Tubby Smith was all smiles during warm-ups in his first visit to Value City Arena.
Evan Turner didn’t wait long to turn those smiles into the Tubby scowl we are all accustomed to seeing.
Turner scored eight of the Buckeyes first 11 points to get the Buckeyes off to a 11–0 start.
Turner was also getting it done on the defensive end, with four rebounds in the first six minutes.
A Jamar Butler three-pointer, a steal by Butler, and a no-look assist on a David Lighty three-pointer made the score 17–2, and Tubby was forced to call a timeout at the 12:43 mark of the first half.
Minnesota settled down after the poor start, and closed the half trailing 35–25. After the Gophers started the half shooting one for 15 from the field, they managed to stay within striking distance by taking advantage of 10 Buckeye turnovers and 11 offensive rebounds.
The Gophers finished the half shooting nine for 18 from the field after their horrible start. The Buckeyes shot 13 for 27 from the field and were five for 12 from long distance for a 48-percent clip.
Minnesota came out swinging in the second half and cut the lead to 44–41 in the first seven minutes. A key play in the game came at the 10:20 mark of the second half. Matt Terwilliger and Butler ran a perfect pick and roll, and Terwilliger brought the crowd to its feet with a sports center slam off the Butler lob.
On OSU's next possession, John Diebler missed a three-point attempt, and Travis Busch secured the rebound for Minnesota. Matt Terwilliger ran into Busch going for the offensive rebound and Busch slid across the baseline and was called for traveling. Tubby got a technical foul and had to be restrained by his coaching staff.
Butler made his 37th and 38th consecutive free throws, and the Buckeye lead was back to eight points. A Terwilliger steal and a behind-the-back pass by Turner to a streaking Diebler led to another Buckeye dunk. Another turnover by Minnesota led to a Turner dunk, and the Buckeyes led 54–42 with nine minutes to play.
Ohio State did a good job finishing the game off and cruised to a 76–60 win. OSU shot 50 percent from the field. OSU also went eight for 24 from long range for a respectable 33 percent. OSU was 16–22 from the free throw line for 72%.
Minnesota never recovered from their poor shooting at the beginning of the game and shot 36.5 percent from the field. The Gophers also struggled from long range, making only six threes on 27-percent shooting. The Gophers were not impressive from the free throw line either, going eight for 14.
Dan Coleman led the Gophers in scoring with 14 points. Coleman also had six rebounds, but his four turnovers hurt the Gophers.
Minnesota is 12–6 and drops to 2–4 in conference play. This is the Gophers third straight loss and Tubby Smith is still stuck on 399 wins. The Gophers next game is at Michigan on Thursday night. Minnesota is home against Wisconsin on Sunday, Feb. 3.
Jamar Butler was the star of the game with 27 points, nine assists, and three steals. His ability to penetrate the Minnesota pressure defense really caused fits for the Gophers all night long.
Kosta Koufos had 15 points, eight rebounds, and was 90 percent from the charity stripe. Evan Turner continued his consistent play with 17 points, eight rebounds, and four assists. Othello Hunter had six points and eight rebounds.
Ohio State is 14-6 and improves to 5–2 in the conference. Ohio State travels to Penn State on Tuesday night. They also play at Iowa next Saturday.
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