COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP)—Evan Turner started out his junior season by doing something only Dennis Hopson had ever done in an Ohio State uniform.
The 6-foot-7 Turner recorded the second triple-double in program history, getting 14 points, 17 rebounds and 10 assists in the 16th-ranked Buckeyes’ 100-60 victory over Alcorn State on Monday night in the 2K Sports Classic.
“That’s cool. It’s real cool to get a triple-double and to be in the same company as a great player like Dennis Hopson,” Turner said after going 6 of 12 from the field and adding two blocked shots and two steals in 30 minutes.
The only previously recorded triple-double at Ohio State belonged to Hopson, who had 27 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists in a 1986 victory over Ohio University.
Coach Thad Matta reflected on the Buckeyes’ glittering history—and how Turner’s effort ranked.
“You look at the players who have come through Ohio State over the course of the existence of basketball,” Matta said. “For him to be put into that category is obviously a tremendous honor and it speaks volumes to the player he is. That’s an amazing stat line when you really look at it.”
Turner needed one assist for 10 but his teammates missed three straight shots. A bounce pass to Jon Diebler, who had 22 points, led to a 3-pointer with just over 7 minutes left for the triple-double.
“My roomie got it done for me, so I’ve got to buy him a steak dinner or something,” Turner said with a broad grin.
Diebler seemed more excited than Turner did.
“The last one I shot just because I knew,” Diebler said. “I’m excited for him because I know how hard he works, all the time just coming in at night by himself, shooting. He deserves it. Everything he gets this year he deserves because he’s worked extremely hard. If you see just from freshman year to sophomore year, then last year to this year, the strides that he’s made.”
William Buford added 19 points, Jeremie Simmons 12 and Walter Offutt 11 for the Buckeyes (1-0), who host a second-round game on Thursday night against James Madison.
Jonathan Boyd scored 20 points for the Braves (0-1), who are coached by former NBA star Larry Smith and are coming off a 6-25 season. Alcorn State was ranked 342nd of the 343 teams in Division I in the Rating Percentage Index.
Smith, a fearsome rebounder during an NBA career with Golden State, Houston and San Antonio, was impressed with Turner’s performance.
Turner’s rebounds were a career high and Smith thought that stat really stood out.
“He’s a live body and guys like that seem to have a nose for the ball,” he said.
Ohio State, which will meet No. 6 North Carolina in the semifinals next week at Madison Square Garden, has all five starters back from a 22-11 team that lost in the first round of the NCAA tournament to Siena.
Turner had 12 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists—his career-high was nine—in the opening half as Ohio State breezed to a 56-28 lead. Diebler had 16 points and Buford hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer for 11.
“In the first half he was just everywhere,” Matta said of Turner.
The Braves fell behind 8-0 before Byrd, who had 12 points on 3-pointers in the opening half, ended the drought. They got as close as 25-15 midway through the half before the Buckeyes went on a 19-0 run with Diebler scoring eight points.
Turner said he had never had a triple-double at any level of organized basketball, although he joked he had a lot in “open gym.”
“But in a real game, this is my first,” he said. “I just try to do my job. Coach asked me to rebound, find the open shots, make shots. I never ever dreamed of having a triple-double or anything like that. This is cool and I’m really excited.”
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