The OSU men's basketball team needed this victory tonight. After missing their start point-forward, Evan Turner, for more than 6 games, and losing three of their first four games in Big Ten play both Turner and Ohio State showed why you shouldn't count them out as Ohio State pulled out a stunning 70-66 upset of the No.6 Purdue Boilermakers in West Lafayette, Indiana.
Turner the Buckeyes with 32 points, a career high and nine rebounds, putting to rest any doubts that he still might be feeling the effects of the fractured vertebrae he suffered earlier in the season in a victory against Eastern Michigan. William Buford would add 19 for OSU in what can only be described as a seesaw battle of two halves. The Buckeyes, who were clearly outplayed in the first half, giving up 29 points to forward Robbie Hummel, let it be known that they will not go down with out a fight clawing their way back from an 11 point deficit with under 10 minutes to go to take the lead for good at 66-64 with under a minute remaining. And give credit where credit is due. Certainly Evan Turner deserves a lot of the praise, but coach Thad Matta also deserves to be praised to for his decision to go to the full court press in the latter stages of the game. That gamble allowed the OSU to mount a 23-6 run late in the second half that would ultimately be the difference in the game.
Although this is only one game, the importance of this win for the Buckeyes season should not be minimized. After their disapointing loss Saturday on the road to Minnesota, there were questions as to when if ever would the Buckeyes be able to win a conference road game this season. In addition, Saturday's loss has brought up chatter among fans and media alike whether the team could finish the Big Ten play with a .500 conference record, let alone make the NCAA tournament. This win may not totally allay those fears, but it just might be the confidence boost the Bucks needed to make another run at the Big Ten title. To understand how significant this win is one need only look at consider this: this is only Purdue's second loss all season(its first home loss), with Purdue having defeated schools such as Tennessee, Wake Forest, and West Virginia earlier. And if that wasn't enough, the last time these teams met in West Lafayette, Ohio State left with a 25 point defeat. Hopefully they will be able to carry this momentum to their rematch with Wisconsin at the Schott on Saturday and start a conference win streak.