The defense that is one of the best in NCAA Division I wasn't so hot last night.
Fortunately for the Ohio State men's basketball team, the offense was.
David Lighty tied his career high with 21 points, and his aggressive play ignited an offense
that set season highs in points and field-goal percentage in an 81-68 victory over Jacksonville in
Value City Arena.
Evan Turner added 17 points and Jon Diebler 14 for the 17th-ranked Buckeyes (7-0), whose 10
three-point baskets also were a season high. Ohio State shot 64.3 percent from the field and 58.8
percent outside the arc.
"In the paper last game you guys said the defense helped us," Turner said. "Well, tonight our
offense helped our bad defense.
"I mean, scoring is always nice -- that's what we attempt to do. But at the same time, one of
these days we're going to have to put it all together and have a good defensive and offensive
The win extended the Buckeyes' winning streak in a Division I-best 12 games. The streak
comprises the final five games of last season, when the Buckeyes won the National Invitation
Tournament, and the first seven this season.
Lehmon Colbert led Jacksonville (2-6) with 14 points. The Dolphins' 68 points equaled the season
high against the Buckeyes, and their 49.1 percent shooting also was a high.
"I was very pleased with our effort and our fight. It was just too little, too late,"
Jacksonville coach Cliff Warren said. "I was disappointed we didn't get the defensive stops down
the stretch to make it an even closer basketball game."
Ohio State led by 19 points with 17 minutes left in the game, but as has been characteristic of
the Buckeyes, they could not handle prosperity.
They scored only five points in the next five-plus minutes, missing 3 of 4 free throws in the
process, as Jacksonville reduced its deficit to eight points with 12 minutes left.
Ohio State moved the lead back up to 12 with 9:05 left but missed an opportunity to increase it
by even more by continuing to miss free throws -- 5 of 9 in a four-minute span.
Jacksonville took advantage, making three three-pointers from the corners in a 9-2 run that
closed its deficit to 69-64 with 5:01 left.
But Jon Diebler stemmed the tide with a three-pointer from the left wing at 4:32, and the
Buckeyes were able to keep the Dolphins at bay the rest of the way.
The Buckeyes made 17 of 27 free throws for the game.
"We weren't into the game defensively the way we needed to be tonight. That was the bottom
line," Ohio State coach Thad Matta said. "We had no tenacity or toughness about us. Fortunately, we
came out on top."
Jacksonville came into the game having played the second-toughest nonconference schedule in
Division I. The only one to face a tougher one
is Butler, which the Buckeyes edged 54-51 Saturday in Value City Arena.
Before playing Ohio State, Jacksonville lost to five teams in the top 100 of the Rating
Percentage Index by an average of six points. The five were Florida State, Georgetown, American,
Baylor and Georgia Tech.
"That has been our story playing teams in the Big Ten, the Big 12, the ACC, the Big East,"
Warren said. "We've gotten down, made good runs, gotten stops."
Diebler made 5 of 10 attempts from the field, including 3 of 7 three-pointers. He is shooting
41.9 percent from outside the arc.
"We knew exactly what play they were going to run for Diebler," Warren said. "We were just late
contesting the shot, and he's going to make open shots."
Ohio State continues its six-game December homestand Saturday against Iona in Value City