Turner Leads Season Sweep Of U-M

A rowdy crowd braved the elements to see Ohio State sweep the season series against the Michigan Wolverines. Sloppy play at both ends still resulted in a blowout OSU win, as Evan Turner led the way with a game-high 24 points.

At least one of these two teams will make the NCAA Tournament, but you would not have known it judging by Wednesday night's contest.

In a sloppy contest for both teams at both ends of the floor, Ohio State snapped a two-game losing streak and handed visiting Michigan its fourth loss in five games with a 72-54 decision.

For the game, the Wolverines turned the ball over 21 times and the Buckeyes capitalized to the tune of 23 points. The home team committed 15 turnovers of its own, but OSU (14-5, 4-4 Big Ten) proved to be the more superior team in this contest.

"I'm glad that two-game losing streak is over with but I think we just beat a very, very good basketball team twice so I'm elated about that," OSU head coach Thad Matta said. "The fact that it's Michigan is good as well. I'll beat anybody twice in the Big Ten this year. It doesn't matter what their name is."

The teams combined for 22 first-half turnovers – 12 by the Wolverines – as the Buckeyes staked out a 36-18 lead. One-third of the total points scored came off of turnovers, with OSU scoring 11 compared to Michigan's seven.

Michigan head coach John Beilein said his team was not prepared for OSU's full-court pressure, something OSU sophomore swingman Evan Turner said his teammates picked upon.

"We just knew pressure was big," he said. "We knew our defense would lead to our offense. Sometimes they seemed a little hesitant when we were pressing them. That made us confident. We just went all out and played super hard."

At one point, the teams turned the ball over on six consecutive possessions, with each team responsible for three of them. At the time, OSU led 15-4. Michigan's first four points came on a pair of free throws and a basket swatted by OSU's Dallas Lauderdale that was ruled goaltending.

The first actual basket by the Wolverines (14-7, 4-5) did not come until the 10:22 mark of the first half, when a layup by Manny Harris made it 19-6 in favor of the Buckeyes. To that point, the Wolverines had more turnovers (nine) than shots (eight).

The second half was a different story as the Wolverines came out firing from deep and both team settled down. By then, though, it was too late for the visitors to mount a comeback – although they did pull within three possessions.

The Wolverines got the deficit to less than 10 points for the first time since the early part of the first half when guard Manny Harris converted two free throws to make it a 53-44 Buckeye lead. OSU's Jeremie Simmons would convert the second of two free throws to push the lead back to 10 points, but the teams would then trade turnovers until DeShawn Sims converted a nice post feed into a dunk to make the score 54-46.

But on the next possession, Simmons took a low pass from freshman guard William Buford at the top of the circle and buried the three-pointer to push it back to a double-digit lead, 57-46, with 6:11 remaining.

The Wolverines would cut it back to three possessions with a basket from Sims, but treys from OSU sophomore guard Jon Diebler and another from Simmons made it 63-48 in favor of the home team with 2:47 remaining and some of the fans started heading for the exits.

Plenty of them stuck around, however, as a raucous student section buoyed by free tickets on a day when classes were canceled due to weather stuck around to see the Buckeyes defeat their primary rival.

After misfiring on all 11 three-point attempts in the first 20 minutes, Michigan turned it around after the half. The visitors hit five of their first six from beyond the arc and went 7 for 15 (46.7 percent) in the second half.

With OSU ahead 66-54 and 1:27 showing on the clock, Turner went to the line for his second of two free throws. As he was releasing the ball, Michigan's Zack Novak threw his right elbow and connected with OSU point guard P.J. Hill's face.

Turner immediately backed up his teammate and both teams milled around near the top of the circle while their respective coaches and the officials tried to restore order.

After the officials consulted the replay, Novak was whistled for a flagrant foul and ejected from the game. He finished with six points.

Hill said Novak had intimated what might be coming and that he warned both the official and his coaches.

"I tried to go into the paint the first time Evan shot and (Novak) grabbed me," Hill said. "Then when I took one step, he didn't even try to box me out and just elbowed me in the jaw. I was like, ‘Man, that's bull,' and then the ref called it quick."

Turner led the way early, driving to the basket at will against defenders too slow-footed to stop him. He had 14 of the team's first 25 points and finished with a game-high 22 points. Freshman center B.J. Mullens and Simmons each finished with 12 points.

Michigan was led by Harris, who pulled off a less-than-desirable triple-double: 22 points, 12 rebounds and 10 turnovers.

"We didn't get many good shots today and we kept turning the ball over," Beilein said. "You can't do that on the road you have to take care of the ball. Par to fit was their defense and part of it was unforced turnovers. It was like there was snow on it."


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