Evan Turner (29), Wil Buford (24) and Jeremie Simmons (17) each established new career highs in points and the Buckeyes ripped off 56 second half points in a 93-81 win over Indiana this afternoon in Bloomington.
Matt Roth's 29 points on 9/11 from downtown kept Indiana in it for much of the game but a 12-2 Buckeye burst turned a 61-60 lead into a 73-62 bulge with 6:42 to play.
The decisive run began with Jon Diebler converting three free throws after getting fouled attempting a three for the second time in the game. Following an Indiana layup, Buford scored seven straight with a baseline leaner, a triple and two foul shots before Turner capped the run with a dribble drive for two.
Indiana would get no closer than nine the rest of the way as OSU went 5/5 from the floor and 8/10 from the line excepting two missed free throws with Diebler with :26 left.
Besides the career nights from Turner, Buford and Simmons, Deebs also had a solid effort putting up 21 points, 18 in the second half, giving OSU four in double figures.
Simmons' effort also featured eight assists, tying a career high, building on his 12 point night against Michigan last Wednesday.
Turner was clearly the biggest boss (for all you Millennials out there) on the court grabbing 10 boards along with his scorching shooting night (10/14 FG, 9/10 FT) but his seven turnovers made me wonder if he had Cisco on his breath.
The bad news came in the form of a combined two field goal attempts, 0 points, 6 rebounds and two turnovers from bigs Dallas Lauderdale and B.J. Mullens. Their play was so inconsistently bad, Matta resorted to giving Kyle Madsen eight minutes (0 pt, 1 reb), mostly with P.J. Hill on the floor, causing my aorta to swell with angst.
I've said it before but why Matta would ever play those two at the same time is beyond me. It's like three on five at the offensive end when he goes with that lineup. Insane.
Ohio State trailed 39-37 at intermission despite shooting 52% thanks in large part to 11 turnovers and Roth's 12 points on 4/6 from distance. Mullens and Lauderdale attempted exactly zero field goals in the opening 20 minutes with both picking up two fouls.
The continued zone rotation struggles, 17 turnovers and Bill Robinson-esque night from the bigs gives Matta plenty to work on but he has to be feeling good about his big three plus Simmons' performance (8 asst / 1 TO) with home games against Purdue and Minnesota on deck next week.
At 15-5 overall and 5-4 in conference, even a split of the next should keep the Buckeyes in position to finish 10-8 or 9-9 in Big Ten play which should be enough to lock up an NCAA bid.
Step one is Tuesday at 7pm against the Boilers on ESPN. Hello, Erin...