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OSU whips Badgers inside and out

March 7, 2011
Ed Puskas

COLUMBUS - How hot is Jon Diebler right now? He's shooting 3-pointers as if he's running a layup drill.

The Ohio State Buckeyes hope he stays this hot for the rest of March.

Diebler made seven 3-pointers and scored 27 points as Ohio State avenged a bitter loss at Wisconsin by crushing the Badgers, 93-65, in its regular-season finale on Sunday.

Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan, reacting to accusations that a Badgers fan spit on Ohio State's Jared Sullinger after that game in Madison a month ago, responded with, "We won the game. Deal with it."

Consider it done.

And in record fashion.

Diebler missed the Buckeyes' first 3-point shot of the game and Ohio State didn't miss again from beyond the arc the rest of the game. The Buckeyes made an NCAA-record 14 consecutive 3-pointers and finished 14-of-15 for an NCAA-record 93.3 percent.

"Jon apologized for missing that first one," Ohio State coach Thad Matta said.

Diebler, a senior from Upper Sandusky, hasn't missed much lately. After matching the Big Ten Conference record with 10 3- pointers against Penn State State on Tuesday, Diebler was 7-of-8 from long range against Wisconsin. He is 17-of-20 the last two games.

"He is on fire," Ryan said.

Diebler wasn't alone.

The Buckeyes (29-2, 16-2 Big Ten) were 32-of-47 (68.1 percent) for the game. They were incredibly consistent, going 17-of- 25 (68 percent) in the first half in building a 47-32 halftime lead. After the break, Ohio State was 15-of-22 (68.2 percent).

"I don't know," Diebler said when asked to explain his hot streak. "I have no idea. The guys are are doing a great job moving the ball and a great job setting screens for me."

Sullinger, who told CBS analyst Gus Johnson before the game that he wanted to beat the Badgers (23-7, 13-5) by 50 points, dominated inside and finished with 22 points and eight rebounds.

The Buckeyes went to Sullinger early and he responded with three layups and a dunk in the first five minutes, 44 seconds.

"They got us inside early, so you squeeze a little and they go outside," Ryan said. "That's the inside-outside game."

Sullinger, a freshman from Columbus Northland, downplayed the spitting incident, which he mentioned in a Twitter post after the Feb. 12 game. In fact, when asked about it Sunday, Sullinger said he didn't recall the incident. His motivation?

Avenging that 71-67 defeat.

"That was my first loss in college, and I didn't take that lightly," Sullinger said. "Yeah, I wanted to beat them by plenty."

Sullinger wasn't alone, either.

The outright Big Ten champions didn't let up at either end of the court. The Buckeyes moved the ball crisply, which led to great looks for the sizzling Diebler, as well as fellow guards William Buford (18 points, three 3-pointers) and David

Lighty (13 points, two 3-pointers). Point guard Aaron Craft worked the ball inside to Sullinger to make sure Ohio State's

offense wasn't one-dimensional, and the post prodigy used his wide body to create space and finish layups from the paint.

Craft was the chief instigator on defense. When the teams played in Madison, Wisconsin's Jordan Taylor scored 21 of his 27

points in the second half and added seven assists and four rebounds as Wisconsin rallied from a 15-point deficit to stun

Ohio State.

This time, Craft took the Badgers' point guard out of the game. Taylor was just 2-of-9 from the floor and finished with

eight points and four assists.

"Aaron did just a great job," Matta said. "He studied so much film to get ready. ... He was a pitbull today, as he always


The difference this time, Matta said, was the Buckeyes' defensive help.

"We just did it better today," he said. "We made a few adjustments here and there, but overall we just did things better

than we did the first time we played. We were more active and more energetic and our rotations were better."

But it was the Buckeyes' sizzling shooting that amazed and confounded Ryan and the Badgers most.

"Our best day (shooting 3-pointers) was 11-of-17 and we thought we hit the jackpot," Ryan said. "That's 33 points on 17

shots. When you're 14-of-15, I don't that happens very much. Even their guys who sat the bench all game came in at the end

and hit 3-pointers. What are you going to do?"

Ryan and the Badgers will just have to deal with it.



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