It was a game between two teams headed in completely opposite directions.
Penn State, losers of all nine of its conference games this season, arrived in Columbus to face an Ohio State squad that had won five in a row in Big Ten play.
Neither streak came to an end Wednesday night, as the Buckeyes won, 75-62.
On a night that the Ohio State football team was honored at halftime for last month’s Rose Bowl victory, the basketball Buckeyes took a page out of the football playbook and beat the Nittany Lions.
The game figured to showcase two of the Big Ten’s best players, Penn State’s Talor Battle and OSU’s Evan Turner. Neither guard disappointed. Battle had 24 points, nine rebounds and seven assists, all team highs, but it was Turner who stole the show.
Once again, the National Player of the Year candidate led the way for OSU. Turner scored 27 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and handed out six assists. Like Battle, he led his team in all three categories.
“Stuff kind of opened up in the second half,” Turner said of his 22 second-half points. “It allowed me to go to work and to my thing for the most part.”
The Nittany Lions made it close down the stretch, closing to within three points with less than two minutes to play. But junior guard Jon Diebler, who had been held scoreless for the first 38 minutes of the game, hit a three-point shot to end any hope of a Penn State comeback.
“I was just thinking one is bound to go in,” Diebler said. “In years past my confidence would have went down and I probably wouldn’t have shot it.
“Better to make one late than never I guess.”
Sophomore William Buford added 19 points on 5-10 shooting. Buford continued his recent tear on the offensive end and over the course of the last two games he has made 62 percent of his field goal attempts, going 15-24. In addition, Buford has made all 10 of his free throw attempts.
As for the Nittany Lions, coach Ed DeChellis said it was just more of the same from his team, which has made a habit of losing close games this season.
“History kind of repeats itself,” DeChellis said. “We just tried to hang in there as long as we could, but I don’t think there are any moral victories.”