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Ohio State forward and Bishop Luers graduate Deshaun Thomas shoots over Purdue forward Donnie Hale in the first half Tuesday in West Lafayette. Thomas, the Big Ten’s leading scorer, scored 22 points to lead No. 15 Ohio State to a 74-64 victory.
OHIO STATE 74, PURDUE 64

Thomas makes his point

Buckeyes star scores 22 to down Boilers

WEST LAFAYETTE –Deshaun Thomas made a jumper for the first points of Tuesday’s game at Mackey Arena.

Unfortunately for Purdue, it was a sign of things to come.

Thomas, a Bishop Luers graduate, scored 22 points to lead No. 15 Ohio State to a 74-64 victory against the Boilermakers in front of an electric crowd of 14,625.

“I had my mind right, I was ready to shoot,” Thomas said. “I had my feet set. Shannon (Scott) and (Aaron) Craft got it to the right spot. I felt pretty good and I was knocking them down.”

Terone Johnson made two free throws with 2:55 to go to get Purdue within 70-64 but Purdue’s late rally fell short. Sam Thompson responded with a basket for Ohio State (12-3, 2-1) with 1:44 remaining to seal the victory.

“Deshaun was really big in the first half. Being down 10 (at halftime) we felt like still had a chance,” said Johnson, who led Purdue with 18 points. “We came out and fought, but we have to fight that way from the beginning instead of the end once we got down.”

Purdue was shooting for its second upset in the span of a week. Instead, the Boilermakers (7-8, 1-2 Big Ten) suffered their second straight loss to a ranked opponent.

Craft and Evan Ravenel had 15 and 11 points, respectively, for Ohio State.

A.J. Hammons and Ronnie Johnson scored 13 and 11 points, respectively, for Purdue.

“We didn’t want to let Deshaun Thomas get off to the start he had. He’s a tough matchup for most people, including us,” Purdue coach Matt Painter said. “He got them going and I just thought they were quicker to the basketball, whether it was long rebounds or loose balls. They did a better job of getting those extra possessions.”

Thomas was 8 of 13 from the floor.

“I’m so excited for Deshaun. I thought he was so efficient tonight in his play. He’s come so far in the three years he’s been at Ohio State and this program, just his demeanor,” Ohio State coach Thad Matta said.

“From the day he arrived at Ohio State from Bishop Luers, to the job they did in molding him as a young man to where he is today. I’m excited for him because he’s worked really, really hard and I hope he can continue to play at the level he is.”

Thomas made 4 of 7 three-pointers.

“Those who have been following me since high school, it’s great to come back and show them how hard I’ve been working and how hard I’ve been playing and what it takes to win,” Thomas said.

Another Fort Wayne product, Rapheal Davis, provided some energy for Purdue in the second half. He had a dunk and then made a three-pointer to get the Boilermakers within 57-50 with 11:06 to go. Davis finished with eight points.

“He did a good job of competing,” Painter said. “… He made good decisions, he played hard. He’s a good listener, he’s a hard worker and he puts in time on his game. He’s going to be a good player for us.”

Hammons also got going, scoring 11 of his 13 points in the final 20 minutes. But Ohio State had an answer every time. Craft scored 13 of his 15 points in the second half. Both dealt with foul trouble in the first half.

Purdue struggled down the stretch, missing some close-range shots. The Boilermakers shot 38.8 percent for the game.

“We just didn’t put the ball in the basket. We had the ball where we wanted it to be. Sometimes you don’t put the ball in the basket when you don’t have the shot that you want,” Painter said.

“We’re getting the shots that we want. We just didn’t convert it. We have to do a better job of converting it.”

lpope@jg.net

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