By Matt McCoy
Sam Thompson is best known for slams...but another part of his game had WTVN analyst Tony White excited
Ohio State moved up two spots to No. 22 in the AP poll and No. 20 in the coaches after beating both Northwestern and Minnesota last week. They were wins the Buckeyes were expected to get but with March approaching, they featured a positive sign.
"Consistently Ohio State made more shots than they have made shots in previous weeks and it wasn't just one guy," 610 WTVN basketball analyst Tony White said on Bucksline Monday night. "You see some life out of the Ohio State offense."
The player who provided most of the life was forward Sam Thompson who averaged 15 points a game in the two victories. Thompson's play became one of the major Bucksline topics.
"The most important thing from Sam Thompson these last two games is 3-of-4 from the 3-point line against Northwestern and 2-of-5 from the 3-point line against Minnesota," Tony said. "When you combine those two, you're talking 5-of-9. Sam Thompson, making 5-of-9 from the 3-point line makes opposing teams nervous because they're wondering, 'How exactly do we guard this kid, if we now have to extend out and play him on the 3-point line?"
Thompson scored more points last week (30) than he had in his six previous games combined (29) and his five 3-pointers last week equal his 3-pointers made over the last seven games.
It was Thompson who came on late last season, averaging 11.7 points in Ohio State's Big Ten Tournament championship run and carried it over to the NCAA Tournament. Tony believes a similar production increase would give the Buckeyes the offensive jolt they need.
"I would say Lenzelle Smith Jr. has not (established himself) as this teams number two (scoring option behind LaQuinton Ross) and this team is looking for a number two," Tony said. "Sam Thompson, if he can continue to make shots like that, he can be this teams number two. He can even be number one if he continues to make 3-point shots like that."
We dove into many other topics Monday night, including LaQuinton Ross' ejection against Northwestern last week, and Aaron Craft closing in on the Big Ten record for career steals. Craft, with 317 steals now, needs four more to tie and five to break the record held by Bruce Douglas, who played for Illinois in the 1980's. If you missed the show, check it out, commercial free right here:
ET's New Home
Evan Turner's biggest shot at Ohio State came in what was then Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis when he sank a buzzer-beater from just inside midcourt to beat Michigan in the 2010 Big Ten Tournament. The same arena, now Bankers Life Fieldhouse, is Turner's new NBA home.
The fourth year pro was dealt by the team who drafted him No. 2 overall, the Philadelphia 76ers, to the Indiana Pacers last week and is expected to make his Indy debut Tuesday night against the LA Lakers.
It was the biggest deal made at the NBA's trade deadline as the Pacers hope Turner, who was averaging 17.4 points per game for the struggline Sixers, can provide punch off the bench and help Indiana topple the two-time defending NBA champion Miami Heat.
"I think everybody wants to play in the playoffs in the NBA," Turner said in his first meeting with reporters in Indianapolis. "It's always fun to play in and no fun to watch."
Turner would have been watching had Philly not made the trade. The Sixers had a promising start, winning their first three games but have been miserable since. In fact they're currently on an 11-game losing streak. Their last victory was won when Turner hit a buzzer-beating driving lay-up in Boston to beat the Celtics back on January 29. The trade was welcome, but for more than just basketball reasons.
"I grew up in Chicago and my mom lives in Columbus," Turner said. "I saw a sign (in Indianapolis) that said Chicago and a sign that said Columbus, Ohio. That made me pretty excited to be so close and be back in the Midwest."
Turner's contract expires at the end of the season. Whether he's just a rental player, brought in to try to help the Pacers win a title, or is in Indiana's long-term plans is unclear. For now, however, the arena where he nailed such a well known shot four years ago is his basketball home.
"It was cool and is always a great memory," Turner said. "I had a great weekend that weekend so hopefully I have a great few months now."
To listen to Turner talk with reporters in Indy for the first time click here: