Thomas stars as Ohio State beats Purdue
by Jeff Washburn, USA TODAY Sports
Recruiting and then landing an Indiana Mr. Basketball is usually a springboard to success for any college team.
For the second time in four days, a former Indiana Mr. Basketball made life miserable for Purdue. And for the second time in as many games, the Boilermakers couldn’t muster enough offense to overcome it.
Deshaun Thomas, Indiana’s 2010 Mr. Basketball, had 22 points and seven rebounds Tuesday night, leading 14th-ranked Ohio State to a 74-64 victory in Mackey Arena.
“He has no conscience when he catches the ball,” Purdue senior D.J. Byrd said of Thomas’ knack for making big shots. “If he is a little bit open, even if he is guarded, he can shoot over the top. He is long and can get a shot up over pretty much anybody.”
The 6-foot-7 Thomas, who leads the Big Ten in scoring, made 8 of 13 field goal attempts, including 4 of 7 from 3-point range, and 2 of 4 free throws to finish as the game’s leading scorer.
“He knocked down the first shot of the game, and you can’t let that happen,” Byrd said. “When we are starting from behind, it’s tough to come back against a team like that.”
On Saturday, 18th-ranked Michigan State got a career-best 22 points from 2012 Mr. Basketball Gary Harris in a 23-point victory against Purdue in the Breslin Center.
Thomas’ 14-point first half helped the Buckeyes (12-3, 2-1) shoot 57.1 percent from the field (16 of 28) and build a 39-29 lead. Ohio State, which has beaten Purdue three consecutive times, also enjoyed a 22-11 first-half rebounding advantage.
That was crucial when OSU point guard Aaron Craft picked up two quick fouls and played only five minutes during the opening 20 minutes.
Ohio State finished 31 of 55 from the field (56.4 percent) and outrebounded the Boilermakers, 39-32.
Bench play also was huge for Ohio State in building a 10-point lead at intermission. Evan Ravenel, LaQuinton Ross and Shannon Scott combined for 17 points and eight rebounds while Craft was on the bench.
“In the first half, we got a little stagnant and took a couple of bad shots,” Byrd said of the … [For more on Thomas stars as No. 14 Ohio State beats Purdue, click here.]