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Ohio State Jon Diebler was firing on all cylinders early and never relented as he led his Buckeyes to an 82-61 win against Penn State on Tuesday night at the Bryce Jordan Center.
The senior tallied 30 points on 10-12 shooting from 3-point territory to sink the Nittany Lions on their senior night. William Buford added 21 points in the victory and freshman sensation Jared Sullinger earned another double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds in the game.
The Buckeyes raced out to a double-digit lead early thanks to 26% shooting from Penn State in the first half, and though the Lions managed to bring their percentage all the way up to 49% by game's end, Ohio State, which maxed out at 60% shooting at one point in the second half en route to a lead of as many as 26, refused to concede ground and led comfortably throughout.
In their final regular season games in Happy Valley, Penn State's seniors were its big contributors. Talor Battle led the team with 18 points. David Jackson and Andrew Jones also cracked double figures with 12 and 10 points respectively. That was about all that went well for the Lions, though.
In addition to dominating the shooting percentage, but Buckeyes worked Penn State on the glass, 31-22 including 10-8 on the offensive end. Their 54% shooting was tough to out-do, too, as was Diebler's hot shooting from beyond the arc.
The loss leaves Penn State with little room to breath as it looks to sneak into the NCAA Tournament with an at-large berth. With 13 losses against only 15 wins, the safest math says the Lions need to win their next three games to get to 18 victories on the season. At that point, they'll have a reasonable case, and with a struggling Minnesota squad on the slate in the season finale and likely a low seed in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament, the Lions will have a reasonable shot at getting two of those three. A possible matchup in the Big Ten quarterfinals, though, could be an adventure.
Either way, we'll have you covered here at SB Nation Pittsburgh as we close in on college basketball's postseason.
Penn State opens the second half with a miss and a foul by Jeff Brooks on the rebound.
Tim Frazier with possibly the best defensive sequence of the season, poking the ball free on a 4-on-1 then drawing a charge as the Buckeyes continue down the floor. Sensational.
Aaron Craft takes the air right out of the building with a three, though. Ohio State is just killing Penn State from the perimeter.
Jon Dielber hits a three...
Penn State is playing better offensively this half, they just can't stop the Buckeyes to save their lives. Diebler is up to seven 3-pointers and the Buckeyes are up huge, 51-27 as Ed DeChellis calls timeout.
The lead is 22 for the Buckeyes at the 12:29 mark. Assuming things stay like this, this will be out last recap until after the game.
Talor Battle gets a bucket coming out of the timeout to cut the Ohio State lead to 10.
Penn State is allowing a lot of wide open looks for Aaron Craft and Jon Diebler on the outside. The Lions have done a better job of guarding the perimeter in the last couple of games, but a team as good as Ohio State is going to find those looks.
And right on cue, Jon Diebler drills a 3-pointer to give the Buckeyes their largest lead at 13.
Crowd is incensed as Talor Battle is called for a foul trying to strip Jared Sullinger off a rebound. The chorus of boos and profanities is deafening.
William Buford gets into double figures with a jumper and pushes the Ohio State lead to 15.
Ohio State lead is now 16 with a triple from Jon Dielber.
Sullinger just got three offensive rebounds for Ohio State and got to the line. That's his game. Penn State kept him out of that in Columbus, but not so far this evening. That's got to change if Penn State is going to get a comeback.
And that's the half. Penn State trails Ohio State 33-18.
Here are your halftime stats.
Talor Battle leads Penn State in scoring with seven points. No Lion has more than two rebounds.
Jon Diebler leads Ohio State is scoring with 15 points, all off 3-pointers. William Buford has 10. Jared Sullinger has already eclipsed his rebound total from the first go-round, leading the Buckeyes with seven boards.
Ohio State is dominating in almost all statistical team categories. The Bucks own the rebounding margin 19-10, the overall shooting spread 50%-27% and the 3-point shooting category 41%-22%.
Penn State turns the ball over coming out of the break but forces a stop. Andrew Jones is fouled coming back down the court.
