Indianapolis, IN (SportsNetwork.com) - LaQuinton Ross had 19 points and 15 rebounds as the 24th-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes held off the Purdue Boilermakers, 63-61, in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament.
Aaron Craft added 16 points and five assists for the Buckeyes (24-8), who have won six straight against Purdue. Lenzelle Smith Jr. tallied nine points to surpass 1,000 for his career.
Ohio State will play Nebraska in the quarterfinals on Friday.
"It's good to see us win one of these ugly games. We've been in this position, couldn't finish them out. We didn't play as well as we wanted to today and I give Purdue all the credit for that. I thought they played hard, and especially the second half," said Ohio State coach Thad Matta.
A.J. Hammons ended with 15 points and nine boards for the Boilermakers (15-17), who have lost seven in a row to end their season. Ronnie Johnson donated 12 points, while Terone Johnson and Kendall Stephens each added 10 points.
"Obviously I thought it was a disappointing loss for us. It was a well fought game. I thought we did some really good things in the first half defensively but simply couldn't rebound the basketball," said Purdue coach Matt Painter.
Trailing 51-47 with 8:18 to play, Ohio State went on a 12-3 run to take the lead for good. Craft tallied five points during the surge that Sam Thompson capped with a slam for a 59-54 edge with 3:25 left.
However, the Boilermakers pulled within one when Stephens connected on two free throws and Ronnie Johnson made a layup.
A nice play by Craft helped Ohio State hold on for the victory. After missing a jumper, he stole the ball from Hammons to give the Buckeyes possession. Smith was then fouled and made both foul shots to make it a 61-58 contest with 28.5 seconds left.
Hammons kept the Boilermakers alive with a layup at the other end, and Purdue had a chance to tie the game or take the lead after Craft went 1-of-2 from the line with 14.5 ticks remaining. Ronnie Johnson, however, turned the ball over.
Smith was quickly fouled and went 1-of-2 from the charity stripe, making it 63-60.
The Buckeyes decided to send Ronnie Johnson to the line with 2.8 seconds to go. He made the first shot before intentionally missing the second. Purdue kept possession when the ball hit off an Ohio State player and went out of bounds, but Terone Johnson's buzzer-beating 3-pointer came up short.
Earlier, the Boilermakers trailed just 30-27 at halftime. They then controlled the tempo during the early stages of the second half.
Purdue's lead in the all-time series has been cut to 83-82 ... Ohio State defeated Wisconsin, 50-43, in last year's title tilt to claim its fifth Big Ten Tournament trophy.