Saturday, March 20, 2010
Final: Ohio State 68, UC Santa Barbara 51
By Eamonn Brennan
MILWAUKEE -- Some quick postgame thoughts on Ohio State's relatively easy 68-51 win before Jon Diebler splashes another three-pointer:
The Gauchos found a way to get to Evan Turner -- hack him. The putative player of the year was hounded relentlessly in the second half, the worst of which came in an early sequence when Turner nearly gave the ball up at the top of the key, got it back, tried to drive to the rim again, seemed to get fouled, grabbed the ball, passed it, seemed to get fouled again, gave the ball up, and then was clearly shoved by UCSB guard Jordan Weiner. Turner walked away from the play, shaking his head and smiling.
The fun didn't end there -- Turner, usually a mild-mannered guy on the court, became noticeably chatty with UCSB guard James Nunnally. Diebler got in on the action, too, staring Dunnally down after he a made 3-pointer. Dallas Lauderdale added to the festivities with a pair of huge dunks; after both, Turner stood at the free throw line, set up in the Buckeyes' press, giving one of those stone-cold "don't mess with us" looks you rarely see from the demure All-American. If anything, it was entertaining. Note to the Gauchos again: Guard Diebler. And don't make Turner angry. I was intimidated, and I was sitting on the sideline with a laptop.
Jawing aside, there's no question Turner didn't open the tournament with his finest performance: nine points on 2-of-14 from the field. It goes without saying that Turner will have to be more efficient -- and less willing to settle for the jump shot -- in Sunday's second-round game with Georgia Tech.
Diebler's performance more than made up for Turner's lack of points. The Buckeyes' designated sharpshooter went 7-of-11 from 3 to score 23 points and buoy the Buckeyes' offense when Turner couldn't get things working.
Fellow guard William Buford contributed 16 points, while Lauderdale added eight blocks and 12 rebounds on the way to the win.