Hell bent on picking up the slack for his fallen teammate, David Lighty attacked the Cleveland State defense with great vengeance and furious anger on his way to a career high 30 points in a 72-59 victory over the Vikings tonight in Columbus.
Lighty was especially lethal in the second half scoring 22 points including 10 straight after back to back triples by Jeremy Montgomery cut the OSU lead to 40-36 with 13:25 left. Taking an outlet pass from P.J. Hill, Lighty started his run by streaking down the right sideline and throwing down the hammer making a door poster out of Jared Cunningham in the process. Lighty would miss the chance at a three point play but would go on to hit five of seven charity tosses during the run that also featured a deep trey from the top of the key with two ticks left on the shot clock. The run gave the Buckeyes a 50-38 advantage with 10:23 remaining and Cleveland State wouldn't threaten the rest of the way.
Playing all 40 minutes, Lighty shot 9/16 from the floor and his countless drives to the rack resulted in 13 trips to the line though he converted only nine (69%). He also added seven boards, five assists and two blocks as Ohio State improved to 10-2 on the season.
Though Lighty was clearly the star on this night, he did get some offensive help from Wil Buford (13) and Dallas Lauderdale (12). Twin Cities actually hurt his season FG% hitting 'just' 3/6 from the floor but he connected on a shocking 6/7 from the stripe while adding eight rips and five blocks. Buford was off from the floor (5/14) most of the night but he played a key role in keeping CSU at bay toward the end of the first half scoring seven of the final 12 points including the last five with a floater in the lane and a triple on OSU's last possession giving the Bucks a 31-23 lead at the break. WB also chipped in five boards and four dimes on the night to go along with another five turnovers.
Jon Diebler struggled once again to get off shots going 1/5 (1/4 3FG) but the foul happy Vikings allowed him to go 6/6 at the stripe leading to nine points. Obviously, nobody on this team benefits more from the presence of Turner than Diebs. The guy simply can't create any space on his own and is now relegated to the third scoring option.
P.J. Hill stepped up the D tonight helping hold CSU's leading scorer, Norris Cole, to an 0/10 donut from the floor with six turnovers. Cole is the same guy who had 38 against Florida A&M and 29 against West Virginia this past Saturday so props to the Predator and the rest of the D for putting the clamps on him. Matta was clearly impressed with Hill's play as he logged a season high 35 minutes with Jeremie Simmons seeing just five minutes of scoreless court time. Throw in the fact Kyle Madsen played 16 minutes and Matta's bench contributed exactly 21 minutes, zero points, two rebounds and one assist. Think that'll be enough against Wisconsin on NYE? Me neither.
For the game, OSU held the Vikings to 37% shooting thought they hit only 48% of their own attempts. Offsetting the less than stellar shooting was the fact the Buckeyes went to the line 31 times, hitting 23, allowing them to outscore the Vikings 23-10 from the stripe. As noted Lighty's aggressive dribble drives provided most of the juice in this stat combined with the fact the Vikings are some hacking bitches.
A few other random items of note from this one include: OSU trainer Vince O'Brien saying Turner is "ahead of schedule" in his rehab though no firm dates were discussed...David Lighty did something I've never seen before in a college game. At the line, he missed the first of two shots. The ball caromed off the rim right back to him and he half-heartedly shot the ball again. This is a violation so Lighty wasn't awarded his second free throw and CSU took possession.