Any debate about Evan Turner as player of the year was settled last week. Besides, Ohio State's do-it-all junior is onto bigger things.
Like introducing himself to the masses thanks to some March heroics.
Down 68-66 to Michigan with 2.2 seconds remaining in Ohio State's Big Ten tournament opener, Turner drained a 37-foot jump shot at the buzzer for a wild 69-68 victory. It was exactly what you'd imagine, too. From the AP story:
Turner took the inbounds pass, dribbled upcourt and pulled up barely past halfcourt. The Big Ten player of the year left his arm in the air after the release, confident the long shot would fall.
His attempt was so close to the buzzer that the play was reviewed. When officials signaled the shot was good, the red-clad section of the crowd erupted.
And that was just the very end! Michigan's Manny Harris had already swished an 11-foot jumper to give Michigan the lead. (There's a video of the entire sequence here, but hurry. Not sure how long it'll be up.)
"I guess everyone thought there was no way he would make a half-court shot," Harris told the Sporting News. "I know coach was thinking it would be incredible, crazy, for him to make a halfcourt shot like that.
"Things like this happen in March. It's horrible to be on the losing side of it."
Turner's shot not only prevented a massive upset, but kept the Buckeyes' hopes alive for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament AND gave CBS a killer storyline to hype all next week. I can only imagine how much attention will get lavished on Turner if the Buckeyes make the Sweet 16.
And this wasn't even the only dramatic finish of the week.
Da'Sean Butler saved West Virginia with a buzzer-beating 3-pointer of his own last night against Cincy. Montana's Anthony Johnson scored 42 points – including the game-winner -- as the Grizz overcame a 20-oint halftime deficit to grab the autobid from the Big Sky. And Providence nearly staged a 29-point rally of its own in a loss to Seton Hall on Tuesday.
If the NCAA tournament is anything close to that kind of drama, it's gonna be a good month.
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