INDIANAPOLIS – Seth Towns scored six of his season-high 12 points in overtime, helping No. 9 Ohio State beat No. 21 Purdue 87-78 Friday in the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals.
With two wins in two days, the Buckeyes (20-8) will now face longtime rival and conference regular-season champion No. 4 Michigan in Saturday’s first semifinal game. Duane Washington Jr. scored 20 points for Ohio State, which led by 18 at halftime.
Trevion Williams finished with 26 points, 14 rebounds and five for Purdue (18-9), which had its five-game winning streak end. Jaden Ivey added 19 points.
For the Buckeyes it was another harrowing close call. Just 24 hours after Minnesota cut a 14-point lead to one in Ohio State’s tourney opener, they gave away the 49-31 halftime lead.
Then came Towns’ flurry. He opened overtime by making one of two free throws and made it a two-possession when his 3-pointer with 2:53 to play to make it 78-74.
Ohio State: The Buckeyes played well enough to barely win Thursday. And did the same again Friday. But they’ve need to find a finishing touch if they hope to contend for the tourney title.
Purdue: Coach Matt Painter’s team had been one of the hottest in the Big Ten but was doomed by a miserable first half in Indy. It’s only the second loss the Boilermakers have suffered inside the state border. And they won’t have to leave the state again this year.
Ohio State: Faces No. 4 Michigan in Saturday’s first semifinal.
Purdue: Will wait to see who they play when the NCAA Tournament bracket comes out Sunday.