Evan Turner is off to a stellar start to his junior season, and he is carrying Ohio State with him.
Turner and the 17th-ranked Buckeyes open a stretch of four straight home games Tuesday night when they face Lipscomb in the teams’ first meeting.
After scoring 23 points and grabbing 11 rebounds in a 77-73 loss to then-No. 6 North Carolina on Thursday, Turner had a season-high 26 points with 14 boards in Friday’s 76-70 victory over then-No. 13 California at Madison Square Garden.
The Golden Bears rallied to within 63-57 with 5:09 left, but Turner scored eight of his team’s next 10 points to help Ohio State (3-1) hold off Cal for third place in the 2K Sports Classic.
“It was a great win for the team and a great win for the program and it gives us good momentum,” Turner told the school’s official Web site. “It has been a good stretch of games. I am just trying to play hard.”
Turner, who needs 28 points to become the 44th player in school history with 1,000, earned his second straight Big Ten player of the week honor Monday. He leads Ohio State with 21.8 points per game and is second in the nation with 14.8 rebounds a contest.
Turner will try to become the first Buckeyes player to open the season with five straight double-doubles since Clark Kellogg in 1981.
He’ll get that chance against a Lipscomb team that is allowing 92.7 points per game. The Bisons fell to 0-3 with a 92-89 loss to Tennessee Tech on Thursday.
Junior center Adnan Hodzic scored 24 points and Josh Slater had 19 as Lipscomb shot a season-high 51.7 percent from the field. The Bisons, though, gave up 90-plus points for the third straight game.
“We can talk and analysis it and turn it upside down, but the bottom line is that we are not good enough defensively,” coach Scott Sanderson told the school’s official Web site. “We score 89 tonight and 86 Saturday (a 91-86 loss to Elon on Nov. 14) at home and get beat, then you are not good enough defensively. Right now we don’t have a sense of urgency to guard people.”
Lipscomb won’t only have to worry about trying to shut down Turner. Guards Jon Diebler and William Buford are averaging 15.0 and 12.8 points, respectively, while junior center Dallas Lauderdale is rounding back into form after breaking a bone in his right hand. Lauderdale had eight points and matched a career high with seven blocks versus California.
“Dallas has been inching his way back in,” Buckeyes coach Thad Matta said. “This has been good having two games here. He gives us a different look both offensively and defensively.”
Ohio State, which has won 54 of 57 at home versus non-conference opponents, is 9-0 versus Atlantic Sun Conference teams.