November 9, 2009

Turnerís night a triple delight

COLUMBUS - Directly after Ohio State's 100-60 win over Alcorn State in the Buckeyes season-opener at Value City Arena on Monday evening, Jon Diebler entered the postgame interviews room with a bright smile on his face.

"I told you," Diebler said to the assorted media waiting in the room. "I told you he was going to get it."

Diebler was referring to junior guard Evan Turner, who had just recorded the second triple double in the history of Ohio State basketball. He was the first player to record a triple double since Dennis Hopson recorded one in 1986.

Turner's 14 points, 17 rebounds, and 10 assists were the exclamation point the Buckeyes were looking for when opening up the season against the Braves.

Perhaps it was Turner's way of saying he has arrived as one of the best basketball players in college hoops, even if it is in a different position.

"It is really cool to get a triple-double and you know, be in the same company as a great player like Dennis Hopson," Turner said immediately after the Buckeyes win. "I am really fortunate we won the game tonight and my teammates hit some big, big shots and we had a good team win and I thought we made a statement and we won our first game to start the season."

Ironically enough, immediately after Ohio State's win over Walsh University last week in an exhibition game, a reporter reluctantly Turner if he thought he had a triple-double in him this year.

Turner modestly answered the question with some variation of saying he just wanted to do what's best for the team en route to leading the squad to wins.

Meanwhile, Diebler, who was sitting directly to Turner's right, waved his head up and down slowly, sporting the utmost faith in Turner's ability to post big numbers in various statistical categories.

Sure enough, it looked like Diebler was right. And it didn't take long.

As it turned out, it was Diebler who made the shot that sent Turner - his roommate - into Buckeye history. The shot came with just over seven minutes remaining in the ball game.

"That last one I shot just because I knew (Turner was one away from the triple double)," said Diebler, who recorded 22 points of his own in the win. "I'm excited for him because I know how hard he works, coming in at night by himself and shooting. He has worked extremely hard. It is the first game but I am excited for him and he deserves it."

Though Turner just needed two assists at halftime to record the triple-double, he didn't get the ninth assists until under 10 minutes left in the game, and then his teammates stopped scoring on plays that would have put him over the threshold.

Missed shots by Nikola Kecman, Jeremie Simmons and even Diebler had the crowd in doubt as to whether or not Turner would be able to get that 10th assist.

There were even times where Turner was noticeably hoping shots would fall, reacting to various missed shots that would have put him over the edge.

Even so, Diebler eventually came through for Turner.

"My roomie got it done for me," Turner joked. "I got a buy him a steak dinner or something. It is cool. I don't know what else to say. It was just really cool."

Ari Wasserman is a staff writer for BuckeyeGrove.com. He can be reached at Ari@BuckeyeGrove.com.



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