Saturday, 29 August 2009

Columbus Dispatch article on Ohio State/Windsor

OSU men's basketball: Hill's game undergoes offseason makeover: Guard scores 18, plays turnover-free in Canada opener

WINDSOR, Ontario -- After Ohio State's first-round NCAA loss to Siena in March, feeling his mental gaffe had cost his team the game, P.J. Hill vowed to return a different player.

"Next year I'm going to come back with a better game," he said. "Teams are not going to be able to just help off me. I'm going to make teams pay."

Last night, the University of Windsor became the first team to pay.

Beginning a series of three exhibition games in four days across the border from Detroit, the Ohio State men's basketball team outclassed the Lancers 90-39 in the St. Denis Centre in large part due to not only Hill's ever-present energy but also his production.

The senior guard had 18 points, four assists, four rebounds and two steals. He took charges and tied up possessions defensively. He made 7 of 9 shots from the field, including all four from behind the three-point arc, and didn't commit a turnover.

"I made a commitment (last spring) that I wouldn't come back the same as I was," Hill said. "I've been working with (assistant) coach Brandon Miller, every day at 8 a.m., no matter what. We made a commitment that I was going to step it up this year. I'm just trying to hold true to my end."

David Lighty, playing his first game since he suffered a broken bone in his left foot in December, scored 16 points for the Buckeyes. Evan Turner had 13 points, eight rebounds and six assists with just two turnovers.

The Buckeyes shot 60.3 percent from the field and assisted on 24 of their 38 field goals thanks to a fast-break offense triggered by harassing man-to-man defense and the missed shots and turnovers they forced. Windsor shot 23 percent from the field and had 25 turnovers.

"I expected Ohio State to be very good, and they were. But I expected us to compete a little bit better," Windsor coach Chris Oliver said. He has just three experienced players back from last season and had his team practice after the game.

Turner started at point guard, but any of the guards were free to lead the break after claiming the defensive rebound. Seven players had at least two assists and seven others at least three rebounds.

"We've got a new style: Whoever gets the rebound, just go," Hill said. "That's just (the coaches having) confidence in all our players."

Ohio State led 32-23 before closing the first half with an 18-0 run fueled by a three-point basket and two assists by Hill.

After a languid start to the second half, Hill triggered a 12-0 run by forcing three straight turnovers. He finished off his night with a 12-point fourth quarter.

"The biggest thing with P.J. is, his first two years here, he played with speed and brought energy, but sometimes it wasn't advantageous for us because he was going too fast for the situation," coach Thad Matta said.

"He's done a good job (addressing that). I think all these guys have had a very good summer. It'll be interesting to see how we do (tonight). I think it will be a test of our maturity, if we can come out and keep it going."

The teams play again at 6 tonight.

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