
Hunter then got a hand on an inbounds pass under the Purdue basket that Butler was able to intercept.
“I looked him in the eyes and knew he was about to throw it, so I just jumped,” Butler said.
The teams traded possessions until Turner hit a leaner with 25.8 seconds left to put Ohio State ahead 76-72.
Hummel countered with a 3 to cut the gap to a point, but Butler — one of the nation’s top free-throw shooters at 93 percent — was fouled and hit both with 16.7 seconds left for a 78-75 lead.
Moore missed a wild 3 with 12 seconds left and Turner rebounded and was fouled. He hit both shots to seal it and drop Purdue to 5-5 on the road.
“When I got into the game, the look in our eyes, I just knew we were going to come in and win,” Turner said. “That’s what we came here to do — to win. We didn’t want anybody cutting nets down on our floor.”
Ohio State had been in tight games in the final minutes before. Almost every time, they had lost. But not this one.
“I’m very proud of our guys — the word we used was resiliency — in staying with it,” coach Thad Matta said. “By any stretch I don’t think we played perfect, but guys kept going, guys made some plays down the stretch.”