Turner's Return Sparks First Conference Win

By Corey Carpenter on January 7, 2010 at 7:51 am
The Villain's return stirred up the Bucks pace.A much needed sight for sore Buckeye eyes.

Evan Turner stuck to his word from a few weeks ago and returned to action Wednesday night in Ohio State's 79-54 win over the Hoosiers.

The Villain actually started the game and Thad had no idea how much he would play before hand, but the refs would take care of that worry for him, whistling Turner for 2 fouls in the first 9 minutes of the game. As per Thad's philosophy, he wouldn't return until after halftime, finishing with 3 points, 2 boards and an assist in the half.

After Indiana scored the first bucket with ease, causing Thad to call time out and blow a gasket on the sidelines, the Bucks turned up the intensity and went on to outscore the Hoosiers, 31-6 over the next 16 minutes, including a 21-2 run that built the 23-point lead, which was fueled by Turner's replacement, PJ Hill.

Hill had 7 points and 3 assists during the run, connecting on a 3-pointer and hitting 4 of 6 free throws, while Wil Buford also had 7 during the spurt. The Hooisers woke up for the last 5 minutes, at least Christian Watford and Vardell Jones III did, combining to score Indiana's last 12 points, as the Buckeyes entered halftime with a lead of 38-20

Buford finished the half with 9 points, while Diebler added 7 and Simmons 6. Ohio State shot 48% from the field, to Indiana's 26 (5/19) and the bench outscored Indiana's 17-2. For the Hoosiers, Watford lead the way with 8 points, but had 6 of their 14 first half TO's. Jeremiah Rivers made that infamous first bucket and finished with 6 boards, 3 assists and 4 TO's.

The second half got a little sloppy, as Ohio State opened with a 14-6 run before the first TV timeout and eventually built the lead to 29 and held a healthy 20+ point lead the rest of the way. Even though the entire roster saw action in the second, the Buckeye managed to score 41 points, in comparison to the 38 in the first half.

No one was more excited ET was back than Jon Diebler, who took advantage of the space Turner creates and hit 5 of 8 bombs en route to a 21 point performance. Diebler scored in double digits twice (Pres. and Michigan) in Turner's absence and wasn't able to get off more than 10 shots, except for the previously mentioned games. Diebler ended the night 6 of 10 from the floor and 4 of 5 from the line, to go along with 3 boards and 3 steals.

Buford continued his stellar play, connecting on 6 of 11 shots and all 3 free throws in 31 minutes. He ended the night with 16 points, 6 boards and 3 assists, but also lead the team with 4 TO's. Remember, Buford was in a bit of a shooting slump for half of Turner's first 8 games, but has since scored in double digits 8 straight games. Like Turner, Lighty got into some early foul trouble and played 21 minutes on the night, going for 6 points and 4 boards, while Lauderdale helped with 5 points and 5 caroms.

PJ Hill and Jeremie Simmons ended the night with 9 and 8 respectively in a combined 41 minutes of play. Hill really brought some good energy off the bench and forced the action early, which lead to his 8 FT attempts on the night. Simmons also showed an aggressiveness towards the rack and ended the night 3 of 4 from the line, helping the Bucks make 23 of their 32 FT attempts.

As for Turner, he didn't looked slowed by the injury at all, playing 20 minutes. He ended the night 2 of 5 from the floor and 4 of 6 from the stripe, good for 8 points, to go along with 4 boards and 5 assists. I don't know if I can recall the importance of 1 player to a team in recent history. I know Indiana is bad, but the Buckeyes look like a completely different and more confident team with Turner on the floor. You could actually see the Hoosier defenders backing up when Turner brought the ball up the court and the pressure he puts on the defense opens up the entire floor and allows others to get their's. Hopefully the swagger will follow up to Minnesota this Saturday.

Vardell Jones III lead the Hoosiers with 22 points, as the Buckeyes held them to 34 percent from the floor and 22.2 percent from deep. Tom Crean has a super young squad, which was evident from the 23 TO's they committed, against their 9 assists. In fact, they had more TO's than FG's made (23 v. 18).

As for OSU, they were over 50 percent shooting for most of the second half, but a huge lead can cause sloppy play and they finished the night making 24 of 52 shots, good for 46 percent, including 8 of 19 from deep. They did assist on 16 of those made FG's and were outboarded 32-31. The only negative was their 15 TO's, but that can be chalked up to excitement from Turner's return and the huge lead.

The Bucks take it to the road again this Saturday, facing the Gophers at 3:30 in the Old Barn. The Gophers had won 7 straight, before being upended by 19 against Purdue on Tuesday. The Buckeyes struggle on Minny's home floor, but with Turner coming back a few weeks early, the excitement level for the game is raised, as the Bucks look to even their mark at 2-2 in the conference.