COLUMBUS, Ohio – Jaden Ivey let the emotions out.
The Purdue freshman nailed a 3-pointer with five seconds remaining to send the Boilermakers to a 67-65 win over No. 15 Ohio State on Tuesday at Value City Arena and led his triumphant team into the locker room, shouting “Let's go!”
Just minutes later, Ivey was back in the arena, speaking with his mother, Notre Dame women's basketball coach Niele Ivey, who had attended the game, and fighting back tears as he did so.
“I told myself it was game over,” Ivey said of the last shot, his voice cracking again. “This game is over, I'm hitting this shot. I've been in a slump, and I'm just trying to gather myself because I want this game so bad. ... I want to win so bad. Just to see that shot go in, it just means everything.
“My mom, I was thankful she was able to be there today,” he continued. “I walked out there (after the game) and I was in tears because we both love this game so much. I just love her so much and I've been in a slump and she's been there for me.”
The victory was Purdue's fourth in a row. Ivey had a career-high 15 points and Trevion Williams added 16 points. Sasha Stefanovic chipped in 15 points and the Boilermakers picked up their first road win over a top-15 team since February 2012.
Ivey went 0 for 5 from 3-point range Sunday against Penn State and was back out on the Mackey Arena court just minutes after that game, taking extra shots. He missed his first four from long distance Tuesday, but made his last two, including the game-winner. He came into the game shooting just 18.5% on 3s.
“I know I can shoot, I've got it in me, I've got the confidence,” Ivey said. “I'm so glad I hit that shot to win. This is a big road win, Ohio State is a great team. ... It wasn't the best game, but we've got some dogs on this court that want to win regardless. All props to my teammates for instilling that confidence in me.”
The Boilermakers (11-5, 6-3 Big Ten) trailed most of the night and fell behind 64-59 when Kyle Ahrens nailed a 3-pointer with 2:08 to play. It was Ohio State's 14th and final 3-pointer of the game. The Buckeyes shot 40% from beyond the arc.
Williams responded with a basket in the post to cut the deficit to three. After an Ohio State (11-4, 5-4) turnover, Stefanovic came off a screen and swished a 3 with 52 seconds left despite missing his previous four attempts from beyond the arc. The junior from Crown Point had 13 points in the second half.
“The purpose of me being on the floor sometimes is being ready to shoot,” Stefanovic said. “Try to knock down 3s and provide our team that ability behind the 3-point line to spread out the offense. But (Ohio State) did a good job of just chasing me around and making 3s tough for me, so I was just trying to get to the rim a little bit more (in the second half).”
With the game tied, Ohio State went to Ahrens for another 3, but Aaron Wheeler flew in for a block, giving Purdue the last possession. The ball was put in Ivey's hands rather than Williams' because of the guard's ability to get to the rim throughout the game.
Although the play was for Ivey to go to the basket, the lane was closed off and the freshman from Mishawaka made a 3-pointer in rhythm to put Purdue up 67-64. Although Ivey hasn't the shot the ball well this season, his big shot didn't surprise coach Matt Painter.
“(Ivey) has not made that shot for us this year,” Painter said. “But he makes it in practice. When he dribbles in place and pulls, he makes it a lot. So that wasn't something that was new to us. It was new to our opponents.”
The Buckeyes had one more opportunity to knot the game. Duane Washington Jr., who finished with 20 points on 6-for-9 shooting from 3-point range, raced up the sideline looking for an equalizer from deep. Painter called for a foul and Wheeler alertly grabbed the Buckeyes' guard before he could get a shot off.
“(Washington) was hot and right as I saw him, I'm just like, 'Oh s---', he's going to make a 30-footer,' ” Painter said. “So I just screamed for a foul.”
After a made free throw, Washington intentionally missed the second and Wheeler grabbed the rebound before heaving the ball at the other basket as the buzzer sounded. Purdue raced onto the court, jumping on Ivey at the center of the scrum.