2011 Ohio State Basketball
Buckeyes Back on Track with Blowout Win
For a team, sometimes it is better to have less of a turnaround following a tough loss.
The No. 3 ranked Ohio State Buckeyes had just two days to get over their second conference loss in their last three games, and get over the loss they did by soundly defeating the visiting Illinois Fighting Illini 89-70 at Value City Arena on Tuesday.
With the victory, the Buckeyes remain undefeated at home while improving their conference and overall records to 13-2 and 26-2, respectively.
The Buckeyes got contributions from everyone and played a near perfect offensive game.
OSU shot a scorching 53 percent from the field, including 7-of-15 from downtown, while committing just three turnovers, the lowest mark in the Thad Matta era in Columbus.
Buford carried the load for the Bucks in the opening half, scoring all 17 of his points before halftime. Buford then passed the scoring torch onto Lighty who proceeded to match Buford's first half mark but scoring 17 of his 21 points in the second half.
Rounding out the scoring attack for Ohio State was Jon Diebler who bucketed 13 points as freshman's Jared Sullinger and Aaron Craft added 12 points apiece.
Mike Davis led the Illini (17-11, 7-8 Big Ten) with 18 points.
Davis scored the first basket of the game to give Illinois a 2-0 lead. A lead which would be Illinois' only of the game.
Ohio State made it clear early that they wanted to avenge Sunday's loss, going on an 8-0 run to take an 8-2 advantage.
The pace of the game was fast and both teams came out shooting the ball very well. Illinois converted on 8 of their first 9 shots from beyond the arc, but yet still found themselves fighting an uphill battle due to the Buckeyes near flawless execution at the offensive end.
Ohio State shot nearly 60 percent from the field in the first half and did not commit as single turnover.
Diebler capped off 14-2 Buckeye run to close out the first half by canning a triple at the buzzer to give the Bucks a 47-32 lead.
The second half belonged to fifth-year senior David Lighty.
All season, Lighty has done everything you could ask for from a veteran player. His leadership, unselfishness and gritty defense has often gone unnoticed, but in the second half Tuesday night, it was Lighty's turn to shine.
After the Illini scored 11 of the first 13 points to begin the second half to pull within 49-43, Lighty took over.
He scored Ohio State's next 13 points in a personal 13-2 run to build the lead back to 62-45, much of which starting with his defense. Lighty would end up with a career-high six steals.
The Illini responded with an 8-0 run to narrow the gap to 62-53.
But it was Lighty once again coming up clutch as he fed substitute forward Deshaun Thomas for a three-pointer. Seconds later, Lighty missed a jumper and Thomas fought off a defender for the rebound and converted it into a three-point play for a 68-53 lead.
The Buckeyes never let the lead drop below double-digits as they cruised to victory.
OSU will look to keep their momentum going with the end of the regular season nearing as they welcome the Indiana Hoosiers into Columbus on Sunday afternoon.
> Find more Big Ten football news online at Big Ten Fans!