MILWAUKEE -- Some quick postgame thoughts from Ohio State's better-late-than-never 75-66 win over Georgia Tech:
Well, that's more like it: The Buckeyes struggled to get good looks in the first half, and their offense was almost entirely limited to standstill half-court sets against Georgia Tech's grinding defense. By the first few minutes of the second half, Ohio State looked like a different team playing an entirely different game. The Buckeyes got out on the break, opening up with a series of layups and dunks en route to an 18-6 run in the first 7:30 of the second half. The looks that wouldn't fall for OSU in the first half began to fall with more frequency. Jon Diebler got hot. The most important bit, though, was the type of shots the Buckeyes were getting. It's a lot harder to miss dunks.
Georgia Tech, meanwhile, didn't do much to keep up. The Yellow Jackets went long stretches without leading scorer Gani Lawal, who was saddled with foul trouble throughout the game. Without him, Tech's offense devolved into a plodding inside-out half-court mess that didn't yield much in the way of good looks. Freshman uber-recruit Derrick Favors is clearly talented, but he has a long way to go until he becomes an effective back-to-the-basket player.
Credit the Jackets for sticking around, though. Georgia Tech could have gone away softly after Ohio State took over, but Favors and company came back and cut the deficit to four with 1:50 remaining. Turner made two free throws, Glen Rice Jr. missed a long 3, and David Lighty was given an intentional foul on the ensuing break. Paul Hewitt and Georgia Tech's fate was sealed.
Evan Turner Watch: Unlike Friday, Turner looked like his normal self in the stat line, scoring 24 points, grabbing nine rebounds, dishing eight assists and grabbing three steals. (Turner, as he is prone to do, also had a big turnover day, finishing with nine.) Like Friday, Turner was once again clearly frustrated with the officials, doing the whole "I'll look at you incredulously and then walk away laughing" thing that he's perfected in the first two rounds here. To be fair, Turner was getting hacked. But it's clear his appeals to the officials, much like the appeals of his coach, are falling on deaf ears.
Watching Diebler shoot in person is ... well, I don't want to say it's an honor, because that feels too maudlin. But it is a genuine joy. Diebler has one of the purest strokes in college basketball. The form is perfect, the release lightning quick. He's one of those rare shooters whose shots you expect to go down every time the ball leaves his hand. At this point, that calculation is the smart one.