Daequan Cook looks comfortable with this 'coming off the bench' stuff. The freshman had another big night as the Buckeyes cruised to a 54-25 halftime en route to a 91-57 victory in Nationwide Arena. Cook ignited a 30-4 run as soon as he stepped on the court with two three-pointers, an ankle-breaking turnaround jumper in the lane, and a nice lefty teardrop on a baseline drive while hitting the glass to total 15 points and 7 rebounds in about 13 minutes of action in the first half. Cook added a bucket and 4 rebounds in the second stanza to earn his first collegiate double-double with a strong 17 point, 11 rebound performance in 25 minutes. Another personal favorite, Matt Turdwiggler, (or is that Terwilliger?) had a monster first half, going 3-3 including a 3 pointer and set his career high with 12 points. The whole roster got into the act before it was over. Ron-Ron Lewis had 10 points in just over a minute in the first half by drilling 3 three's plus a free throw and finished with 16 points and 7 rebounds. Jamar Butler again led the way with 9 assists against only 3 points but it is clear to me that Jamar is really looking to get the young guys' confidence up and will score when it's needed against better competition. Mike Conley was his typical steady self delivering 8 points, 5 boards, and 5 dimes in 23 minutes and fellow freshman David Lighty chipped in 11. Again, the Bucks received another solid effort from a guy I've been very critical of in his career, Ivan Harris. The former McDonald's All-American looks like he is finally growing a pair as evidenced by his actually going inside to get shots and help on the glass. Harris dropped in a team high 19 points and actually took more 2 point shots than 3 point shots and snatched 5 boards in 23 minutes.
I hesitate to let out a 'Hallelujah' just yet, because he could easily turn soft once we play a real team like UNC Wednesday night. The game at UNC tips off at 9pm in Chapel Hill as part of the ACC/Big10 Challenge. This will be a great measuring stick for the young guns although a UNC victory is likely considering Greg Oden will not play, UNC is at home, and have a huge advantage on the front line led by a big 6-9 sophomore Tyler Hansbrough.
Notes: Greg Oden had the cast from his right wrist removed and was seen giving some soft high-fives and exercising his wrist on the bench. Rumors swirl that he might actually be back in time for the December 16 matchup vs. Cincinnati. It's worth noting that the UC game is being played in Oden's hometown of Indianapolis. My guess is Oden will not play but hopefully will be back for the December 23rd battle at reigning National Champion Florida...The victory in Nationwide Arena was the first win the building has seen since the Blue Jackets beat Calgary on November 3rd. The game was played in Nationwide to prepare for the arena hosting the first two rounds of the NCAA tourney in March...The game drew the first solid crowd of the year with attendance announced at 17,463. I can only assume that the spike is attendance was attributed to the fact that beer is served at off-campus venues.