No. 18 Buckeyes win big at home

If this is what the future holds for No. 18 Ohio State without Evan

Turner, then the Buckeyes have a lot of work ahead of them.

Jon Diebler scored 12 points, including two 3-pointers in a

14-0 run to open the game, and Ohio State beat Presbyterian 78-48

on Wednesday night.

But in the second half, the Buckeyes (8-2) were outscored

27-25 and appeared lost at times against an extremely young team

playing man-to-man defense for the very first time.

“If you just look at it, that’s their first time ever playing

man-to-man and they hold us to 27 points, what does that say about

us?” said David Lighty, who led the Buckeyes with 20 points. “It’s

just us being mentally tough enough to go out there and execute

like we have in practice and don’t let them control what we do.”

Turner, one of the best all-around players in the Big Ten,

broke two bones in his lower back on Dec. 5 after his hands slipped

off the rim during a dunk and he fell to the court. On Wednesday

night he sat on the bench in street clothes, cheering and joining

in the huddles.

“He was saying stuff the whole game, especially the second

half, just telling us we have to pick up the intensity,” said

Diebler, Turner’s roommate. “It was good to have him there.”

Turner, who was averaging 18.5 points, 11.4 rebounds and 6.0

assists, is expected to miss up to eight weeks, although he hopes

to return after five or six at the most.

The Buckeyes shot 63 percent from the field and had just four

turnovers in the first half, but shot 41 percent and had seven

turnovers in the final 20 minutes.

“The first half we did a good job of being in more of an

attack mode and the shots were falling,” coach Thad Matta said.

“But the second half we just weren’t as sharp as we needed to be at

both ends. We’re a team that our margin for error is not as high as

one might think. Therefore, we’ve got to take a look at what we

didn’t do and try to get better at it.”

William Buford added 11 points and Dallas Lauderdale 10 for

the Buckeyes.

Walt Allen had 13 points for the Blue Hose (2-9), who were

paid $75,000 to come up from Clinton, S.C., for the lopsided loss.

“Obviously, I want to win but there are moral victories when

you play the 18th-ranked team in the country with six freshmen, two

sophomores and a junior,” Presbyterian coach Gregg Nibert said.

The Blue Hose are in the midst of a five-year transition and

will become a full-fledged member of NCAA Division I in 2011-12.

Ohio State had lost 74-66 at No. 22 Butler on Saturday in its

first game after Turner was sidelined.

“As I talked to our guys Saturday after the (Butler) game,

we’ll see what kind of men we are, team we are, in how we come back

out and play Wednesday night,” Matta said. “And I thought to start

it they were pretty effective.”

The game was decided in the opening minutes, with

Presbyterian failing to even hit the rim let alone make a basket in

the opening 3:20.

The only previous time the teams met two years ago, the

Buckeyes scored the first 16 points. They rattled off the first 14

on Wednesday night while the Blue Hose missed their first four

shots and had five turnovers before finally getting on the board on

Jay Reynolds’ wide-open inside shot 5:13 into the game. Over the

same span, the Buckeyes were 5 of 8 from the field including two

3-pointers, both by Diebler.

The Buckeyes shredded the Blue Hose zone to lead 53-21 at

halftime, and Nibert reluctantly shifted to the man.

“I didn’t have enough faith in playing man-to-man against

them with such a young team,” he said. “At halftime we were left

with no other answers because they had 53 points and we couldn’t

have done anything any worse. So we tried man-to-man.”

After the Blue Hose scored the first two points of the second

half, the Buckeyes ran off 17 of the next 21 to build a 70-27 lead.

Still, the Buckeyes, despite the starters playing most of the

way, mustered just eight points over the final 12:24.

“I’m not a yeller or screamer, I’m all laid back and that

sort of thing,” Matta said of his postgame comments to his players.

“(But) they have to understand that we need to be doing what we do

for 40 minutes. As I told them, you look at the two losses we’ve

had this year (Butler and North Carolina) and we’ve had letdowns

throughout the course of those games. It wasn’t as efficient as it

needed to be tonight.”