January 8, 2013

Three-point play: Purdue

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COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Just three days removed from its loss to Illinois, the No. 15 Ohio State men's basketball team (11-3, 1-1) will hit the road again and head to West Lafayette, Ind. to take on Purdue (7-7, 1-1). On Monday Thad Matta and members of his squad met with the media to help preview the Buckeyes' Big Ten battle with the Boilermakers.

Overcoming Illinois

OSU won't have to wait long to get the bad taste that it has in its mouth following its 74-55 loss to the Illini on Saturday. Matta said that John Groce's squad deserves credit for the win, but that the Buckeyes didn't play like the Buckeyes on Saturday.

"I have to throw Saturday out. We did things that were so uncharacteristic. I said, 'Look, I'm not sure who was in your jerseys in this game,'" Matta said. "Just said things that happened that you're saying that can't happen."

OSU point guard Shannon Scott said that the negatives for the Buckeyes started in warmups, when it was apparent that their collective mindset wasn't in the right place in Champaign.

"We just gotta take a better approach to it. Before the game, our minds weren't really there," Scott said. "We just can't go out and play. We have to have a game plan and follow that."

Common denominators

Ohio State's loss to the Illini was their third in as many attempts against ranked opponents this season. Combined with their defeats at the hands of Duke and Kansas in the out-of-conference schedule, the Buckeyes have shot a dismal 32.6 percent from the field in their three losses, and appears to be the one thing holding back this year's OSU squad.

"We've been taking a lot of early shots. We're not taking the best shots," Scott said. "I think we start moving the ball more, making the defense guard us some more, we'll have better shots and then the opportunities will go up from there."

Matta admitted that the Buckeyes' problems are as simple as them failing to connect on shots, and that other than 16 turnovers against Illinois, nothing has really stood out from a negative standpoint in his team's three defeats.

"I have looked at the film throughout since we've played those games and (there's) not anything that I can say boy, it happened here, it happened here, it happened here besides maybe a ball doesn't go into a basket," Matta said. "We've just missed some- I don't want to say easy shots- but shots that you probably have to make to win that basketball game."

Previewing Purdue

While the Boilermakers are sporting a 7-7 record heading into tonight's contest, one of those wins came over the Illini just a week ago. Purdue also played Michigan State tight on Saturday, which Matta hopes is something that grabs the Buckeyes' attention.

"Even going back into here last year and what they did for 30 minutes in East Lansing, I think Michigan State just put a run on them, but it was back and forth the whole way," Matta said. "Coming off of Saturday's game, their awareness better be heightened."

OSU forward Deshaun Thomas said that Purdue's Mackey Arena is one of the loudest environments that he's played in, and that the Buckeyes will have to be prepared to deal with a physical Boilermakers squad.

"I know it's going to be tough," Thomas said. "We gonna have to keep our heads in and fight. That's one thing Purdue do, they fight too and we gotta match their intensity."


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