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Saturday, December 12, 2009
Halftime thoughts from OSU-Butler

By Brian Bennett

INDIANAPOLIS -- Ohio State is playing its first game without triple-threat leader Evan Turner. Butler played the final seven minutes of the first half without foul-proned big man Matt Howard.

The result, so far, is a virtual draw. The No. 15 Buckeyes used a late 16-0 run to take the lead and hold a 36-34 advantage over the 20th-ranked Bulldogs at halftime here at Hinkle Fieldhouse.

Ohio State looked lost early on without Turner, who injured his back last weekend and is out eight weeks. Butler led by as many as 11 as it continually cracked Thad Matta's zone defense for easy looks.

But after Howard -- who has fouled out of five games already this season -- picked up his second personal with a little more than seven minutes to go in the half, the momentum swung the other way. The Bulldogs went 6:20 without scoring until Gordon Hayward ended the drought with a short baseline jumper. Hayward, who also caught an alley-oop for a layup with one second to go, leads all scorers with 15 points.

Matta started senior guard P.J. Hill in place of Turner, but Hill has failed to contribute anything in the box score other than a foul. David Lighty leads the Buckeyes with 12 points, while Dallas Lauderdale added 10.

Ohio State shot 52.2 percent in the first half, but Butler countered that with a 21-15 rebound advantage.