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Purdue loses in Big Ten tourney opener

INDIANAPOLIS – Purdue's bid for the first surprise result in the Big Ten tournament and its last chance to get an NCAA tournament bid fell short.

The No. 12 seed Boilermakers fell 63-61 to No 5 seed Ohio State in the second game of Thursday's opening round.

Purdue (15-17) hung close to No. 25 Ohio State (24-8), which defeated the Boilermakers 78-69 and 67-49 this season, never falling behind by more than seven.

Ohio State looked ready to shake Purdue with 3:23 to play when an ally-oop dunk by Amir Williams gave the Buckeyes a 59-54 lead.

But the Boilermakers came back with a pair of Kendall Stephens free throws and a layup by Ronnie Johnson to cut their deficit to 59-58 with 1:36 to play.

Purdue then hurt itself twice during the next minute as A.J. Hammons had the ball stripped from on him after a defensive rebound with 47 seconds to play to give Ohio State another chance. Then, after the Buckeyes missed a 3-pointer, Errick Peck fouled Lenzelle Smith Jr. on the rebound, and Smith sank both ends of a one-and-one to take a 61-58 lead.

Hammons got a layup with 18.1 seconds to play, but Aaron Craft hit one of two free throws for a 62-60 lead with 14.5 seconds to play.

Purdue appeared to make its final mistake as Terone Johnson couldn't handle a handoff from Ronnie Johnson, turning the ball over to Ohio State.

But Smith only made one of two free throws after the turnover, and Ronnie Johnson hit a free throw with 2.8 seconds to play to cut the deficit to 63-6. His intentional miss of the second went out of bounds off Ohio State.

After the referees reviewed the play, Purdue kept possession. The inbounds pass went to Terone Johnson, who missed a fadeaway 3 at the buzzer that Smith appeared to get a piece of.

For more on this game, see Friday's print edition of The Journal Gazette or visit www.journalgazette.net after 3 a.m. Friday.

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