Diebler nets 17 points as Ohio State improves to 2-0
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — David Lighty shooting wasn’t impeccable, but his timing sure was.
Lighty hit two clinching foul shots with 6.4 seconds left to lead Ohio State past Bowling Green 61-57 on Monday night.
“I missed my first three (free throws), so I had to make something,” he said. “I made them at the right time.”
The Buckeyes (2-0) led by as many as 13 points with just under 15 minutes left but Bowling Green (3-2) roared back to take a 48-46 lead on Nate Miller’s half-hook at the 6:05 mark.
After the teams traded the lead, the Buckeyes grabbed it for good on Dallas Lauderdale’s dunk leading to a three-point play with 5:24 remaining.
Brian Moten’s 3-pointer with 11 seconds left cut the lead to 59-57 before Lighty added the two late free throws.
Lighty, the Buckeyes’ most experienced player although only a junior, hit only 1 of 5 shots from the field and was 2 of 5 on free throws. But all of his points came when most needed by the Buckeyes in the final 3 1/2 minutes.
Moten had 16 points and Darryl Clements 13 for the Falcons.
“You shoot only 39 percent from the floor, hit only 5 of 19 3-pointers and make only 6 of 10 free throws and yet you still have a chance to win, that means you’re playing defense,” Bowling Green coach Louis Orr said. “That’s what our DNA is about.”
Jon Diebler led Ohio State with 17 points with Evan Turner adding 12.
Turner started the game wearing his usual No. 21, but had to switch to No. 25 after sustaining a bloody nose that stained his jersey.
“I don’t know what it looks like,” he said of his nose. “But that’s my first-ever bloody nose. It was kind of gross and cool at the same time.”
The Buckeyes led 30-24 at the half, but the teams were almost evenly balanced.
Ohio State rode an early 10-0 run to overcome an 8-5 deficit — Diebler scoring the final six points in the spurt. The Falcons went scoreless for almost 4 1/2 minutes, missing five shots in a row from the field bookended by turnovers.
William Buford, Ohio’s reigning Mr. Basketball, hit a 10-foot jumper in traffic to put the Buckeyes ahead 38-25 with 16:40 left.
But the Falcons fought back with a 21-8 rally to tie the game on Clements’ two free throws with 6:50 remaining. After Miller’s shot gave them a short-lived lead, Lauderdale lost a pass and then regained possession, dunking and hitting the accompanying free throw for a 52-50 lead.
“They came back and we expected them to battle back. It wasn’t going to be easy, but we had full confidence just because we practice so hard. When you practice as hard as we do, you build confidence,” Turner said. “You guys might have been nervous, but I don’t think we were.”
Diebler then hit a 3-pointer from the left wing before Lighty rebounded a missed 3 and powered it back in to make it 57-50 with 3:20 left.
“BG is an excellent team. They played extremely hard tonight and the one thing about them is they’re experienced,” said Diebler. “When we go up against an experienced team like that, it’s going to help us a lot in the long run. But we were very confident in the last three minutes that we knew what to do, who to get the ball to, and we had guys finishing.”
The Buckeyes turned the ball over on successive possessions, and the Falcons scored after each one, first on Clements’ pull-up jumper and then on Joe Jakubowski’s driving layup with 1:21 left that cut the lead to 57-54.
After an Ohio State miss late in the shot clock, Jakubowski had a good look on a 3 with 32 seconds left that missed.
First Turner and then Lighty each hit two free throws in the waning seconds to preserve the lead.
“For whatever reason — and Bowling Green probably had a lot to do with it — our minds weren’t (in it) and we weren’t executing the way we needed to at the beginning,” Ohio State coach Thad Matta said. “We did some things, we got that 13-point lead, and then it was right around there that … all of a sudden we kind of lose our minds and lose our intensity. Fortunately for us we were able to make some big plays down the stretch and come out and beat a very good basketball team.”