COLUMBUS, Ohio - In five games the Buckeyes have now had four different players lead the team in scoring and on Friday evening it was David Lighty's turn with 21 points and six rebounds en route to a 66-45 win over the RedHawks of Miami (Ohio). DeShaun Thomas had 15 of his own and Jared Sullinger threw in 12.
This is the second game in a row where the Buckeye offense has been held in the mid-60s when it comes to scoring after starting off the season as a much more explosive team but Thad Matta and his team knew there was a chance that this would be a lower scoring game with Miami's affinity for taking the ball deep into the shot clock and limit the amount of chances that a team will get.
Ohio State was held to 28 points in the first half but even with the lowest output of the season for a half the team still shot 48-percent while holding Miami to 16 points on 23-percent shooting. The Buckeyes did a good job of keeping players like Nick Winbush and Antonio Ballard quiet in the game while working through their own shooting woes at times.
"They are a team that likes to slow the tempo down so I don't think our offense was on as high of cylinders as we usually are," Lighty said.
19 of Lighty's 21 points came in the second half as the Ohio State captain shot 6-8 in the second 20-minute frame of the game. Thomas led the Buckeyes with nine points in the first half before the Buckeyes were able to find the looks that they wanted.
"I was bricking everything in the first half so if you put a couple up then eventually they will go in and I was hitting them and my teammates were finding me so it was a good thing for us," Lighty said.
Overall the team shot 52-percent on the night, a night that saw eight Buckeyes score and only Lighty attempting double digit shot attempts in a contest that had only one player on the court more than 30 minutes. Matta was aware of the RedHawks were going to try and do and felt that his team did a good job with what it was given at first.
"Today was a unique game because of the limited possessions," Matta said. "Miami came in and was going to try and bring the shot clock into play and I thought our guys defensively did a very good job of keeping our composure and our defensive numbers were good. Offensively we just didn't have a ton of possessions."
Another key to the game was the play of Sullinger who the Buckeyes found in tandem with Lighty as the pair accounted for all 20 of Ohio State's points during a seven minute stretch (Sullinger for eight, Lighty for 12).
"I think we are a better team when we get post touches inside especially when you have a player like Jared so I think any time we can get it in there I think we are a better basketball team playing inside out instead of outside in," point guard Aaron Craft said. "I definitely think it is a priority for all of us but whoever has the ball."
The Buckeyes will now go on the road Tuesday back to the Sunshine state to take on Florida State as part of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge and try and help propel the league to a second consecutive (and ever) win in that challenge. The Buckeyes have no idea who might lead them in scoring in that game but that suits Matta just fine as long as the outcomes keep coming up as W's.
"Who is going to lead us in scoring, I don't know," Matta said. "And hopefully that is something that we can continue to build on. I think that the fact we have had a lot of different guy step up... Jon Diebler goes from scoring 20 one game to three the next... we will try and take what they will give us and hopefully those guys can complete it."