Ross’ 17, Smith’s 16 lead OSU past Purdue, 67-49 (The Associated Press)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Lenzelle Smith Jr., starting his 100th game, hit 4 of 7 3-pointers and scored 16 points to lead Ohio State past Purdue 67-49 on Saturday night, the Buckeyes’ third win in a row after losing five of six.LaQuinton Ross led the way with 17 points for Ohio State (19-5, 6-5 Big Ten).Reserves Kendall Stephens and Rapheal Davis had 12 and 11 points with A.J. Hammons adding 11 for the Boilermakers (14-10, 4-7), who have lost five of six overall and their last four on the road.The Buckeyes won their first 15 games to get to No. 3 in the nation. Then lost four in a row and split the next two. Coming off two huge road wins, winning at No. 14 Wisconsin 59-58 on Feb. 1 and at No. 17 Iowa 76-69 on Tuesday.Ahead by six at the half, the Buckeyes and Boilermakers traded buckets to start the second half.With Ohio State on top 41-36 after Davis’ layup, the Buckeyes ran off five quick points for their biggest lead of the night to that point.Smith poured in a 3 from the left wing off a Scott pass and Smith then returned the favor with a defensive rebound and an outlet pass that led to Scott’s breakaway. View gallery Ohio State’s Aaron Craft (4) guards Purdue’s Bryson Scott (12) during the first half of an N … Purdue didn’t blink, however.The Boilermakers responded with a 9-2 run which featured Terone Johnson’s first points of the game – he was 0 for 5 from the field before hitting a 3 – to cut the lead to 48-45.Smith came right back with a 3, though, to stem the comeback. Two possessions later, Williams was fouled by Hammons and hit two free throws. Smith then stole the ball and hit a 3 to push the lead to 56-45 with 5:43 left.The lead was never in doubt the rest of the way.It was an odd first half, with Purdue breaking out to a 6-0 lead. Ohio State coach Thad Matta ripped into his lethargic team and it responded with a 10-0 run, fueled for the most part by starting center Amir Williams’s two baskets and a blocked shot.But Williams, along with his replacement, Trey McDonald, each picked up two fouls by the midpoint of the half. That heralded the introduction of the Buckeyes’ small lineup, with 6-foot-8 swingman Ross guarding Purdue’s Hammons while surrounded with four guards.Ohio State padded its lead to 23-14 before the Boilermakers ripped off six points in a row, built around Stephens’ 3, to cut the gap to 25-22. But the Buckeyes reeled off the next six points – a 3 by Thompson, Smith’s baseline pull-up and a Craft free throw – to push the advantage back to nine.Purdue cut it to 31-25 at the break on Davis’ shot behind the arc.Johnson, leading the Boilermakers with 12.6 points a game coming in, misfired on all four of his shots from the field in the first 20 minutes and was scoreless. He finished with three points.After a bleak month of January, there is some daylight for Ohio State.The Buckeyes have seven Big Ten games left: four at home (No. 10 Michigan, Northwestern, Minnesota, No. 9 Michigan State) and three on road (at Illinois, Penn State and Indiana).—Follow Rusty Miller on Twitter: & RecreationBasketballPurdueThe Buckeyes

Continue Reading: Ross’ 17, Smith’s 16 lead OSU past Purdue, 67-49 (The Associated Press)