COLUMBUS, Ohio - Ohio State guard Evan Turner declared that he was 90-percent earlier this week and after a performance that netted 20 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists, fans can only wonder what that last 10 percent will look like.
It was more than enough when the Buckeyes took advantage of cold shooting from Northwestern (13-5, 2-4), who shot a dismal 18 percent in the first half, before Ohio State (14-5, 4-3) cruised to a 76-56 win over the Wildcats Tuesday night in Value City Arena.
Jon Diebler had 17 points for the Buckeyes while Dallas Lauderdale went the high percentage route with the dunks in scoring 14 points. John Shurna led Northwestern with 22 points and Drew Crawford was the only other Cat to register double figures (11 points).
The Buckeyes opened up the game with a 17-3 run on Northwestern and from that point on it was apparent that the tone of the game was set and even though the Cats have proven to be a resilient team coming back from deficits this season there was no light and the end of the tunnel for NU.
"Right from the get go they just jumped on us and we were never in the game," Northwestern head coach Bill Carmody said.
And the Buckeyes were able to avoid a slow start and got the crowd at Value City Arena involved very early as William Buford and Lauderdale both rocked the rim.
"I thought we were able to get out to a good start, especially on the defense end and it opened some things up to us offensively in transition," Ohio State head coach Thad Matta said. "When you are playing Northwestern they do so many things and you never know exactly what is coming and you are trying to play perfect and you can't. I thought our guys did a good job of figuring out on the fly and adjusting."
The Buckeyes were coming off of a great week of practice and were not surprised that they were able to come out like a house of fire. But nobody could have predicted that this was going to happen, could they?
"The way we have been practicing coach has been stressing toughness, composure and attacking and not reacting," Lauderdale said. "We knew they were going to play different defenses... We just wanted to attack whatever they did."
Turner played for 37 minutes on Tuesday night which is a far cry from the last time around when he was saddled with foul trouble. Matta was pleased with what Turner was able to do but like a coach he always has some observations to help his player to keep on progressing.
"I thought he got a little bit tired there down the stretch" Matta said. "I think he's getting back there is no doubt about that."
Conditioning is one thing but there is something to be said about a team getting its rhythm back and it appears the Buckeyes are doing that with three straight wins going into a difficult game at West Virginia this upcoming weekend.
"I think tonight is a good night," Turner said. "Definitely we are getting our transition back which is important. Once again we are all getting each other involved in the game and we are all playing well together."
The Cats knew that they didn't do themselves any favors with cold shooting but had nothing but respect for the Buckeyes and Carmody even joked about only having to see the Bucks once in the regular season of the Big Ten.
"They are playing as well as anyone," Carmody said.