Missing in action for much of the season, both David Lighty and Jon Diebler found the range leading Ohio State to an easy 80-63 win over the Cleveland State Vikings.
Lighty set the tone early scoring 11 of his 15 points in the first half including three triples as the Buckeyes raced out to a 17-3 lead. The enigmatic Cleveland native had his best game since opening night shooting 8/9 from the floor to go along with 8 assists and 3 rebounds. Of course, it wasn't all good as he recorded a season high 5 turnovers.
D-Light had plenty of help in a first half that saw Evan Turner chip in 9 points and 5 boards while bigs Othello Hunter and Kosta Koufos actually both played well in the same game. The two combined for 10 points, 8 rebounds and 2 blocks in the opening stanza as the Buckeyes built a 35-25 lead on balanced scoring and a typically suffocating defense.
The second half marked the return of "Threebler" as the struggling freshman connected on 5/6 from downtown en route to a game high 17 points after hitting just 9 of his first 49 collegiate triple tries. I'm no scout but I certainly didn't see any changes in Diebler's game. He simply knocked down shots for the first time since his 7/16 performance against the Tar Heels back in late November.
Diebler's first three capped a 16-6 run giving OSU a 51-31 lead with 16 minutes left. Then, leading 60-40 with 11 minutes to go, he supplied the only Buckeye offense for the next 6 minutes hitting three straight from long range to secure the win.
Though Lighty and Diebler were the stars tonight, the Buckeyes placed five in double figures and numerous Buckeyes did their part in producing another lockdown effort at the defensive end.
Koufos was a factor at both ends with 16 points, 7 rebounds and 5 blocks while Hunter offered 14 points and 6 caroms.
Evan Turner made some strides tonight showing a well rounded floor game producing 11 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals against just 2 turnovers after committing 12 miscues in the last two games. The kid has tons of potential and experience will certainly help him refine the details of his game such as learning how to feed the post. (It's called a bounce pass!)
Defensively, the Buckeyes employed the full court trap and a stifling matchup zone to pester the Vikings into 15 turonvers and just 36% shooting. Though this year's Buckeyes are a little tough on the eyes, they will find themselves in the thick of the Big Ten race if the defense can continue to hold opposing offenses in check. Matta's squad has yet to give up more than 70 points in a game and have surrendered an average of 55 points in their 7 wins.