COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Ohio State Buckeyes (9-0) have shown the nation that they can score in the paint with players like Jared Sullinger putting up 40 points in a game.
But on Wednesday night against Florida Gulf Coast, the Buckeyes used the hot hand of Jon Diebler, who tied a school record with nine three pointers in a game, en route to a 83-55 win over the Eagles (2-6).
Diebler surpassed his own personal best of eight three pointers against Northwestern. Diebler finished the game shooting 9-14 from behind the arc and all of his makes came in a row after missing his first two attempts.
"I knew I missed my first two of the game and coach told me I wasn't ready to shoot," Diebler said. "He told me to get my feet set and I started doing that and they started to fall for me."
The hot night ties the record that was set by Jay Burson in 1988 against Florida at Madison Square Garden. The nine threes are an arena record.
"We tried to get a couple of more cracks there and see if he could get ten," Ohio State head coach Thad Matta said. "I told him after he is just fortunate that I didn't have a chance to play in this building."
William Buford also set a record with his 17 points against FGCU by eclipsing the 1,000 point mark midway through his junior season. Buford is now the 47th player to reach that plateau.
"Now with Jon, (David Lighty) and Will on the team with 1,000 points it is a heck of an honor to coach those guys," Matta said.
The Eagles made it a point of emphasis to keep Sullinger from beating them down low and for the first half the freshman phenom was on the bench most of the way with two fouls. Sullinger ended up scoring 11 on the night with seven in the second half when FGCU tried to get more help on the perimeter to deal with Diebler's hot shooting night.
"Anyone can score 20 (points) on any given night," Diebler said. "We are very talented offensively. We are very confident in our ability to score with the ball and with our unselfishness... as we get going in more games you are going to see more of that."
The Buckeyes did struggle early in the game despite shooting 42-percent in the first half with numerous shots not going down. That did create some aggravation on the Ohio State bench but the team ended up shooting 49-percent and led the game by as many as 32 points.
Freshman point guard Aaron Craft quietly had another solid game with eight points, seven assists and six rebounds. Senior guard Lighty however has been quiet for the last three games and only scored seven points on Wednesday night on 2-9 shooting. Other players have been able to pick up the slack but the Bucks know that they will need more offensive production out of Lighty when the team gets into the teeth of its schedule. Lighty did however have seven assists of his own and is known as one of the best defenders on the team.
The Buckeyes will be back in action on Saturday afternoon on a nationally televised broadcast against a surprising 7-1 South Carolina team. Diebler and Buford will only have the remainder of Wednesday night to bask in the glory of their individual records before the team gets back to work in preparation for its 2:00 pm (EST) tip at Value City Arena.