In a season full of blowouts, Florida Gulf Coast was nothing more than the next hapless victim. However, the Eagles didn’t realize they were walking into a buzzsaw in Value City Arena on Wednesday. Ohio State raced out to a 7-0 lead and never looked back on its way to a convincing 83-55 victory. After a lethargic mid-week effort against IUPUI a week ago, the Buckeyes left no doubt from the opening tip on who was in control.
It was the Jon Diebler show as the senior sharp shooter tied a school record by making nine three-point baskets. He also scored a career-high 29 points. Diebler was 9-of-13 (all threes) from the field and actually connected on nine consecutive threes. He missed his first two before making the next nine and missing his last three attempts. Jay Burson held the three-point record by himself for 22 years. Burson made nine threes against Florida in 1988 at Madison Square Garden.
William Buford added 17 points and pulled down six rebounds. The 17 points pushed him over the 1,000-point plateau as he joins Diebler and David Lighty as current Buckeyes that have scored 1,000 career points. Jared Sullinger added 11 points, but was a non-factor for much of the game because of foul trouble and Diebler’s hot hand. Lighty dished out eight assists. Ohio State was 13-of-28 from the three-point line.
The closest Florida Gulf Coast got was four points. That was nearly four minutes into the game when Chase Fieler connected on a three-pointer to make it 7-3. The Buckeyes answered with an 11-0 run to take a commanding 18-3 advantage. The Eagles averaged a turnover a minute during the game’s first 12 minutes. They finished with 23 for the game and made 20 field goals. Not exactly the recipe for achieving an upset, unless the objective is to upset your coach.
Entering the game, the talk was about how the Buckeyes would handle Florida Gulf Coast’s zone defense. The answer: like a rude houseguest. Ohio State assisted on 23 of its 32 field goals on the night and 11 of 16 in the first half.
Instead Ohio State’s defense (and Diebler) became the theme as they scored 22 points off those 23 Eagle turnovers.
Sullinger, who has turned into one of the most ballyhooed players in the country, got into foul trouble in the first half and scored just two points and got one rebound. It hardly mattered, though, as OSU led 42-16 at the break.
Diebler led the way with 15 points, making five of seven shots from behind the arc. Buford chipped in with nine points and five rebounds while Aaron Craft added five points, four rebounds and four assists. He finished the game with eight points, six rebounds and six assists.
Ohio State scored 16 points off of 14 Florida Gulf Coast turnovers in the first half. The Buckeyes made nearly as many shots (16) in the half as the Eagles had shots attempted (19). Florida Gulf Coast was only able to convert six of those shots into points. Thanks in part to Diebler’s five first half three’s, Ohio State made seven shots from downtown in the half.
The glass was another disaster for the Eagles. Ohio State had 21 rebounds, 11 offensive, compared to Florida Gulf Coast’s 12 total rebounds. On the night, the Buckeyes out rebounded the Eagles 35-25 (12-5 on offense).
The play in the paint also contributed to the Eagles’ center, Kevin Cantinol, picking up three fouls in the game’s first 20 minutes. Anthony Banks, who had drawn comparisons to Morehead State’s Kenneth Faried, was almost invisible throughout the night. He ended up with 10 points and two rebounds.
The 9-0 Buckeyes play host to South Carolina at 2 p.m. on Saturday.