WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) -- Je'Kel Foster was just too quick for
The Ohio State guard tied his career high with six steals,
repeatedly leading the Buckeyes (No. 16 ESPN/USA Today; No. 19 AP) to easy baskets in an
80-64 victory on Wednesday night.
"It was the defense. The coach gave us a halftime speech, more
or less to get us motivated on defense, to play harder," said
Foster, who also had 10 points and five rebounds.
"We did a good job of sharing the ball and took some great
shots. Fortunately, they fell down for us."
Ohio State forced 21 turnovers that led to 30 points. Thirteen
of Purdue's errors were steals by the Buckeyes.
"Defense is always the key to the game," said J.J. Sullinger,
who led Ohio State with 17 points. "Our best offense is in
transition, and we can only run when we stop them at the other end.
Playing the passing lanes the way we did tonight was in our favor
and we got some easy baskets from it."
The six steals by Foster tied his career high set last month
"You can't even describe what type of player Je'Kel is,"
Sullinger said. "He's tough, he's nasty, he's tenacious on
defense. He's our leader, man."
The Buckeyes (12-1, 2-1 Big Ten) built a 14-point halftime lead,
forced four turnovers by Purdue in the first 2 minutes of the
second half and led by as many as 25 points midway through the
period. The Boilermakers never came closer than 16 points the rest
of the way.
Terence Dials added 13 points for Ohio State, while Matt
Sylvester had 10.
"You've got to give yourself a chance," Purdue coach Matt
Painter said. "They shot the ball well. We had a chance, but we
turned the ball over. ... There's no doubt we were careless.
"When they have three, four of those [turnovers leading to
baskets], that's not eight points, that's a 16-point swing,"
Purdue scored the first basket of the game, but Ohio State went
on a 12-0 run, including six points by Sylvester, and turned back
every comeback by the Boilermakers with timely 3-pointers. Ohio
State was 11-of-22 from behind the arc.
"We did a nice job moving the basketball," Buckeyes coach Thad
Matta said. "A couple of those [3-pointers] were pretty deep, to
be honest. But to their credit, they found the open guy."
The Buckeyes hit eight from long range in the first half,
including consecutive shots by Foster and Ivan Harris after Purdue
pulled within four points midway through the period.
The Boilermakers shot 52 percent and outrebounded Ohio State
16-11 in the first half, but 11 Purdue turnovers led to 16 points
for the Buckeyes. The third of three 3-pointers by Sullinger pushed
the lead to 40-26 with under 3 minutes to go, and after Purdue
scored twice, the Buckeyes' final baskets of the half were
3-pointers by Ron Lewis.
"We didn't disrupt anything they were doing," Painter said.