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November 4, 2009
Never in doubt
COLUMBUS - Two seasons ago the Buckeyes learned what happens when you take an exhibition game lightly and lost to Findlay but that wasn't the case tonight when the Buckeyes poured it on Walsh and won 86-48 in front of a lightly attended game at Value City arena.
Evan Turner led the Buckeyes with a double-double going for 15 points and 14 rebounds while four other players went for double digits. The Cavaliers were led by Ricky Jackson who went for 14 points, 12 in the first half.
"It feels good to get the first one out of the way," Turner said. "We are excited to get back at it and play again on Monday."
Of course the games will get more difficult in a hurry with the Buckeyes looking at a November date with North Carolina in the Coaches versus Cancer tournament but that is a million miles away at this point with the Buckeyes just looking to get better and identify who they have.
They got a good idea with a dozen players playing in the game and ten logging 16 minutes or more. It was also encouraging seeing players like David Lighty, Nikola Kecman and Zisis Sarikopoulos all logging minutes for the first time in nearly a season or more.
"I have been so impatient last year, it was so hard not to play," Sarikopoulos said. "But it was worth it."
Wednesday's game also debuted a man-to-man defensive scheme, something that the Buckeyes have not been able to employ during last couple of seasons due to a revolving door roster. The Buckeyes did benefit with 36 total rebounds but did suffer allowing 15 offensive rebounds to Walsh.
"There are a lot of things to work on," guard Jon Diebler said. "They got a lot of offensive rebounds in the first half that went through our hands."
Turner had the opportunity to play the point in this game but he was not the only player with a redefined role even if his move was the most drastic in giving him the responsibility of distributing the ball (six rebounds).
"We all switched positions this year," Turner said. "We are just trying to get our teammates together."
Turner did succeed in his point guard duties however only turning the ball over once against six rebounds. One of the biggest criticisms of Turner's game in the past was his carelessness with the ball, a fact that Turner openly admits haunted him in the past and will not get overly excited by one game's results.
"I can't get too excited because I know myself," Turner joked.
Matta was particularly impressed with the play of sophomore guard William Buford whose 15 points was tied with Turner for a game high. Buford was dialed into a zone early in the game and showed maturity in shot selection and didn't always try to put up the long shot.
Matta will be able to use this game as a teaching tool before the games count for real on Monday with Alcorn State comes to Value City Arena.
Ohio State: Turner 15, Buford 15, Lighty 11, Diebler 10, Simmons 10
Walsh: Jackson 14, Shardo 8, Speck 8
Ohio State: Turner 14, Buford 3, Sarikopoulos 3
Walsh: Jackson 6, Shardo 6, Skeeter 5
Ohio State: Turner 6, Simmons 4, Kecman 2, Lighty 2
Walsh: Shardo 2, Speck 2