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Established October 31, 1996
Front Page Columns and Features
Last updated: 02/28/2011 1:21 PM

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Men's Basketball
The Turning Point - Indiana
By Tony Gerdeman

Sometimes even the most finely-tuned machines need a jump start every now and again, and that's exactly what happened on Sunday with the Buckeyes.

Leading 16-10 after nearly twelve minutes of play with the Hoosiers, Ohio State was in the midst of a listless ho-hum affair against a team that they knew they were better than.

Fortunately for the Buckeyes, freshman Deshaun Thomas doesn't do listless.

Sure, there are times when the left-handed Gatling gun is silent. Before Sunday's 22-point explosion against Indiana, Thomas had only had one double-figure scoring game in the Big Ten this season. In the past seven games he had scored just 13 points total, going scoreless in four of those games.

But never were those games of non-production due to a lack of want-to. If anything, the kid wants to do too much.

On Sunday, he did exactly what his team needed him to do. Benched with foul trouble in the first half, Jared Sullinger and David Lighty were both unavailable for long stretches of time.

Playing against his home-state school, the southpaw Judas with a Jumpshot was quite available, and he unleashed his entire arsenal on the Hoosiers.

It did take him a full one minute and 34 seconds upon entering to score, but when he stopped, he had left no man standing.

He started things off by grabbing an offensive rebound and getting fouled on the put back. He made his two free throws, and then 36 seconds later he hit his first three-pointer of the game.

Just 20 seconds after that, and following his own defensive rebound, Thomas hit another three-pointer to make the game 24-10. Indiana head coach Tom Crean had to call a timeout to slow things down, but it didn't quite work out that way.

“It was just about getting to my spots and hitting the shots," said Thomas.

"After the first two threes, I could tell that I was getting warm.”

(As if he needed any more reason to think that he should shoot at the first opportunity given.)

Following an actual Hoosier basket coming out of the timeout, Thomas went on to score three consecutive layups for the Buckeyes to finish his outburst.

He was constantly around the basket. He was there to grab rebounds, or wayward passes.  He was looking for the ball, and moving without it. He made himself available to his teammates at every turn. Credit his teammates for finding him, because the Hoosiers clearly could not.

You wouldn't think it would be hard to find a guy with a seven-foot wingspan waving his arms for the ball, but then you've never been a Hoosier on defense, apparently.

Thomas single-handedly went on a 14-3 run against Indiana, and it could have been more, if not for the Buckeyes having other talented players on the team as well.

By the time he was finished, the score that used to be 16-10 was now 30-13, and there was no looking back.

Deshaun Thomas' three-minute-and-thirty-five-second explosion was by far the turning point in the game. It happened so quickly, Tom Crean barely knew what hit him.

“He played very well today," said the Hoosier head coach.

"He hit open shots and I have to give credit to him, he made the big threes. He is the all-time leading scorer in Indiana history; I think he played well tonight."

It took the Buckeyes 9:42 to score 14 points. It took Thomas about a third of that time to do the same.

“It felt great, every day in practice Coach Matta was telling me we need you, and after today I’m proud of myself and my teammates,” Thomas said.

"Deshaun came in and I like him making shots,” Matta said.

"He's got such a natural way of finding areas. He has never wavered; the work that he puts in before and after practice."

As if he even needed to say it, Matta added, "He warms up quick."

Of course he does.

Because that's what microwaves do.

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