They shook their heads in unison.
Should anyone question Ohio State's No. 1 ranking after watching the Buckeyes dismantle No. 12 Purdue 87-64 on Tuesday?
Aaron Craft, Jared Sullinger and William Buford, sitting next to each other in the post-game news conference, all said, "No" and offered a head shake.
"It was a loud answer to those questions," said Sullinger, who scored 13 of his 17 points in the second half.
Perhaps the most surprising element in Purdue's loss was its inability to defend. The Boilermakers just didn't show up.
Yes, Ohio State made some tough shots, as it seems like it always does against Purdue, but too often the Boilermakers appeared to blow defensive assignments or simply not get back in transition to match up with the Buckeyes. And that often led to three-pointers. Ohio State made 11 of 19 in the game.
"(The mental mistakes) are very uncharacteristic of this team," senior JaJuan Johnson said. "But I definitely think we'll get it corrected and get it right for Minnesota (on Saturday). There was just stuff defensively with some switching and just not contesting some open looks. But that's just credit to them. They were ready to play. They knocked down some shots."
Purdue never led in the game, and Ohio State surged to a 19-5 lead on Deshaun Thomas' three-pointer about 7:30 minutes into the game.
"They just came out with so much energy early," Johnson said. "When they hit those few threes early, the momentum really carried on with them. They got the crowd behind them, and it's hard to stop a really good team once they get some open looks."
- Sullinger figured to provide a tough matchup. He was guarded some by Johnson and some by freshman Travis Carroll one-on-one, and Purdue also came with double teams at points. Sullinger made 7 of 12 shots. Sullinger guarded Johnson at times, too, and Johnson made 9 of 17 shots and scored a game-high 22 points. Johnson's three three-pointers were a career high for a game.
- Aaron Craft won the point guard battle with Lewis Jackson. Jackson started the game on Buford, who torched him for a couple early baskets, and then switched to Craft when Craft entered the game. But Jackson was in foul trouble most of the night, played only 24 minutes and though he did get to the basket off the dribble a couple times, he couldn't finish. Craft, though, was a catalyst to the quick start in the first half and had nine first-half points by getting to the rim.
- Purdue was outrebounded 42-28.
- Thomas, the Bishop Luers product, had 13 points on 6-of 12 shooting and six rebounds off the bench.