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February 7, 2010COLUMBUS, Ohio - Evan Turner doesn't want to talk about being the national player of the year but if he keeps putting up numbers like he did on Sunday afternoon, he may not have a choice. Turner tied a career high in scoring with 32 points to go along with seven boards, five assists and four steals as Ohio State (18-6, 8-3) took care of business on its home court dispatching of Iowa (8-16, 2-9) 68-58.
The Bucks overcame poor shooting from behind the arc (2-13) with one of their best performances from the free throw line (22-27) and were able to keep Iowa an arm's length away all afternoon. The Hawkeyes had four players in double figures but Eric May's 16 points were just not enough.
Four players for the Buckeyes logged 40 minutes and Dallas Lauderdale spent more than half the game on the bench saddled with four fouls. But Turner made everyone forget about the absence of the man in the middle taking care of business from just about every angle imaginable.
"He made some special plays out there and that ranks as one of the best I have seen in his all-around game in what he was able to get accomplished," Ohio State head coach Thad Matta said. "I thought his pace and reading of situations was tremendous."
Last time these two teams met Turner's numbers were skewed a little bit differently scoring 16 points with 12 boards and seven assists during Ohio State's come from behind win. Which type of game is more gratifying for Turner?
"Different games call for different things and I kind of like my triple-double games and I think those game allow my team to score equally as much as I did and I think those are the best all-around games," Turner said.
Iowa continues to struggle in Big Ten play and it has not had many favors from the Big Ten schedule makers drawing Ohio State twice in a month and having to play the likes of Illinois, at Michigan and at Michigan State in the last three-plus weeks.
"I think you probably saw about what (Turner) is," Iowa head coach Todd Lickliter said. "It is not unique to us what happened... he's tough to contain. When he was out they were a good team but when he came back it was elevated to one of the best in the nation."
The Hawkeyes hung around all of the first half and went to the locker room down by five after shooting 52-percent from the field in the first 20 minutes of the game. But the Buckeyes got off to a good start in the first half going on a 9-4 mini-run before the first media timeout. Did the Hawkeyes know during the break that the Buckeyes would try and come out fast in that first four minute war?
"They are explosive and it could have been that four minutes," Lickliter said. "In Iowa City it was the last four minutes."
With the win the Buckeyes maintain a three-way tie for second in Big Ten play after Michigan State dropped a pair of game without a limited Kalin Lucas. Add to that fact that the Buckeyes hold the key to their own destiny in their hands with two games against the Illini and one against the Spartans in the remainder.
"It is wide open and that is why you really have to take care of business on your home court," Jon Diebler said. "(This afternoon) wasn't the prettiest win but we won and this late in the season and with the race how close it is, you really have to take care of business at home."
It is a far cry from where this team was when Turner was coming off of broken back a month ago.
"I have faith that this team can do anything," Turner said. "We control our own destiny and we decide what goes on. If we stay focus and can play Ohio State basketball that we can do anything."
But don't start making your reservations for the final four yet.
"I am proud of the position we are in but there is still a ton of basketball left to be played," Matta said.