Evan Turner kicked off the 2009-10 campaign with the second triple-double in Buckeye history in a 100-60 dismantling of Alcorn State tonight in The Schott. The Villain joined Dennis Hopson as the only other Buckeye to accomplish the feat with a gaudy stat line of 14 points, 17 boards and 10 assists in 30 minutes. He threw in 2 steals and 2 blocks for good measure against only 2 turnovers in his first game as the team's legit point guard.
This certainly wasn't a one man beat down as five Buckeyes reached double figures led by Jon Diebler's 22 on 7/10 from the floor including 6/9 from downtown. Wil Buford added 19 points (8/14 FG, 3/7 3FG), Jeremie Simmons chipped in with 12 (5/8) and Walter Offutt 11 in 13 minutes of action.
Playing his first game since a broken foot sidelined him 7 games into last season, David Lighty showed no ill effects playing his usual all-around game adding 8 points, 8 assists and 4 boards in 22 minutes.
The perimeter heavy Buckeyes flashed unselfish ball movement all night against an over matched Braves squad creating assists on 29 of 38 field goals. As expected, OSU pushed the ball at every opportunity (ie: Madsen, Z or Kecman didn't grab the defensive board) typically forgoing an outlet pass with the rebounder relentlessly pushing the ball up court. From there, OSU lined the wings with shooters launching 33 of 73 shots from beyond the arc for the game including 19 triple tries on 40 1st half field goals. Obviously the three is going to be a major weapon for the Buckeyes this season but I would've liked to have seen a few more aggressive dribble drives, especially in transition. A minor critique, but something to keep an eye on. With no bigs on the roster with the ability to average more than 6 or 7 points a game, there's no question plenty of threes will rightfully be hoisted this year but they shouldn't give up on trying to get in the lane, draw some fouls and get to the line once the competition steps up. But, hey, why stop shooting them if you are making 8 of 19, right?!
This one was over at the 13 minute mark of the 1st half as OSU built an 18-5 lead behind Turner's 4 points, 6 boards and 3 assists in the opening 7 minutes. It would get even uglier after a 17-2 run fueled by a Buford triple, two threes from Diebler and two dunks from Turner, swelled a 27-15 lead to 44-17 with 5:16 left in the half. The Buckeyes would take a 56-28 lead into the locker room as Deebs (16), ET (12) and Buford (11) combined for 39 points on 14/23 shooting. Again highlighting the ball movement (and hot shooting), OSU assisted on 18 of 22 first half FG's.
The newly installed man to man defense had zero troubles with Alcorn's guards as the Buckeyes held the Braves to 34% the floor, created 13 turnovers and converted 8 first half TO's into 15 points. I must say, though, I have a hard time believing OSU can play straight man all year long mostly based off what we saw from the bigs. Dallas showed last year he has the propensity to draw fouls far from the hoop and while Zisis isn't a stiff but he's not exactly agile and I would expect better opponents to continuously run high ball screens to initiate the offense and force our bigs to hedge and recover. Until I see it, I am a little skeptical of how effective Dallas, Z and Madsen will fare in that situation. Though he wasn't asked to hedge, Z did pick up 2 fouls in less than 2 minutes in the first half. Madsen is clearly more polished but less physical preferring to face the basket and shoot spot up jumpers from the baseline. He chipped in 7 points and 4 boards with zero turnovers in 21 minutes tonight. One good thing about Madsen, he seems to be fully aware of what he can and can't do.
Overall, it was a great start to what should be an exciting season. This team, with its talent on the wings and an uptempo style of play, will be incredibly fun to watch. The next chance to catch the highlight reel comes Thursday @ 7pm in the Schott against James Madison. Tune in to the BTN. You can do it. As a bonus, you'll get to see the 'stache on Titus, live. It's dominant: