CLEVELAND — Ohio State took control of the game so quickly even Cleveland State fans were chanting O-H-I-O during the second half Tuesday night.
The Buckeyes used an early run to build a lead, then another big run to open the second half and cruised to an 80-63 victory over the Vikings at Quicken Loans Arena.
“That’s the way we do it in practice,” Buckeyes 7-foot center Kosta Koufos said. “We came in here with the mind-set that we had to get every rebound and put every shot in the basket.”
Ohio State (7-3) came out gunning as Jamar Butler opened with a 3-pointer and, after Cleveland State’s J’Nathan Bullock tied the score with a three of his own, went on a 14-0 run to take control early. The spurt was fueled by three more Buckeye 3-pointers — two by sophomore forward David Lighty — and allowed Ohio State to weather a couple of mini-runs by Cleveland State (7-4) before the half.
“You’ll notice that they didn’t make many layups,” Vikings coach Gary Waters said. “They hit several short jumpers, a lot of long 3-pointers — they were shooting the ball today.”
Waters used Ohio State freshman guard Jon Diebler as an example. Diebler, who led the nation in scoring as a senior in high school last season, has been stone-cold from the perimeter recently, leading to Buckeyes coach Thad Matta removing him from the starting lineup.
“How many threes has Diebler made in the last eight games?” Waters said. “I’m going to let him shoot every time he touches the ball.
“But he hit them tonight. They all were hitting them tonight.”
Diebler led Ohio State with 17 points, going 6-of-7 from the field and 5-of-6 behind the arc. Joining the offensive onslaught was Koufas with 16 points, Lighty with 15, forward Othello Hunter with 14 and freshman guard Eric Turner with 11.
“That’s what we have to try and do every game the rest of the season,” Lighty said. “We have to get everybody involved and turn in a complete team effort.”
Waters was impressed with his team’s resilience at the end of the first half, as Bullock was pouring in the baskets and forward George Tandy was swatting away Ohio State shots in the paint.
“I say the most important times in a basketball game are the last five minutes of the first half and the first five minutes of the second half,” Waters said. “We played really well down the stretch to close out the first half, but in the second half they seemed to start quickly and were up by 18 before we knew it.
“When you’re out on the floor and you’re playing like a counterpuncher, it’s really difficult to get back into the game.”
Koufos put up the bulk of his stats during the second half. The freshman scored 12 of his points in the second half, and finished with seven rebounds and five blocks.
“We went into the locker room at halftime and just talked about winning the wars,” Koufos said. “Every four minutes is a war — with timeouts and television timeouts and stuff like that. So we said we have to try and win as many of those wars as possible.”
The metaphor was fitting as the Cleveland State players looked as if they had been in a battle after the game.
“I think we were rattled a little bit,” said Bullock, who finished with 16 points and was the only Viking in double figures. “I put a lot of that blame on myself. I should have handled their press better. I let my team down tonight.”
Contact Shaun Bennett at 329-7137 or email@example.com.
OSU 80, CSU 63
OHIO STATE (7-3): Lighty 6-9 0-0 15, Hunter 6-11 1-2 14, Koufos 6-12 3-4 16, Butler 2-5 0-0 6, Turner 4-6 3-3 11, Wallace 0-0 0-0 0, Hill 0-2 0-0 0, Peters 0-0 0-0 0, Madsen 0-0 0-0 0, Diebler 6-7 0-0 17, Titus 0-0 0-0 0, Terwilliger 0-3 1-2 1, Lauderdale 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 30-57 8-11 80.
CLEVELAND STATE (7-4): Tandy 1-6 2-2 4, Bullock 4-10 6-7 16, Moore 3-3 2-2 8, Jackson 2-9 2-2 7, Watson 0-1 0-0 0, Schiele 0-2 0-0 0, Francis 3-7 0-0 6, Davis 3-11 0-0 6, Cole 3-7 0-0 6, Brown 3-5 0-0 6, Weaver 0-0 0-0 0, Fields 2-5 0-0 4. Totals 24-66 12-13 63.
Halftime—Ohio State 35-25. 3-Point Goals—Ohio St. 12-22 (Diebler 5-6, Lighty 3-4, Butler 2-4, Hunter 1-1, Koufos 1-2, Turner 0-2, Terwilliger 0-3), Cleveland St. 3-13 (Bullock 2-4, Jackson 1-3, Cole 0-1, Brown 0-1, Schiele 0-2, Davis 0-2). Fouled Out—None. Rebounds—Ohio St. 35 (Koufos 7), Cleveland St. 36 (Francis 6). Assists—Ohio St. 22 (Lighty 8), Cleveland St. 12 (Cole, Jackson, Tandy 3). Total Fouls—Ohio St. 17, Cleveland St. 15. A—12,715.