No. 24 Ohio State holds off Purdue 63-61

Ohio State guard Lenzelle Smith Jr., right, drives the ball against Purdue center A.J. Hammons (20) in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in the first round of the Big Ten Conference tournament Thursday, March 13, 2014, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato)
Ohio State guard Lenzelle Smith Jr., right, drives the ball against Purdue center A.J. Hammons (20) in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in the first round of the Big Ten Conference tournament Thursday, March 13, 2014, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — LaQuinton Ross scored 19 points and Aaron Craft finished with 16 on Thursday, helping No. 24 Ohio State hang on for a 63-61 victory over Purdue in the Big Ten tournament.

The win sent the defending tourney champs into Friday’s quarterfinals against fourth-seeded Nebraska.

Purdue (15-17) didn’t make it easy on the fifth-seeded Buckeyes.

A.J. Hammons finished with 15 points and nine rebounds, while senior Terone Johnson finished with 10 for the 12th seeded Boilermakers, who were eliminated after a seventh straight loss.

The Boilermakers stayed closer than expected, trailing just 30-27 at halftime. They led much of the second half and still had a chance to win it at the end.

Ohio State (24-8) seemingly had control after a 12-3 run gave it a late 59-54 lead with 3:24 left. But after the Buckeyes missed two free throws in the final 15 seconds, Johnson’s buzzer-beating 3 came up short.

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