Ohio State defeats Butler to extend nation’s best win streak to 11 games
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) –Evan Turner scored 14 points, including the go-ahead basket, to lead No. 21 Ohio State past Butler 54-51 on Saturday, surviving a late rally by the previously unbeaten Bulldogs.
The Buckeyes (6-0), coming off big road wins against ranked Miami and Notre Dame, looked sluggish after having the week off for final exams. They built a 13-point lead early in the second half, then missed seven of their next eight shots. They had just one field goal in the final 12 minutes.
Freshmen Gordon Hayward and Shelvin Mack led Butler (5-1) with 25 and 13 points, respectively, scoring the Bulldogs’ first 16 points of the second half.
Turner pump faked and hit a 10-footer in the lane to put the Buckeyes ahead 53-51 with 3:08 left.
Hayward lunged from the left wing on a 3-point attempt with one second left that hit the back of the iron.
David Lighty added 10 points and Dallas Lauderdale had nine points, eight rebounds and four blocked shots for Ohio State, which struggled at the free throw line. The Buckeyes made 16 of 28 foul shots, missing four of their last five after Turner hit the last field goal.
Mack had 13 points and seven assists, while Matt Howard – who raked the Buckeyes for 23 points in a home win a year ago – had 11 points and 10 rebounds. The Bulldogs had 19 turnovers, several without a defender figuring in the play.
After Lauderdale hit the first of two foul shots with 1:03 left, Hayward missed a 3 with 48 seconds remaining, with Jon Diebler rebounding for Ohio State. The Buckeyes killed time until Turner missed on a shot in the lane with 14 seconds remaining.
Butler called a timeout with 9.7 seconds left and then set up for a final shot at tying.
The Bulldogs worked the ball around, with Zach Hahn throwing a pass to Heyward who had to force up an off-balance, leaning 3 that missed the mark while he was being pressured by Lighty.
The Buckeyes led 29-23 at halftime and scored 14 of the first 21 points in the second half for a 43-30 lead.
But then they missed seven of their next eight shots from the field and both free throws as Butler scratched its way back with a 9-2 run to cut the lead to 45-39 with just over 10 minutes left.
Freshmen Mack (11) and Hayward (5) scored the Bulldogs’ first 16 points of the half.
Hayward then supplied two huge 3-pointers – one while wide open and another over the outstretched hand of Diebler – to tie the game at 51 with 3:57 left.