It looked like Keita Bates-Diop had saved Ohio State. His near-desperation 3-point with 5 seconds looked sure to force the Buckeyes’ game at home against Penn State to overtime, where surely they would prevail and stay perfect in Big Ten play.
Tony Carr had other ideas.
The Penn State star responded to Bates-Diop’s killer shot with his own, a heave from just inside half-court before time expired to give the Nittany Lions an 82-79 victory Thursday in Columbus.
Carr scored 13 of Penn State’s final 15 points to end with 28 for the game to stave off a three-game losing streak and keep the Nittany Lions’ fading NCAA tournament hopes smoldering.
For the Buckeyes, it’s a borderline crushing loss given what it does to their Big Ten title hopes. Sure, they’re only a game behind LINK Carson Edwards and Purdue, but the Boilermakers have won 16-straight and looks like not only the clear Big Ten favorite, but a national title contender to boot.
Purdue and the Bucks meet just once this season, and it’s in West Lafayette. The Boilers have to visit Michigan State, but they’ve got a two-game lead on the Spartans. Other than that trip to East Lansing, all Purdue’s remaining away games come against teams outside the KenPom top 85. Ohio State still has to go to Michigan, too.
There’s still a ton of basketball to be played, but Penn State just cleared a path for Purdue to steam ahead to an outright Big Ten title.