Turner Looking To Bounce Back

Statistically, it was the lowest point of Evan Turner's season. Now a day removed from his team's victory against UC Santa Barbara, find out how Turner and his Ohio State teammates are preparing for Georgia Tech and what the Yellow Jackets might to do try and stop the Big Ten player of the year.

MILWAUKEE – Georgia Tech has two sets of blueprints at its disposal as it plans to stop Ohio State and leading scorer Evan Turner.

On Friday, the Yellow Jackets took the nation's third-leading scorer in James Anderson and held him to 11 points in a first-round NCAA Tournament victory. Then in the nightcap, UC Santa Barbara held Turner – a leading candidate for national player-of-the-year honors – to nine points.

Which game plan will Georgia Tech use against Turner?

"We have our own game plan," senior swingman D'Andre Bell said.

That starts with sophomore guard Iman Shumpert, who drew Anderson in the team's first tournament game. After earning Big 12 player of the year honors by averaging 22.6 points per game, Anderson went 3 for 12 from the field and missed all six of his three-point attempts. Five of his points came from the charity stripe.

"He was there on every catch," freshman guard Glen Rice Jr. said. "Every time Anderson caught it, Shumpert was there in his face. (Then) there was always somebody there to stop him with hands up and he couldn't dish off."

Following the game, Anderson said the Yellow Jackets kept trying to crowd him and were able to shadow him everywhere he went – a description that could also help characterize Turner's night against the Gauchos.

After averaging 20.3 points per contest and capturing the Big Ten's player of the year award, Turner went 2 for 13 from the floor and also had five points come from the foul line. One day later, the junior admitted to having been frustrated by the night but said that had more to do with the officiating than anything else.

"UC Santa Barbara just guarded me a different way where … it was just weird," he said. "You can't really call it a way to guard. I doubt that will happen (Sunday).

"I doubt they'll let it slide because there was a lot of grabbing and holding. I'm sure a lot of teams are going to try to pressure me, but it's probably going to be cleaner."

It will be Shumpert on Turner, and the two go way back. Both Chicago natives, Turner and Shumpert played together in middle school and against each other in high school. The two have kept in touch, with Turner saying the two hung out while both were home for Christmas.

The 6-5, 209-pound Shumpert said he will not borrow much from what the Gauchos did against the 6-7, 210-pound Turner.

"Evan plays at his own pace, so I think a lot of people just try to keep him off balance," Shumpert said. "Roughing him up, some people use that tactic and other people use other stuff. We don't plan on going out there and beating him up or anything. We're just going to try to play him tough."

Statistically, the performance against the Gauchos was the low point of Turner's season. The only two times he scored fewer points came in games relating to a back injury that cost him six games, and his 15.4 percent shooting percentage was his lowest of the season.

UCSB is certainly not the first team to try and stop Turner this season. What made the Gauchos successful was their unique defensive approach, junior OSU guard Jon Diebler said.

Those tactics escalated during the team's run through the Big Ten tournament, he said.

"It's like a match-up zone but they extend it out so much," he said. "The difference is (a team like) Illinois plays a traditional man-to-man. It's easier even if they're pressuring up (high) to pick up and run your plays against a team like that.

"Illinois is probably more talented but the way (UCSB) would pressure and then fall back into a zone, it was a weird defense. I think that's why it created such open shots for myself and (my teammates)."

The question now is whether or not the Buckeyes can withstand another cold night from their go-to guy. With Turner struggling, Diebler tossed in a season-high 23 points while going 7 for 12 from beyond the three-point arc. In addition, sophomore guard William Buford added 16 while going 6 for 12 from the field.

Their production primarily came from open looks caused by UCSB's desire to sell out against stopping Turner, and the duo was successful against the champions of the Big West. Whether they can have the same success against a Georgia Tech team that appears to be playing its best basketball of the season is another story.

Turner said he is not worried.

"If I'm not scoring, I can guarantee my teammates are going to score," he said. "That's big."


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