COLUMBUS – Coppin State slowed the game to a series of 35-second possessions and it took Ohio State almost the whole game to figure it out.
In the end, Evan Turner scored 13 points and made several big plays down the stretch in his first collegiate start to lead the Buckeyes past the Eagles 47-39 on Monday night.
Asked if his team played quicker in its other games, Eagles coach Ron “Fang” Mitchell smiled.
“We played like we were chasing somebody who had stolen my wallet,” he said. “This was a different situation. I had to tell the team that that`s not the tempo we need to play at to be successful.”
So the Eagles slowed it down, setting a mark for offensive patience unseen around Ohio State in more than 47 years.
The 39 points were the fewest given up by Ohio State since a 109-38 win over Delaware on Jan. 11, 1960.
The approach nearly worked as the Eagles (3-7) almost mesmerized the Buckeyes with their deliberate style.
Jamar Butler added 13 points for the Buckeyes (5-3), who had lost their last two games and three of the last four, all against ranked opponents.
“The way they play made it hard for us,” Butler said. “We struggled up to the end to get the win.”
Turner started in place of another freshman, Jon Diebler, who had started the first seven games for the Buckeyes. Diebler, Ohio`s all-time leading high school scorer, was shooting just 21 percent from the field and 17 percent on 3-pointers.
“As far as starting, I was kind of nervous,” Turner said. “I`ve never been in that situation before. I was kind of shook. I turned the ball over too much and was too tentative. But I`m just happy to get a win. We haven`t won in a couple of weeks.”
Tywain McKee had 19 points and Eddie Hayden 10 for a Coppin State team, which had lost its last four games by an average of 22 points.
Most of the game was played at a glacial pace, with neither team getting many good looks on offense.
There were eight lead changes and two ties until Ohio State took a 36-33 lead on Turner`s baseline drive with 7:25 left. After Coppin State countered on Hayden`s 12-foot jumper, backup post man Matt Terwilliger hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key.
Ahead 39-37, the Buckeyes forged their biggest lead of the game when Othello Hunter scored inside and Turner hit a 3-pointer from the left corner off an assist from Butler to push the lead to 44-37.
“Our guys kept their composure down to the last 5 minutes – game-winning time,” Mitchell said.
Turner came in averaging 3.9 points a game, with a previous career high of 10 against VMI.
“Evan got us off to a good start, then he made some big plays down the stretch,” Ohio State coach Thad Matta said.
The Buckeyes were outrebounded 32-22 by the smaller Eagles, with 7-foot Kosta Koufos not getting a rebound in 24 minutes.
“Obviously, we`re happy with the win. But I thought we would have played a little bit better, with the way we had practiced,” Matta said. “Their style of play – what they were trying to do – we allowed them to take the life out of us. We were never able to put that run together.”
Coppin State shot just 36 percent from the field and had 18 turnovers. The Buckeyes hit 44 percent of their shots from the field, including 8-of-22 3-pointers.
Ohio State led 25-22 at the half, but was never able to get rid of the pesky Eagles. The Buckeyes broke out to an 8-0 lead with Turner hitting two 3s and assisting on the other basket.
But things tightened up from there and Ohio State never really controlled the game until the waning moments.
“We knew coming in it was going to be a different style and we would have to adjust to it,” Butler said.
OHIO STATE 47, COPPIN STATE 39
COPPIN STATE (3-7): Hayden 5-9 0-0 10, Pressey 3-10 0-0 6, Goldsberry 0-0 0-0 0, Duncan 0-4 0-0 0, Harrison 0-1 2-2 2, McKee 7-12 2-2 19, Conyers 1-7 0-0 2, Chesnut 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 16-45 4-4 39.
OHIO STATE (5-3): Koufos 4-7 0-0 8, Hunter 3-5 0-0 6, Butler 4-8 1-2 13, Turner 5-8 0-2 13, Lighty 1-5 2-2 4, Wallace 0-1 0-0 0, Hill 0-1 0-0 0, Diebler 0-3 0-0 0, Terwilliger 1-2 0-0 3, Lauderdale 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 18-41 3-6 47.
Halftime – Ohio State 25-22. 3-Point Goals – Coppin St. 3-12 (McKee 3-4, Harrison 0-1, Duncan 0-3, Conyers 0-4), Ohio St. 8-22 (Butler 4-8, Turner 3-4, Terwilliger 1-2, Hill 0-1, Hunter 0-1, Koufos 0-1, Lighty 0-2, Diebler 0-3). Fouled Out – None. Rebounds – Coppin St. 32 (McKee 9), Ohio St. 22 (Hunter 5). Assists – Coppin St. 9 (Hayden 3), Ohio St. 16 (Butler 6). Total Fouls – Coppin St. 11, Ohio St. 10. A – 15,496.