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Turner, Ohio State top Minnesota

Feb 8, 2009 - 5:01 AM COLUMBUS, Ohio (Ticker) -- With another ranked opponent in front of them, Ohio State once again took advantage of its opportunity to get a quality win.

Evan Turner led a balanced attack with 18 points and 10 rebounds as Ohio State defeated its second ranked team this week with a 64-58 victory over No. 19 Minnesota on Saturday.

Jon Diebler and freshman William Buford each scored 11 points for the Buckeyes (17-5, 7-4 Big Ten), who were coming off an 80-72 overtime victory against No. 13 Purdue on Tuesday.

It was Ohio State's fifth win against a ranked opponent this season, and all have come with the Buckeyes outside the top-25. Ohio State is 5-4 against ranked teams overall.

"We have had a difficult schedule and we're a good basketball team," Buckeyes coach Thad Motta said. "With the challenges this team has had and playing five ranked teams - some on the road - I hope it says we play some good basketball."

"Our guys did a good job playing with our game plan. I think five guys in double figures means we played an unselfish basketball game."

The Buckeyes led by three at the break and never trailed during the second half despite failing to create any significant separation.

Blake Hoffarber made a 3-pointer to cut the Minnesota deficit to 55-52 with 3:46 remaining but the Golden Gophers missed eight of their final 11 shots and three free throws down the stretch. Ohio State went 7-of-10 from the foul line in the final 64 seconds to seal the victory.

Hoffarber finished with 19 points to pace Minnesota (18-5, 6-5), which has lost two straight games and four of its last six.

"The game was a good character test after we were humiliated at Michigan State," Golden Gophers coach Tubby Smith said. "Our kids showed a lot of heart and strength in a game where we thought we were still in it."

Jeremie Simmons and freshman B.J. Mullens each added 10 points for the Buckeyes, who have won four straight overall.

Minnesota led by as many as six early but Ohio State answered with a 10-0 run to take a 17-13 lead with nine minutes to play in the first half.

"We looked at the film and it was obvious (Minnesota) out-toughed us in the last game," Turner said. "We knew what we had to do coming in and we went out and did it."

The Buckeyes pushed the lead up to eight but the Golden Gophers came back within one before Turner's jumper gave the home team a 29-26 edge at the break.

The contest remained tight early in the second half before Simmons and Diebler made consecutive 3-pointers to give the Buckeyes a 46-36 advantage with 8:49 to play.

"We are a hard team to match up with because we are a versatile team, especially with Evan (Turner) at the forward spot," Diebler said. "Our big guys are playing well and we can get scoring from a lot of different guys."

Minnesota hung tough as Hoffarber converted a four-point play and later followed with a 3-pointer to cut the Golden Gophers deficit to three with under four minutes remaining.

The Golden Gophers committed 17 turnovers compared to just 10 for the Buckeyes.

"It's disappointing to see because a lot of them were unforced turnovers," Smith said. "We have guards that don't look up and it's just something that we'll have to get better at."