COLUMBUS, Ohio — David Lighty scored 19 of his 21 points in the second half of his 100th Ohio State victory, leading the third-ranked Buckeyes past Miami of Ohio 66-45 on Friday night.
The fifth-year senior, who missed most of the 2008-09 season after breaking his foot, hit all four of his 3-point shots after the break to spur a lethargic Ohio State (5-0) offense.
Freshmen Deshaun Thomas and Jared Sullinger added 15 and 12 points, respectively.
The RedHawks (2-4) ran off 13 points in a row at the end the first half and the start of the second, drawing as close as 28-23 before Lighty led a charge to push the Buckeyes to a 25-point lead.
Orlando Williams had 13 points and Julian Mavunga 11 for Miami (Ohio), which lost its third in a row.
What at one time appeared to be a rout became a close game when the RedHawks suddenly started making shots and the Buckeyes went cold late in the first half. By the time they were done, they had pulled to 28-23.
William Buford, back after missing the last game with back spasms, then scored on a drive before Lighty went end-to-end with a steal. Lighty twice tossed entry passes into Sullinger for easy lay-ins, making it 36-23 and effectively stemming the threat.
Every time that Miami made a mini-run at the Buckeyes, Lighty seemed to counter with a 3.
For most of the game, Miami was content to take time off the clock, run its motion offense and squeeze off a shot in the closing seconds of each possession.
Neither team played well in the first half.
The Buckeyes led 28-16 but were ahead 22-5 at one point before the RedHawks scored 11 of the last 17 points.
Miami couldn’t make a shot at the outset, missing its first 10 shots from the field before Julian Mavunga’s 3-pointer at the 12:08 mark cut Ohio State’s lead to 9-5.
For their part, the Buckeyes missed their first four attempts from the field and ended the half by missing their final three with a turnover thrown in.
About the only player who had the range was Thomas, who came off the bench to hit 3 of 4 shots from the field for nine points.
After the RedHawks scored first on a pair of free throws by Quinten Rollins at the 16:04 mark, the Buckeyes held them scoreless for almost 4 minutes while running off the next nine points. A Dallas Lauderdale dunk, a Diebler 3, a dunk by Sullinger and Buford’s unimpeded drive made it 9-2 and gave the Buckeyes the lead for good.
At halftime, Ohio State’s 24 senior football players were introduced to a standing ovation. The eighth-ranked Buckeyes play archrival Michigan at Ohio Stadium.
Coach Jim Tressel then spoke briefly about the seniors before telling the crowd, “And we need you to scream and yell all afternoon because this is ‘The Game!'”