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|Evan Turner envisioned days like Friday while he was growing up in Chicago.|
Two seconds remaining, down by one point, a whole court to go and the ball in his hands.
The only difference from his imagination back then and the reality that presented itself in Friday’s Big Ten Tournament quarterfinal was he was playing for Ohio State and his opponent was Michigan.
Chicago’s kids just don’t dream of being in a Michigan-Ohio State basketball game.
That didn’t matter on Friday.
With 2.2 seconds on the clock and the ball on the baseline, Turner ran off a screen by Jeremie Simmons, another Chicago product. Turner caught the ball near the free-throw line, advanced beyond halfcourt with two dribbles, leaped with his body propelling forward, soared above the out-stretched arms of Michigan’s Stu Douglass and released the ball from 37 feet out.
As the ball floated to the rim, Turner left his right hand hanging, and when the ball fell through the net, he kept his hand up. He turned to the crowd and awaited his teammates to mob him.
“A little bit of luck, a little bit of follow through,” said Turner, who starred at St. Joseph High School. “It really pulled us out of tight situation. We live to play another day. That’s what March Madness is, a whole bunch of crazy endings.
“I was definitely one of them kids that dreams about those type of shots. It happens. It’s really cool. I’m glad it went in, and we won the game and we go onto tomorrow.”
Ohio State’s Jon Diebler froze when the shot went in.
“When he made it, I kind of stopped and had to look twice,” Diebler said. “‘He just made that.’ Then I went crazy. That’s the player of the year right there. Hands down, player of the year.”
Illinois’ players watched the shot unfold from the tunnel as they awaited to take the court for the following game.
“I called it,” Illinois junior Jeff Jordan said. “I said, ‘Watch if they get it at halfcourt,’ and they got it to go in.”
Illinois junior Demetri McCamey enjoyed watching his close friend and former teammate hit such a clutch shot. Turner never had that opportunity at St. Joe’s.
“I usually took all the big shots,” McCamey said. “Evan had his share today, and he made one today on ESPN, so I know he’s really happy about that.”
Turner was just pleased his grand moment wasn’t ruined by what his emotions were really telling him to do.
“I just held up my hand, so I wouldn’t scream and run around like a little girl all excited,” Turner said.
Scott Powers covers high school and college sports for ESPNChicago.com and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.