Cleaning The Glass: UCSB Edition

Ohio State withstood a charge from UC Santa Barbara before pulling away for the victory in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. BuckeyeSports.com men's basketball beat writer Adam Jardy offers his take on the win and how the Buckeyes -- and particularly Evan Turner -- might fare going forward.

MILWAUKEE -- I think … that Ohio State will get a new measure of Evan Turner's talents when the Buckeyes take the court Sunday against Georgia Tech.

By any stretch of the definition, UC Santa Barbara was able to take the junior Buckeye out of the equation more than any other team all season. Turner's nine points were the fewest he put up while not dealing with the effects of his back injury.

Turner was clearly frustrated throughout the game, and both UCSB players I spoke with said they knew they had gotten to him. Still, the Buckeyes advanced because Jon Diebler hit on good looks and Dallas Lauderdale had a big game in the paint.

But now you have to wonder: did the Gauchos figure something out that future teams will now be able to exploit against Turner? If so, that would seem to mean trouble for the Buckeyes as they prepare to face a Yellow Jackets team that has much more size and athleticism than the Gauchos.

By essentially doubling him at the top of the circle and forcing him to give up the ball, the Gauchos kept Turner under wraps. A better team will be able to adapt some of what UCSB did and apply it while not leaving Diebler or William Buford as wide open for shots. Plus, I'm not sure you can rely on Diebler to go nuts like he did against the Gauchos on a nightly basis.

Turner going 2 for 13 is not an accident. That does not mean that he was simply missing shots. The Gauchos were preventing him from getting many open looks, and when they were open looks they were not of the high-percentage variety with which Turner has become accustomed with this season.

As junior guard Justin Joyner told me, they were content with letting Turner beat them with his jumper. And while he has hit on mid-range jumpers as the season went on, he still entered the tournament shooting 37.0 percent (17 for 46) from three. That placed him last among starters who have attempted one and ahead of just Nikola Kecman on the OSU roster.

But then again, Turner's accomplishments this season have not been by accident. It's not like he became one of the nation's top players simply because no one tried to stop him. Teams have aimed to do that all season and were at times completely unsuccessful.

Now it's his turn to make an adjustment. Let's see what he can do against the Yellow Jackets.

I think … that one player I expected a little bit of a better game out of was David Lighty. In going the distance against the Gauchos, the junior forward was 3 for 11 from the floor and finished with nine points himself.

Offensively, I felt like he had trouble hanging onto the ball for some reason. His drives looked more forced than normal and he was just 1 for 4 from three-point range. I didn't see the tighter handle we've seen from him throughout the season.

I did like the fact that it seemed at times he demanded the right to guard Orlando Johnson, UCSB's top scorer. For all we hear about his defense, it was nice to see him defend the other team's top player for once.

I think … that just to clarify, I am not down on Diebler's shooting. He is having the most prolific three-point shooting season in school history. I would simply caution against expecting him to hit on seven treys in each game going forward.

I think … that Buford continues to be the quiet contributor that helps make this team's engine run. He finished with 16 points on 6 of 12 shooting but his production was vitally important given Turner's struggles.

Buford does not often take the top billing in this offense. That might come next year. For now, he's a quiet lieutenant, the extra piston that keeps the Buckeyes pumping.

Without his production, UCSB might have actually had a chance for the upset. But with Buford hitting his shots, the Gauchos' hopes were nothing more than pipe dreams.


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