No. 18 Buckeyes start fast to beat Blue Hose 78-48
By RUSTY MILLER
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) 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
“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
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
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.”
Updated December 16, 2009