2011 Ohio State Basketball
Buckeyes Bounce Back to Beat Spartans
On Tuesday night, the 2010-11 Ohio State Buckeyes found themselves in a position they have not been all season; playing in a game following a loss.
Three days after their 71-67 defeat to the Wisconsin Badgers, the No 3 ranked Buckeyes bounced back with a 71-61 victory over the Michigan State Spartans.
The victory didn't come easy for the Buckeyes who were lead by Junior William Buford, who put in arguably his best performance of the season scoring a game-high 23 points.
Three other Buckeyes scored in double figures with Jon Dieber and David Lighty bucketing 12 points each while freshman Jared Sullinger added 11 points. The phenom freshman came into the contest averaging 18 points and 10 rebounds, but was limited by Tom Izzo's game plan.
With the Buckeyes clinging to a 45-44 lead in the second-half, Buford stepped in front of a lazy pass by Kalin Lucas and went the length of the floor for a basket. The next time down the floor, pesky freshman Aaron Craft forced Lucas into another turnover which led to two free throws by Diebler.
Following a Spartan basket on a second-chance opportunity, Diebler tossed in a bullet from beyond the arc giving the Buckeyes a 52-46 lead as the capacity Value City Arena crowd erupted.
(With two triples on the night, Diebler moved into a tie for second with Michigan State's Shawn Respert, one back of Big Ten career three-point leader Pete Lisicky of Penn State, with 332.)
Once the Bucks got the crowd and the momentum of the game on their side, they turned to Buford to bring the game home.
After Michigan State had cut it to 53-51, Buford hit consecutive jumpers, the first a trey from the left wing and the second a stop-and-pop jumper from 15 feet to make it 58-51.
Then, that pesky freshman Craft made yet another big defensive play.
With the ball going out of bounds under the Michigan State basket, center Garrick Sherman turned and flung it down the court. Instinctively, Craft sped the length of the floor, grabbed the ball and hit an acrobatic reverse layup plus the foul. Craft completed the three-point play by converting on the free throw.
Furthermore, Craft figured into another pivotal play.
As the Buckeyes led 66-59, Craft had a steal and was fouled by Draymond Green at the other end with 1:42 remaining. Upset with the call, Green acted out and was assessed a technical foul. Next, Craft stepped to the line and hit three of the four shots as OSU took a double-digit lead to close out the game.
The next test for the Buckeyes lies in Mackey Arena as they take on the No. 11 ranked Purdue Boilermakers on the road this coming Sunday.
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