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February 8, 2014

Boilermakers implode on road

Purdue-Ohio State box score

COLUMBUS, Ohio - With 9:21 remaining to play Saturday evening at Ohio State, Purdue had used a 9-2 run to cut a double-digit Buckeye lead to just three.

Translation: It was a whole new ball game.

Then …

"We just imploded at that time," Purdue coach Matt Painter said following his team's eventual 67-49 loss. "… We self-destructed and turned the ball over and you just can't do that against a team like Ohio State."

Purdue had a chance to win, but once that opportunity presented itself, the Boilermakers folded.

"We beat ourselves," freshman Kendall Stephens said. "Bad shots, turnovers, missed assignments. It got us beat."

It was really a little bit of everything, first a sequence in which the Boilermakers committed five of their 15 turnovers in the span of just seven possessions, at the worst possible time.

It was quick shots, a phase of the game Stephens jumped to the front of the line afterward to take responsibility for.

"I took some bad shots, which they were able to make a run on," he said. "… We made bad decisions and it really started with me. I have to get better. I started getting selfish and it really hurt the team. That's what really hurt our run.

"It's just immaturity. I just have to be more mentally focused and mentally tougher and watch more film. It's not hard. It's just about being smart and knowing what's going on."

Stephens shot Purdue into the game in scoring a team-high 12 points on three threes and a dynamic driving and-one, but a couple hurried off-balance jumpers cost the Boilermakers possessions and led to offense for an opportunistic Ohio State team that scored 18 points off turnovers and 12 off fast-break chances, though those two categories overlap.

It was turnovers, 15 of them for the game.

That sequence where Purdue was overwhelmed by its own giveaways coincided with the Buckeyes answering Terone Johnson's three - the shot that got the Boilermakers within three - by outscoring its visitor 19-4 to close the game, ending on a run of seven points to earn a blowout margin.

In the first half, after which Purdue trailed 31-25, it was missed opportunities around the basket that cost Painter's team; in the second, it was the interior in general, among other things.

Purdue managed just one offensive rebound after halftime. Granted, opportunities were limited. It missed only nine shots in the half in shooting 55 percent, but when Purdue's been at its best this season, it's been more active on the offensive glass.

And after making two quick baskets to open the second half, A.J. Hammons was neutralized for the final 18 minutes of play, failing to score and finishing with five turnovers.

"They were crowding the post, playing off people basically," said Hammons, who scored 11 points, with seven rebounds and three blocks. "… We just have to get better ball movement and keep moving whenever I get the ball."

With Hammons being taken away, Purdue couldn't make Ohio State pay for its added attention.

"He just did a poor job of recognizing what was going on," Painter said. "… How we handle it, it's something we work on with him every day. He'll get to where he's pretty good at it, then revert back."

The same has been said all season about the Boilermakers defensively.

At Ohio State, they struggled, allowing the Buckeyes to shoot 50 percent after halftime, to trade baskets too often, and allowing guard Lenzelle Smith space enough to make four triples in the final 20 minutes. He scored 16 points, while LaQuinton Ross, who burned Purdue in the first meeting between these teams, finished with a game-high 17.

"We broke down," said Purdue's Rapheal Davis, who scored 11 points on 5-of-5 shooting, with no turnovers. "We have to be better. We have to learn to finish games and not get the ball taken from us. Just simple things."

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