Thursday, February 25, 2010
Buckeye's Turner a Stat Machine
Whenever Ohio State's Evan Turner is in the linuep, the Buckeyes have an excellent shot at winning - against any team in the country. Wednesday night, Turner put his seemingly-limitless talents on display against Helpless Penn State, and the result was a statistical eye-opener, in addition to being another Ohio State victory.
Turner scored a game-high 25 points to lead the Buckeyes to a 75-67 win, their 11th in their last 12 games against conference opponents. Turner usually does much more than just pour in the points, and his effort against the Nittany Lions was no exception as he racked up 7 rebounds, 7 assists, 3 steals and a couple of blocked shots. While it wasn't a double-double, of which Turner has 12 this season, it was close to a triple-double, something the 6'7" junior has accomplished twice in '09-10.
The win kept Ohio State's hopes for a Big Ten championship very much alive, everything hinging on the outcome of Michigan State's trip to Purdue on Sunday. Should the Spartans pull off the upset, the Buckeyes, Boilermakers and Spartans could all easily finish the regular season at 14-4, with the tiebreaker falling Ohio State's way as they split with Purdue and hold a win over Michigan State in their only meeting this season. The Spartans have already lost to Purdue once, so another loss would give Purdue the edge, at 15-3, should they close out the calendar with wins over Indiana and Penn State, so Sunday's Purdue-Michigan St. rematch looms the biggest Big Ten game of the season.
Notable: Bubble teams going backwards include San Diego State (20-8, 9-5), as the Aztecs lost, 82-68, at BYU; Dayton (18-9, 7-6), a 49-41 loser to Temple; Minnesota (16-11, 7-8), losers at home to Purdue, 59-58; and Oklahoma State (19-8, 7-6), a 69-59 loser at Texas. South Florida, which suffered a crushing, 74-49 loss at the hands of Villanova, was probably already off the bubble and out of the post-season picture before they took the court against the Wildcats. They're now 6-9 in the conference.
The shocker of the night came from the Norte Dame Fighting Irish (18-10, 7-8), which bombed Pittsburgh, 68-53, just days after the Panthers knocked off Villanova, 70-65. The Irish played their third straight game without senior star Luke Harangody, who is out with a bone bruise to his right knee, and are currently tied for 8th place in the Big East with Seton Hall, UConn and Cincinnati, all at 7-8. With their final three games against Georgetown, Connecticut and Marquette, the Irish need to win two of those to even be in the NCAA conversation, plus, they'd likely have to win at least two games in the conference tournament. It's a tough road ahead.
Monday, February 15, 2010
Buckeyes Tie Spartans for 1st in Big Ten with Win over Illini
No matter which team emerges from the logjam atop the Big Ten, the Ohio State Buckeyes have served notice that they will be a team to reckon with down the regular season stretch and into tourney time.
Heading into Sunday, the Buckeyes were tied with the Fighting Illini and Purdue at 9-3 in the conference, all 1/2 game back of 10-3 Michigan State. After a dominating first half which left the Buckeyes up 36-20 at the break, Ohio State stormed to a convincing 72-53 road win. Led by Evan Turner and his 16 points, 11 rebounds and 8 assists, the Buckeyes ended the day tied for first in the Big Ten.
Turner, who leads his team in points per game, assists, rebounds and steals, has established himself as a front-runner for Big Ten player of the year along with several national honors. The 6'7" junior swingman has posted 8 double-doubles and two triple-doubles this season.
Ohio State has a big week ahead, hosting Purdue on Wednesday and traveling to Michigan State on Sunday.
Notable: Unless you haven't heard, the Big East is a very tough conference. Just ask the players or coaches of Syracuse and Georgetown, each of whom suffered out-of-the-blue upsets at the hands of Louisville and Rutgers, respectively. Louisville ended the Orangemen's 11-game win streak and dropped them into second place (11-2) in the conference with a 66-60 win. Villanova leads at 11-1.
Georgetown's loss to Rutgers was more of a shock. The Scarlet Knights had won only twice in conference play before knocking off the Hoyas, 71-68.
Thursday, February 04, 2010
Buckeyes Bounding Into Tourney Contender
Ever since Evan Turner returned from injury to the Ohio State starting lineup, the Buckeyes have become a force to reckon with in the Big Ten, winning 7 of 9 games and vaulting into the national Top 25.
Turner proved his value once again on Wednesday, as the Buckeyes hammered Penn State, 75-62, winning their 12th straight home game since a 77-73 setback to North Carolina on November 19. Turner led all scorers with 27 points, his second-highest point total of the season (he had a career-high 32 points in a 70-66 win over Purdue on January 12), to go with 10 boards, 6 assists and 3 steals. Turner played all 40 minutes of the game and, at 6'7", 210 pounds, is truly one of the most feared offensive players in the nation. He has the ability to can jumpers from the perimeter but can also take opponents off the dribble and is a great finisher near the hoop. He averages 50% from the field, 35.9 from 3-point land and is a 73.8 free throw shooter. He leads the Buckeyes in scoring, rebounding, assists and steals.
Ohio State, ranked #13 in the most recent poll, has improved to 17-6 and is in a 3-way tie for second place in the Big Ten at 7-3 with Wisconsin and Illinois. Everyone in the conference is chasing 9-1 Michigan State.
Notable: dominique Jones only scored 29 points, but the South Florida Bulls won their school-record 4th straight Big East contest by downing the Georgetown Hoyas, 72-64, at Georgetown.
The Bulls continue to get outlandish scoring from Jones, the leading Big East scorer at 22.4 points per game. Over the 4-game win streak, he's averaged 35 points.
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Turner Outduels Hummel; Ohio St. Outlasts Purdue
After missing 6 games due to injury, Evan Turner entered his third game back as the Ohio State Buckeyes traveled to face Purdue in a key Big Ten tilt. But even he couldn't have expected Robbie Hummel to score 29 first half points, hitting 8 of 10 3-pointers, before going on to a game-high 35. Hummel's eight 3's in a half tied a Purdue record set by Cuonzo Martin in a 1994 Sweet 16 win over Kansas, but the second half belonged to Turner and the Buckeyes, who scrapped back and eventually tied the game at 62 on a Turner trey and went on to win, 70-66, handing the Boilermakers their second loss of the season. For the Buckeyes, the game was their first road win of the season, and second conference win in five tries. Turner, who scored 23 in the second half, finished with 32, plus 9 rebounds and 3 assists.
Hummel scored 18 straight points heading into the half before E'Twaun Moore's layup with 5 seconds left put Purdue up, 41-29, at the break, but was stymied in the second, scoring four points within the first two minutes, but then being held scoreless by Ohio State's best defender, David Lighty, until he canned a pair of free throws with 22 second left in the game and Ohio State already ahead. Hummel dislocated a finger on his non-shooting hand late in the game and missed some key court time. He had ten rebounds.
The scoring outbursts by Hummel and Turner were both personal season highs, Turner's a career best.