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11/25/2008 9:43 AM
COLUMBUS - Ohio State might want to take heed the next time it looks to schedule a team out of the MAC as the Bowling Green Falcons gave Thad Matta and his Buckeyes about all they could handle on Monday night and a pair of clutch free throws from David Lighty helped the Buckeyes hold on to a slim lead and a 61-57 win.

Associated Press
The Buckeyes had problems all night long with the Falcons.
Jon Diebler led the Buckeyes with 17 points and Evan Turner had 12 in the win while Dallas Lauderdale did a little bit of everything with eight points, seven rebounds and six blocks. They helped make up for a shortage of production from Lighty who was held scoreless in the first half and only had four points on 1-5 shooting from the field.

"Excited to get out with a win tonight," Matta said. "For whatever reason and Bowling Green probably had a lot to do with it… we weren't executing the way we needed to at the beginning. (Play) calls weren't getting to everybody on the floor and we didn't have a really good flow about us."

Ohio State had a lead of 13 points at the 15 minute mark of the second half but watched BG chip into the lead with Brian Moten's 16 points and Darryl Clement's 13 points. The Falcons brought and experienced team into the VCA and the Buckeyes knew that it would be far from a cakewalk going against BG.

"They are an excellent team," Diebler said. "They played extremely hard tonight and one thing about them is they are experienced."

Bowling Green tied the game up at the 6:48 mark with a pair of free throws to knot it up at 46-all and then took the lead with a Nate Miller jumper. Was there any fear for the Buckeyes especially being such a young team?

"I think we had full confidence because we practice so hard," Turner said. "When you practice as hard as we do, you build confidence."

One could say that the Buckeyes gave blood, sweat and tears in the game, or at least two out of the three when Evan Turner had to leave the game with a bloody jersey and came back wearing No. 25 because of having taken a shot to the face. How did the injury occur?

"When we were trapping (David Lighty) hit me with his hand and I don't know what happened," Turner said. "It was my first ever bloody nose and it was kind of gross and cool at the same time (laugh)."

The Buckeyes roared back and took a seven point lead on Lighty's lone jumper of the night but BG would keep pecking away. BG had a chance to tie at the 32 second mark when Joe Jakubowski missed a three pointer. Turner and Lighty each hit big free throws to ice it.

"Coach just told us to keep coming at them," Lighty said. "That's why we wake up at 5 in the morning in the summertime and all the conditioning and all the running that is what that was for."

But coach Matta know that he had to count on Lighty to step up.

"Fortunately (for) Dave the light went on and he did what he is supposed to do," Matta said. "Dave has to come realize there are a lot o f times out there where guys are looking for help and Dave has got to be a guy who can provide that for them."
Lighty joked after the game about having the pressure on him to hit the pair of free throws, especially being only in a one-and-one scenario.

"I missed the first three so I had to make something," Lightly joked. "I just made them at the right time, we needed them. "

Matta gave his team a mixed report card after the game with moments of good followed by moments of bad.

"I think we had some stretches in there where we played pretty good basketball both offensively and defensively," Matta said. "We are not going to hold a team like Bowling Green scoreless and we are not going to score every time down but what we have got to strive for and I think teams across the country are looking for is consistency and having a pretty decent flow to them of what they are trying to get done."

The young Buckeyes know that games like this will mean a lot as the season goes on.

"When you go up against an experienced team it is going to help us a lot in the long run," Diebler said.

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11/25/2008 9:44 AM

Diebler Leads Buckeyes Past Falcons

The Ghost not shooting a three! (AP: T. Gilliam)

Looks like someone is gaining confidence. After scoring 9 points (3/6 treys) in the opener, Jon Diebler led all scorers with 17 points as Ohio State slipped past Bowling Green 61-57 tonight in the Schott.

The sophomore who struggled mightily with stand-on-the-perimeter-and-launch-three-itis last year, looked to drive the ball early and often scoring 6 straight points off penetration (2 FG, 2 FT) to give OSU a 16-8 lead in the early going. Diebler also tallied 5 rebounds and 3 assists in a well rounded performance.

Complimenting Diebler’s effort, Evan Turner added 12 points and 8 boards but showed turnovers are still his achilles heel. He showed poor basketball IQ, especially late in the game turning it over twice in the closing minutes allowing BG to hang around before he and David Lighty each hit a pair of free throws in the final :28 to seal the deal. He’s killing me with those TO’s as he’s clearly the best all around player on this team.

The Buckeyes led 41-30 with 14 minutes to play but found themselves in a dogfight after surrendering a 20-8 BG run resulting in a 50-49 deficit with 5:20 to go. Enter Dallas Lauderdale and the defense.

Lauderdale fueled an 8-0 run over the next two minutes converting a conventional three point play with a dunk and free throw before a Diebler triple while the zone defense held the Falcons to 7 points (3/9 FG) over the final 5 minutes.

It wasn’t a pretty win, but for a young team finding it’s way, I think it’s safe to say plenty more of these tight games are forthcoming.

On the inside, Dallas finished with 8 points, 7 boards and 6 blocks in 30 minutes but BJ Mullens only saw 11 minutes of action producing 2 points and 1 carom. Unfortunately, I still have the same feeling about Mullens as I did after the open practice. He’s nowhere near a ‘project’, but he appears far from comfortable at the offensive end of the floor if matched up against a physical opponent, regardless of height.

Jeremie Simmons also had a rough night hitting just 2/9 shots (6 points) though he did add 5 boards and 3 dimes. Anthony Crater registered just 11 minutes of PT contributing 3 points and 1 assist. I still like this point guard combo but neither dazzled me running the offense against BG’s zone. Both struggled to get penetration and kick out resulting in a lot of standing around by the other perimeter players.

Some other random bits:

  • Wil Buford had another strong performance with 9 points (3/6 FG) and 3 steals in 16 minutes. He also had a sweet steal and lay in that was negated by a phantom charging call. So far, I’m very impressed with how he blends into the offense. He quietly scored 7 of OSU’s 8 points during a 4 minute stretch of the second half in place of Turner after he took a shot to the face.
  • Besides coming to an agreement with Time Warner, the best move the BTN has made is signing Gus Johnson to cover play by play. He’s by far my favorite hoops announcer as he can make even OSU/BG in November exciting. I love his shouts of “puuuure” on deep jumpers. Just an awesome guy to listen to.
  • On the flip, as much as I love Jim Jackson, his color commentary leaves a little to be desired. I was waiting for someone in the production truck to inform him OSU was playing zone after he incorrectly referred to OSU’s man to man defense twice in the first half.
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