While junior guard Jon Diebler was struggling mightily from the floor, going scoreless in the first half, Lighty picked up the slack by going 3 for 4 from behind the three-point arc. That tied his career-high total for one game, and he canned another in the second half to set a new personal best.
When you only have six guys seeing significant minutes and no more than seven guys likely to play on a given night, a scoreless performance from a player who goes 40 minutes is a death mark. This time, Lighty was able to bail out the Buckeyes and make up for Diebler's rough performance.
Without those points, Ohio State does not win this game, plain and simple. Then in the second half Evan Turner showed why he's among the best at his craft by scoring 22 of his game-high 27 points and Diebler's tough shooting night was forgotten. Lighty went 1 for 4 in the final stanza, but it mattered little.
For the Cleveland native to contribute when he did, he deserves plenty of praise.
I think … that along those lines, this was a step forward for Diebler.
I don't care who you are or what you are going, being unsuccessful at any task – particularly one you've proven yourself to be adept at – six consecutive times is tough to get past. Until he hit what proved to be the game's most crucial basket, Diebler had gone 0 for 6 from the floor and missed all five of his three-point attempts.
After the game, he said he had all the confidence in the world that his seventh and final attempt would go in. Any athlete would say that, but Diebler pointed out that he would likely have not felt that way two years ago when he was shooting 28.9 percent from three with the weight of the Buckeye Nation's expectations weighing on his every move.
He is going to have his off nights as all shooters do, but the good ones are the ones who can put that aside and still come up with a key basket when called upon. Diebler did just that against the Nittany Lions.
I think … that senior center Kyle Madsen again contributed some key minutes off the bench for the Buckeyes. Junior center Dallas Lauderdale continues to be more consistent with his play, but Madsen is getting more and more comfortable with his role in relief of the shot-blocking threat.
Six points is not worth throwing a parade for, but Madsen's scoring output in the first half – coupled with Lighty's shooting – helped pick up the slack for Diebler's struggles. Plus, the senior is showing touch from a deeper range and has proven he can knock them down from near the arc.
The six points marked a season high for Madsen and came one short of his career high set last season against Alcorn State.
I think … that it's more evident with each game that sophomore guard William Buford is figuring out how to put it all together on a daily basis. In this one, he was a perfect 4 for 4 in the first half and went just 1 for 6 in the final 20 minutes but never stopped contributing.
I particularly like the fact that he was successful on all eight of his attempts from the charity stripe. This is a team that has not been very graceful from the strip, so a night like Buford's helps give a much-needed sense of security when things get tight down the stretch.
I even saw him take a turn at guarding PSU's Talor Battle. He was not particularly effective, but no one was on this night.