BuckeyeSports.com NIT Notebook

Wonder why Evan Turner's shooting percentage has dipped in recent games? Pleased to see Jon Diebler kick in 10 points in the team's win against Dayton? Curious as to why Othello Hunter followed up a career-high rebounding performance with an average one? The answers to these thoughts are all covered in this notebook.

His injured shooting wrist is healing, but Evan Turner is clearly not back to full strength.

The Ohio State guard who has occasionally demonstrated an ability to provide an offensive spark throughout his freshman season has battled injuries to both his wrists during the regular season. While the brace he wore on his right wrist is now gone, his shot has not returned.

In the team's last nine games, Turner has hit just one three-pointer. It came in the team's road loss to Indiana on Feb. 26, a night he contributed 13 points. He finished 1 of 4 from beyond the arc against the Hoosiers and has since missed his last 10 attempts from deep.

In the process, his three-point shooting percentage has dipped from 38.0 percent entering the Indiana game to 31.3 percent following the team's victory against Dayton on Wednesday.

Prior to that stretch, Turner had attempted an average of 2.5 treys per game. Since the Indiana game, he has shot an average of 1.4 per contest. However, the Chicago native said the coaching staff continues to encourage him to shoot the ball.

"I'm going to take the shot," he said. "My coaches say that even when I don't want to shoot they hope I get another shot just so I can shoot and fight through it."

Turner initially suffered a sprained right wrist in a game against Illinois on Jan. 22. He had been wearing a protective brace on it since then, but he removed it two days prior to the team's game against California on March 24. Wearing the wrist affected his release on the ball, forcing him to adjust to no longer having it hamper his movement.

"When I had my wristband on, it kept me from going to the top like I used to do and I haven't been able to get enough repetitions," he said, mimicking his shooting motion. "It just feels a little weird to me. I have to get back in the gym and put up more shots so I can get confident with it again."

Since the removal of the brace, Turner has missed all five of his three-point attempts and has been putting less rotation on the ball. However, it has not affected his ability to connect on mid-range jumpers, nor his ability to hit free throws. Turner is 6 for 8 from the charity stripe since the brace came off.

In a teleconference previewing the team's game with Mississippi (Tuesday, 9 p.m., ESPN2), head coach Thad Matta said he has no concerns with Turner's wrist.

"I think he hurt it and it wasn't that big of a deal," he said. "I didn't think a whole lot about it. Hopefully it's feeling better for him. I wasn't real aware of it."

In addition, Turner has been sporting a taped left thumb but said that has not affected his shot at all.

Production From The Bench: An extra 10 points per game can make a big difference. Just ask Jamar Butler.

As the team's leading scorer at 14.8 points a game, the senior guard has been looking for consistent complimentary scoring threats to emerge to help take some of the pressure off of his shoulders. During a second-half run that put visiting Dayton away for good, he got some help off the bench from a struggling sharpshooter in freshman Jon Diebler.

For the first time since the team's road loss to Michigan on Feb. 17, Diebler finished with 10 points and was one of four Buckeyes to score in double digits.

"It helps a lot," Butler said. "Hopefully Jon's found his shooting stroke here. He knocked down two big threes for us, helped out on the defensive end and he played great tonight."

The two treys Butler referenced came less than three minutes apart and helped turn a one-point OSU lead into a 46-37 advantage with 12:22 remaining in the game. Butler added another trey one possession later, pushing the lead to 12 points and forcing the Flyers to call timeout.

Diebler finished the game 3 of 5 from the floor and was 2 of 4 from beyond the arc. He is now shooting 29.1 percent (48 of 165) from deep and has hit 4 of his last 12 (33.3 percent).

"I was just taking shots that were there," Diebler said. "It came with the ball movement we had on offense and how unselfish our guys play on offense and how we really take pride in finding the open man and making the extra pass."

Typically one of the first substitutions during a game, Diebler is sixth on the team with an average of 21.5 minutes per game. Along with senior forward Matt Terwilliger, he has served as a primary substitute for the team's starters.

Throughout Diebler's struggles this season, Terwilliger said his teammates have supported him.

"We've seen him shoot in practice," he said. "There's days it doesn't matter what happens, he's going to make it. We tell Jon to just keep shooting."

Turner described his classmate as a crowd favorite, owing to his roots in Upper Sandusky, Ohio.

"He's from Ohio, so of course he's a crowd favorite," he said. "People in Ohio are loyal to their own. That's a good thing. Everybody's still behind him, even when he wasn't having the best shooting. When he comes in and hits his shots, that's big for us."

A Man Focused: Following OSU's victory against California, Matta said senior forward Othello Hunter "played like a man" against the Golden Bears, ripping down a career-high 16 rebounds in the process. Two nights later following the victory against Dayton, Hunter said he felt like he was even more focused than he had been against the Bears.

His final stat line? Five points and four rebounds in a performance that was limited to 17 minutes of action due to foul troubles.

As it turns out, there is more to having a big night on the glass than simply being focused.

"I think the game was different and it was more like going for rebounds I got boxed out more," Hunter said after the Dayton game. "I was still trying to get around them, but (rebounds) weren't just coming to me. I was working real hard today, but they were giving me their best and I couldn't get around."

Matta backed up his senior co-captain, citing Dayton's attempts to be more physical in the paint as one of the primary reason Hunter's production declined so drastically.

"I think a lot of it gets dictated by personnel," he said. "Dayton was slamming a body on him pretty good and keeping him off the glass. We didn't get the same type of shots. It's all kind of predicated on how he's playing, but in 17 minutes with foul trouble but he did a great job."


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