No. 1 Ohio State breaks 3s record
Buckeyes shoot 93-percent to break NCAA record
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Jon Diebler lived up to his “3-bler” nickname by hitting 7 of 8 shots behind the arc while scoring 27 points, leading top-ranked Ohio State to an emotion-laden 93-65 victory against No. 10 Wisconsin on Sunday.
Freshman Jared Sullinger added 22 points, William Buford had 18 and David Lighty 13 for the Buckeyes (29-2, 16-2 Big Ten), who got back at the Badgers (23-7, 13-5) for a painful loss a month ago. After that defeat, Sullinger said a fan spit in his face and Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan added, “We won the game. Deal with it.”
Ohio State, which hit 6 of 7 3-point attempts while building a 15-point halftime lead, set a pair of NCAA records in the win. The Buckeyes hit 93.3 percent from 3-point range (14 of 15) and followed a miss on their first attempt with 14 consecutive 3s. The previous mark for consecutive 3-pointers made was 11 by Niagara in 1987.
The Buckeyes had clinched the outright Big Ten title a day earlier thanks to No. 6 Purdue’s 67-65 upset loss at Iowa.
As the game ended, a capacity crowd chanted, “Deal with it. Deal with it.”
Ohio State hit 14 of 15 3-pointers in the game and shot 68 percent from the field.
The Badgers had hung a come-from-behind 71-67 victory on the Buckeyes on Feb. 12.
Fueling the bad blood, Ohio State distributed 1,400 scarlet-colored towels to fans that read “Deal With It” in white lettering. It ended up being a recurring theme as the game progressed.
When Ryan’s picture was flashed on the giant monitors over midcourt before the game, there were loud boos.
Josh Gasser had 17 points, Jon Leuer 16 and Keaton Nankivil 10 for the Badgers. Jordan Taylor, who had scored 21 of his 27 points in the second half of the first meeting, was limited to 8 on 2 of 9 shooting. He was shadowed throughout the game by Ohio State freshman Aaron Craft.
The Badgers—Taylor in particular—had put together a phenomenal shooting exhibition in the second half to overtake the then-unbeaten Buckeyes.
Wisconsin drew as close as 56-45 on a Nankivil 3 with 14:15 left before the Buckeyes put the game on ice. Diebler, again, was at the heart of it, starting things with a 3. He later hit one off another off an inbounds play and then dribbled around a defender and stepped back for yet another to push the lead to 69-48 to cap a 10-0 run midway through the second half.
The rest of the game was a matter of killing time until the Buckeyes could cut down the nets and raise the Big Ten trophy.
Leuer picked up his second foul and went to the bench at the 12-minute mark of the opening half—and perhaps not coincidentally Ohio State went on a roll. Diebler was fouled while making a 3—Gasser grabbed his head as if he were stunned the shot fell—and made the free throw. Next time down the floor, Diebler hit another 3 for a 22-15 lead.
Diebler’s dart from behind the arc off a drop pass from Buford at the 5:40 mark made it 29-20. On the next trip down the court, on an almost identical play, Lighty handed the ball to Buford for a 3 to push the lead into double figures.
Five days after he tied the Big Ten record with 10 3-pointers made in a game, Diebler closed out the half with another bomb from behind the arc in the final seconds of the half to make it 47-32 at the break.
In an eerie coincidence, that was the exact same lead Ohio State held with 13 minutes left in the first meeting at Kohl Center, only to have the Badgers find the range and come back for the upset.
Diebler had 16 points on 4-of-5 shooting behind the arc, but he wasn’t the only Buckeye with a hot hand. Sullinger was 5 of 7 and had 12 points and Buford was 4 of 5 and had nine. They hit 17 of 25 (68 percent) from the field and were 6 of 7 behind the arc (86 percent).
To add to Wisconsin’s woes, the Badgers were limited primarily to a perimeter game and almost never even looked inside. As a result, the Buckeyes shot nine free throws (hitting seven) in the opening 20 minutes while the Badgers did not shoot a free throw.
After seniors Lauderdale, Diebler and Lighty were introduced prior to their final game at Value City Arena, Lighty was recognized for his program-record 123 career wins—“and counting,” the announcer added.
No. 20 Kentucky 64, Tennessee 58 -- Box Score
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Kentucky’s first half against Tennessee may have aged coach John Calipari a bit. His young Wildcats did some maturing of their own in the second half.
No. 20 Kentucky survived poor shooting and weak rebounding before halftime to beat Tennessee 64-58 on Sunday and finish second in the Southeastern Conference’s East Division.
“What I told them was we grew up today,” Calipari said. “For the first time this year we did not play the way we started.”
At the heart of that effort was freshman Brandon Knight, who was held scoreless for the first 19:57 but finished with 19 points.
The victory kept Kentucky from having to play an extra game in the SEC tournament, which starts Thursday. The Wildcats (22-8, 10-6) will get a bye for the first round and ended a four-game road losing skid.
The Volunteers (18-13, 8-8) could have finished second in the SEC East by beating Kentucky, despite a dramatic season overshadowed by the NCAA’s unethical conduct and recruiting violation charges against coach Bruce Pearl. Instead, Tennessee dropped to fifth behind Vanderbilt and Georgia and will face Arkansas in the opening round of the SEC tournament.
“To leave second place on the table and not finish with Kentucky is disappointing. … Getting swept by Kentucky is disappointing,” Pearl said. “I do feel it’s a benchmark I should be judged on, and I obviously have not done my job in our rivalry with Kentucky.”
Knight, who played all 40 minutes, set the tone for a second-half comeback when he took a pass from DeAndre Liggins down the floor to hit a layup just before the halftime buzzer. The basket cut Tennessee’s advantage to 29-22 after the Vols opened the game with a 7-0 run and led by as many as 10 points.
The Wildcats came out of halftime by scoring the first seven points as part of a 20-4 run spanning both halves. Knight hit three 3-pointers in the opening 5 minutes of the half, the second of which tied the score at 29-29 with 18:15 to play.
“Right before we stepped onto the court (after halftime) we all huddled up and said we are really going to put in a 110 (percent) effort and just play our best,” forward Terrence Jones said. “I think we got a good run to tie the game up. We just started moving the ball better, not really worrying about the bumps and just knocking down the open shots.”
The Wildcats led by eight points with 11:23 to go after a fast-break layup by Knight, but three Kentucky fouls in 45 seconds sent Tobias Harris to the line once and Scotty Hopson twice. They hit all six of their free throws to end the Wildcats’ run, and Kenny Hall hit a jumper to give the Vols a 52-51 lead with 5:56 left.
Jones answered with a layup 36 seconds later to retake the lead for Kentucky, which used free throws and a 3 by Darius Miller to hold off the Vols.
Jones had 15 points and 12 rebounds, and Miller also scored 15.
The loss marred Tennessee’s celebration to honor all-time scoring leader Allan Houston. The Vols retired Houston’s No. 20 at halftime and unveiled a banner with his name and number hanging from the rafters of Thompson-Boling Arena.
Kentucky’s early struggles on the boards combined with five missed shots to open the game helped Tennessee jump out to a 7-0 lead. The Vols were able to hit short jumpers and get to the rim, and a dunk by Cameron Tatum gave them a 16-6 lead with 11:07 left in the first half.
Harris scored 18 points for Tennessee, which finished the season with eight home losses for the first time since 1994-95. Hopson, who had averaged 24 points in his last five games against Kentucky, finished with 13, though nine of his points were on free throws.
“Everybody from the coaching staff to the bench—we’ve got to look ourselves in the mirror and just ask ourselves, ‘What have we done and what can we do to get better?”’ Hall said.