Buckeyes' backcourt too much for Gophers

March, 14, 2010
3/14/10
5:22
PM ET
INDIANAPOLIS -- Evan Turner carried Ohio State into the Big Ten tournament championship game.

His teammates did the rest. With Turner's help, of course.

Turner still played a huge role in a 90-61 win against Minnesota, but backcourt mates David Lighty, Jon Diebler and William Buford borrowed the spotlight for a bit. Lighty and Diebler -- along with Turner, of course -- keyed the decisive 23-5 run midway through the second half. Ohio State was the aggressor immediately after halftime, Minnesota countered and then the Buckeyes delivered the knockout blow with layups and 3-pointers.

Ohio State made a convincing case for a No. 1 seed today, but the spot likely will go to Duke or West Virginia. Still, if the Buckeyes play like this, there's a decent chance they'll be back in Indy in three weeks. They scored 57 points in the second half.

The wait now begins for Minnesota, which had a very impressive tournament but would have liked a less lopsided result against Ohio State. It's debatable how much this game matters to the selection committee, but Minnesota must hope the bracket was finalized around 4:30 p.m. ET.

For a group that played almost every minute of the tournament together, Ohio State's backcourt only got stronger as things went along. To the surprise of no one, Turner was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player after recording 31 points, 11 rebounds and six assists. Lighty added 20 points, seven rebounds and five assists, while Diebler (19 points) and Buford (13 points) also stepped up.

Minnesota didn't get nearly the same production from its key contributors. Guard Blake Hoffarber (0 points, 0-for-2 shooting) was a total nonfactor and got schooled by Diebler, and center Ralph Sampson III looked too tentative in the final. Lawrence Westbrook, Devoe Joseph and Damian Johnson did their part, but Ohio State simply had too much firepower.

Only one team has claimed the Big Ten tournament title by winning four games in four days, and Minnesota seemed to wear down today.

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