As Robbie Hummel drained his record-setting eighth three-pointer in front of the Ohio State bench with 1:35 left in the first half, all OSU coach Thad Matta could do was shake his head.
Late in the second half, Evan Turner gave him a reason to smile again.
Turner paced the Buckeyes with a career-high 32 points, 23 coming in the second half, as Ohio State erased a double-digit deficit, and 35 points from Robbie Hummel, to upset No. 6 Purdue 70-66 in Mackey Arena.
In a game that the Buckeyes desperately needed to win in order to avoid a 1-4 start in conference play, Turner put the team on his injured back to lead a furious comeback in the final minutes of the game.
Ohio State opened the game using a 1-3-1 matchup zone to keep Purdue's guards out of the lane to try to make the Boilermakers win from outside.
On paper, it worked—the Boilermakers attempted just five two-point field goals in the first half and launched 22 three-pointers.
But someone forgot to account for Robbie Hummel.
Like last year, when they gave up six or more three-pointers to six different players, the Buckeyes had serious lapses in their zone defense.
Hummel found the open spots on the perimeter and the Buckeyes' defense was slow to recognize the shooter and rotate to the three-point line.
He hit shots from the left wing, right wing, top of the key, and baseline, much to the delight of the 14,123 people in attendance. Hummel had a career-high 29 points in the first half, and Purdue led 41-29 at the break.
Matta finally abandoned the zone after Hummel's eighth three-pointer, going man-to-man and giving defensive specialist David Lighty the task of slowing down the explosive junior forward.
The results were mixed; the Bucks kept the deficit around 10 points for most of the second half, but every time they seemed to cut into the lead, a turnover or missed opportunity led to an easy Boilermaker bucket to stretch the lead back out.
But Lighty did a great job of denying Hummel on the perimeter, and the 6'8" forward wasn't nearly as aggressive in looking for his own shot. Hummel was just 2-8 from the field in the second half, including 0-3 from the three-point line.
Then Turner's magical second half began.
With Chris Kramer in foul trouble, Turner attacked the basket to open the second half, scoring eight quick points in the first five minutes to cut the lead to 47-42.
But a three-point play from E'Twaun Moore, and a drought for the Buckeyes that saw one made field goal in nearly eight minutes, and Purdue led by 13 with just over seven minutes left.
When JaJuan Johnson threw down a dunk on a fast break with four minutes to go, Purdue was up by 10 and looked to have sealed the win.
But once again, Evan Turner took over.
Turner responded with a three-point play of his own. Back-to-back turnovers from Purdue led to an easy layup and dunk for Turner, cutting the lead to three with 3:15 remaining.
After Dallas Lauderdale emphatically blocked Chris Kramer on the other end, William Buford found Turner at the top of the key for a three, and suddenly the game was tied for the first time since early in the first half.
Turner continued his barrage towards the basket in the final minutes, getting fouled twice and knocking down all four free throws.
Trailing by two with less than a minute left, Purdue failed to get off a shot and turned the ball over for the 14th time. After a Jeremie Simmons layup, Hummel and Buford traded free throws before Purdue struggled to get off a shot in the closing seconds.
Hummel saw his 13th three-point attempt clang off the side of the rim, Buford grabbed the rebound, and the Buckeyes were celebrating their first road win of the season.
It was Purdue's first loss at home this season, and second in a row after starting the season 14-0, ranked as high as No. 4.
For the Buckeyes, they walk away from a brutal stretch to open the Big 10 season with a 2-3 record. They return home Saturday night to host No. 16 Wisconsin.
And they can breathe a little easier knowing No. 21 is back to his old self.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!