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Big Ten Tournament: No. 24 Ohio State survives over Purdue

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Ohio State escaped with an opening-round win over Purdue on Thursday as the No. 24 Buckeyes held off the Boilermakers, 63-61, in Indianapolis.

The No. 5 seed Buckeyes needed stops on its final two defensive possessions to secure victory over No. 12 seed Purdue.

RELATED: Is your team in the field of 68? Check our latest Bracketology

Leading, 62-60, with under 10 seconds remaining, Ohio State senior Lenzelle Smith Jr., stole the ball on a botched dribble hand-off between Purdue guards — and brothers — Ronnie and Terone Johnson.

Smith (nine points) knocked down one of two free throws with 5.1 seconds remaining to give Ohio State a 63-60 lead and the Buckeyes opted to foul Ronnie Johnson (12 points) with 2.8 seconds left to prevent a tying three-point attempt.

Johnson made the first free throw attempt and his purposely-missed second free throw attempt was knocked out of bounds by the Buckeyes’ Smith with 1.6 seconds left. Purdue guard Terone Johnson (10 points) had a three-point attempt from the left wing on the final shot for the win, but it went off the back iron and missed.

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LaQuinton Ross led the Buckeyes with 19 points and 15 rebounds in a monster effort for the junior wing, while senior guard Aaron Craft added 16 points, five assists and three steals, including a critical steal with under a minute remaining to extend an Ohio State possession that led to foul and two Smith free throws when the Buckeyes led by a point.

No. 12 seed Purdue (15-17) had four players in double-figures, led by sophomore center A.J. Hammons, who finished with 15 points.

Ohio State (24-8) advances to face No. 4 seed Nebraska in the second game of the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals on Friday.

VIDEO: Marquette’s Henry Ellenson shows off his versatility

Marquette's Henry Ellenson is fouled by Providence's Ben Bentil as he drives to the basket during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
(AP Photo/Morry Gash)
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I’m on record saying that I would consider Marquette freshman Henry Ellenson if I had the No. 2 pick in the NBA Draft, and while, at this point, I think that Brandon Ingram is probably going to end up going No. 2 — (Maybe No. 1???) — I still believe that Ellenson is going to be one of the best players from this draft class.

Why?

Well, just take a look at these highlights from the 26-point, 16-rebound performance he had in a win over Providence last night.

Then remember that Ellenson is 6-foot-11:

POSTERIZED: Pensacola State’s Jamal Thomas dunks through block attempt, makes coach go nuts

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A solid poster dunk went down in the junior college ranks last night as Pensacola State sophomore Jamal Thomas finished a dunk through a block attempt against Northwest Florida State.

The 6-foot-3 Thomas used his power and momentum to go through the opposing shot blocker and the play made his head coach, Pete Pena, go nuts with an over-exaggerated fist pump. The video is short, but be sure to watch for Pena’s reaction near the logo at the top right of the screen.