Turner's Last-Second Shot Saves Buckeyes

Ohio State junior superstar Evan Turner's 35-footer with 00.2 seconds remaining gave top-seeded Ohio State a 69-68 win over Michigan in the Big Ten tournament quarterfinals.

Ohio State superstar Evan Turner hit a 35-foot jump shot with 00.2 showing on the Conseco Fieldhouse clock to give the top-seeded Buckeyes a thrilling 69-68 victory over Michigan in the Big Ten tournament quarterfinals Friday afternoon.

The Wolverines had double-teamed Turner for virtually the entire game, but chose to lay back in a zone defense before the game-winning shot. With 2.2 seconds left, OSU junior guard David Lighty inbounded the ball to Turner, who accepted the ball on the run and sprinted upcourt. Two dribbles later, he launched the shot over U-M defender Stu Douglass.

"I know that 2.2 seconds is a long time," Turner said afterward. "I was very conscious that I only had about two dribbles, so I knew after the second one I had to get it up. It was a good play, a good shot and fortunately we had a little bit of luck."

Ohio State head coach Thad Matta said he had a handful of options for the final play, but admitted Turner was the first option.

"We were going to put it in Evan's hands," the coach said. "We told him, ‘Get it up there as quick as you can.' He knew how far he could get. They gave him a running start, which was good for us, and he made a great, great play."

Matta refused to second-guess his counterpart's decision not to guard the inbounds pass or man up on Turner in the backcourt.

"John Beilein has won more games than I ever will, so I'm not about to question him," Matta said.

Later, the Michigan head coach defended his own decision.

"I don't think Evan Turner or anyone else is going to hit a halfcourt shot," Beilein said." We just wanted to make sure we had one or two guys in front of him. If you put two guys on Evan (in the backcourt), then they'll just try to throw it over the top, and he gets even closer. We wanted to try to limit him to a halfcourt shot which you don't expect anyone to make."

That Turner had to make the miraculous shot was disheartening to Matta, who watched his team squander a 13-point lead with 10:23 left in the game.

"We weren't as mentally ready to play the game as we should have," the OSU coach said. "I've been trying to sugarcoat this lately, but 10 days off at this stage is tough. We didn't do the things we needed to do – especially defensively -- and we didn't make the adjustments we needed to make.

"I was just so mad about the way we played. I'm not sure (Turner's game-winner) was supposed to go in (based on) the way we played for 39 minutes and 59.58 seconds, but fortunately it did."

Michigan had its way early in the contest, breaking open a close game with an 11-2 run to grab a 19-10 lead at the 9:31 mark. Junior guard Jon Diebler ended that streak for the Buckeyes with his first basket of the game, triggering an Ohio State offensive explosion that lasted for the remainder of the opening half.

The Buckeyes scored 25 of the first half's final 31 points, including 13 in a row at one stage, and cruised into intermission with a 35-25 advantage.

They managed to build that lead to 12 points inside the first two minutes of the second half, thanks to back-to-back buckets from backup center Kyle Madsen. But the Wolverines answered when Douglass bagged a trio of three-pointers during a 9-2 run that cut Ohio State's lead to 42-38 at the 13:46 mark.

OSU responded by going on a 9-0 run over the next 3½ minutes to seemingly seize control again at 51-38 with 10:23 to go.

But Michigan refused to quit. Junior guard Manny Harris, who tallied 20 of his game-high 26 points down the stretch, kept the Wolverines in the game and appeared to have won it on an 18-foot jumper over Ohio State center Dallas Lauderdale with 2.2 seconds left.

That's when Turner worked his magic to keep the Buckeyes alive and send them to the Big Ten tournament semifinals.

Four Ohio State players scored in double figures, led by Turner's 18. The junior guard also added a game-high eight assists, three rebounds, two blocked shots and one steal. Lighty and sophomore William Buford added 15 apiece and Diebler contributed 11. Madsen finished with eight in 24 minutes while Lauderdale combated game-long foul trouble.

In addition to Harris' performance, Michigan got 16 points each from Douglass and senior forward DeShawn Sims.

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