No. 1 Ohio State survived a scare Saturday against Illinois, then a minor one Monday when coach Thad Matta passed along good news about William Buford’s ankle.
The junior guard missed most of the final 10 minutes of Saturday’s game when he twisted an ankle before re-entering the game in the final minute to hit two crucial free throws. X-rays showed the ankle to be fine.
“It swelled up a little bit on the way home, but nothing major,” Matta told reporters during the Big Ten coaches’ teleconference. “He was moving well (in practice Sunday) and expect him to be full-go today as well as tomorrow.”
That’s a good sign for the 20-0 Buckeyes, who play host to No. 12 Purdue Tuesday night. Buford plays a massive amount of minutes, as do all of Ohio State’s starters. If he were out, it’d mean more time for freshman Deshaun Thomas, which is good and bad. Good because Thomas is immensely talented. Bad because it’s Purdue, which plays perhaps the nastiest defense in the nation.
It’s also a game for which the Boilermakers (17-3) are more than a little pumped.
“It’s great,” point guard Lewis Jackson told the Journal & Courier. “Like coach (Matt) Painter said in the locker room after the (Michigan State) game, ‘How many times can you go to the No. 1 team’s home and try to knock them off?’
“They are a game up on us in the Big Ten right now. That will be great momentum after this win and going in there and knocking them off and being at the top of the Big Ten. It could be a great week for us if we take care of business.”
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