Lighty, Cagers Remain Perfect

After struggling on the offensive end for much of the early going, Ohio State's David Lighty broke out of his slump in a big way. The junior forward tied a career high with 21 points as the Buckeyes defeated visiting Jacksonville and remained unbeaten.

David Lighty's mom clearly knows what's going on.

As the junior forward was struggling through the first six games of the season from an offensive standpoint, Lighty cited his mother as a person who advises him that practice makes perfect.

On Wednesday night, it was a resurgent Lighty who helped the Ohio State men's basketball team remain perfect by tying a career-high with 21 points in the Buckeyes' 81-68 victory against Jacksonville.

"The shots were falling for me tonight," Lighty said. "It felt good. I was being more aggressive and attacking the hoop. Making free throws was also a big thing for me. I do know that if I'm not scoring, I can still help my team defensively or in other ways."

Lighty was 7 of 8 from the floor and 5 of 7 from the charity stripe.

He was not the only OSU player to see his offensive game spring to life. Four Buckeyes finished in double figures as sophomore Evan Turner had 17, classmate Jon Diebler and junior Jeremie Simmons added 10 for OSU (7-0).

After spotting the visitors to an early 4-0 lead, the Buckeyes grabbed control early by going on an 18-2 run that was keyed in large part by Jacksonville turnovers. Holding an 18-6 lead at the 12:25 mark of the first half, nine of OSU's points came thanks to Jacksonville miscues.

The Dolphins were not about to go away, however. The Buckeyes opened up an 19-point lead at the 17:08 mark of the second half thanks to a three-pointer by Simmons, who was honored before the game for winning a national championship last year as a junior college player.

That basket made it 56-37 in favor of the home team, but Jacksonville would begin chipping away at the deficit. A 12-2 run made it 58-49 Buckeyes with 12:37 remaining, and five minutes later back-to-back threes from Evan Jefferson got the visitors within two possessions at 67-61 for the first time since the waning minutes of the first half.

The teams would trade baskets and make it a 69-64 contest, but Diebler nailed a three-pointer to push the OSU lead back to three possessions at 72-64 with 4:33 remaining. From there, the Buckeyes would hold on for the victory.

After the game, head coach Thad Matta was not pleased with his team's overall defensive effort.

"For whatever reason, we just were not in the game defensively tonight," he said. "We just lacked tenacity and toughness and were very fortunate to come out on top. We were just lacking intensity. We fouled too much and had trouble in transition. It was like we had one guy playing hard and four others relaxing. We've got to get it corrected for Saturday's game."

As a team, the Buckeyes were 10 for 17 from beyond the arc. Five different Buckeyes canned treys for the first time since the 2008 Postseason NIT championship game against Massachusetts.

Entering the game averaging 4.7 blocks per contest, OSU sophomore center Dallas Lauderdale was saddled with foul trouble and did not swat a shot.

Jacksonville was led by Lehmon Colbert's 14 points.

"We wanted to create havoc with our press and in the first half we did a good job of that," Jacksonville head coach Cliff Warren said. "The pace slowed down in the second half and that didn't favor Jacksonville. I was disappointed that we couldn't get the stops in the half court towards the end to put ourselves into a position to win."

The Buckeyes return to action Dec. 20 against Iona for a noon game.

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