Lineup of mainly freshmen and sophomores help Buckeyes remain undefeated
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – Evan Turner had 21 points and ignited a second-half rally with nine points and two blocked shots to guide No. 17 Ohio State to a 71-53 victory over Iona on Saturday.
Jon Diebler added 16 points and William Buford 10 for Ohio State (8-0), playing its first game without captain David Lighty, who will miss six to 12 weeks after breaking a bone in his left foot.
Alejo Rodriguez scored 17 points and Jonathan Huffman 14 for Iona (4-7). The Gaels were missing leading scorer Gary Springer, who is out with a sprained ankle.
Ohio State’s winning streak reached 13, including the final five games a year ago when it won the NIT.
Iona (4-7) took a 31-28 lead with a rapid 7-0 run to start the second half, capped by Scott Machado’s 3-pointer.
Turner tied it with an immediate 3 and then began to take over the game. With Ohio State clinging to a 38-35 lead, Turner hit a 15-foot jumper and then blocked shots on the next two Iona possessions. In between, Jeremie Simmons followed his own missed layup off the break and, after the second block, Simmons flipped an alley-oop pass to Buford for a dunk.
Turner then hit a hanging 12-footer and two free throws to push the lead to 48-37.
During the spurt, the Buckeyes went with a smaller lineup with 7-foot B.J. Mullens and 6-8 Dallas Lauderdale on the bench, replaced by forwards Buford and Kyle Madsen.
The Gaels never got closer than seven points again.
There were four lead changes and two ties in the opening half, with Ohio State hitting just 1-of-9 3-pointers while fighting to take a 28-24 lead..