While the Buckeyes got their championship moment, at home, and gave an appropriate send-off to people like Kyle Madsen, Jeremie Simmons, Danny Peters, PJ Hill and Mark Titus1, it was a trying game there for stretches. Evan Turner did not have a banner day. He finished with 16 points, 12 rebounds and 5 assists, but had a few unsightly turnovers (4 in total) and it looked the Illini had him bottled up and were going to take away his opportunities to attack the basket. Further, Dallas Lauderdale looked like he was playing with cement hands for most of the game. However, David Lighty and Jon Diebler deserve praise for having kept the Buckeyes afloat through critical stretches of the first half when the Illini were sinking their shots and when Demetri McCamey was too much for the Buckeyes to handle. Jon Diebler was 7/14 from 3, finishing with 21 points. David Lighty, on the other hand, played like a man possessed. Much of his 15 points came from attacking the basket, drawing fouls and finishing strong.
There were times where it looked difficult, but the Buckeyes made the relevant adjustments and played strong on defense in the second half. Eventually, the Illini ran out of steam. Now, the Buckeyes celebrate clinching a well-earned share of the Big Ten championship (1-1 against Purdue, won lone meeting against Sparty (at Sparty), 1-1 against Wisconsin). The Buckeyes next tip off in the Big Ten tournament, more than a week from now.
For the meantime, let’s party Columbus.
- …whose senior day introduction was touching. [↩]