Aaron Craft is into the game for Ohio State. He had 19 points in the Buckeyes' win in Columbus back in January.The Nittany Lions definitely don't want him to beat them this time around.
At the under-12 timeout, it's 13-8 Ohio State. Penn State is shooting 18% as I write this. Pretty remarkable the Lions are only down five here.
Jared Sullinger is definitely a man-child in the post. He's got a big butt for lack of a better term and he can really move people around almost at will.
The crowd is growing restless as the Lions continue to throw up bricks.
Billy Oliver will take over the assignment on Sullinger as Andrew Jones goes to the bench with two fouls. Sullinger exposed Oliver one-on-one in Columbus on the game's final possession so we'll see how that goes this time around.
Jeff Brooks ends Penn State's drought, but Sullinger answers at the other end. Buckeyes follow that up with a run out dunk to William Buford to put Ohio State up 22-10 with 7:52 to play. Ed DeChellis calls timeout.
Good evening from the Bryce Jordan Center. The house is packed to the rafters and ready to go here on Senior Night. Talor Battle, Jeff Brooks, David Jackson, Andrew Jones and Steve Kirkpatrick were honored before the game and all start here this evening.
Jeff Brooks has his flak jacket on again after dislocating his shoulder against Illinois.
Penn State opens with some solid defense, forcing two Buckeye turnovers already. The crowd cheers loudly with every stop.
Andrew Jones draws a foul on Penn State's third possession and gets the Lions on the board first, hitting both.
William Buford gets Ohio State in the scoring column with a runner in the lane.
Jon Diebler hits a three and the Buckeyes have their first lead.
Tim Frazier is first off the bench for the Lions, replacing Steve Kirkpatrick. The crowd cheers loudly for Kirkpatrick.
Burford looks good early on, hitting a fade-away jumper over Frazier.
Talor Battle hits Penn State's first field goal, a 3-pointer.
Beautiful assist from Ti Frazier as he finds David Jackson in the corner for three.
Refs are letting them play here. Under 16 timeout whistle comes at 12:54 remaining with Penn State trailing Ohio State 11-8.
This just in from Penn State basketball SID Brian Siegrist:
Penn State students can get a free ride to tonight’s "Senior Night" clash between Penn State (15-12; 8-8 Big Ten) and No. 1 Ohio State (27-2; 14-2 Big Ten) at 9:00 p.m. at the Bryce Jordan Center as the Nittany Lions look to "WhiteOut the Buckeyes."
Penn State seniors Talor Battle, Jeff Brooks, David Jackson, Andrew Jones and Steve Kirkpatrick will be honored 30 minutes prior to tipoff of the Lions first home class with a No. 1 ranked team since facing No. 1 Illinois on Feb. 16, 2005. Fans will receive free T-shirts at the gates (while supplieslast), a shaker on every seat and can redeem their ticket for a free Big Mac at any State College McDonald’s location.
Students can utilize one of three free bus loops made possible by the assistance of Fullington Trailways. Buses will begin service to the Jordan Center from 7:00-9:00 p.m. and will provide return transportation following the game from 11:00-11:45 p.m. The following bus loops will be accessible for students:
1) A loop along CURTIN ROAD will pick-up students in front of REC HALL, continuealong POLLOCK ROAD with pick-up at the HUB before continuing on to the Jordan Center.
2) A loop will offer pick-up on McKEAN ROAD in front of "LOUIE’S" and will continue on to drop off at the Jordan Center.
3) A "GREEK LOOP" will offer pick-ups at the corners of FAIRMOUNT AVE. and LOCUST STREET as well as GARNER STREET and FRATERNITY ROW before continuing on to the Jordan Center.
FOLLOWING THE GAME, the buses will be located in the SHIELDS PARKING LOT to offer return transportation to the original pick-up stops. The student busses will be marked to designate their respective loops and pick-up and drop-off locations.
The No. 1 team in all the land visits Happy Valley on Tuesday evening as Ohio State faces Penn State inside the Bryce Jordan Center at 9:00 P.M. on the Big Ten Network.
It's is Senior Night for the Nittany Lions' five seniors. Talor Battle, Jeff Brooks, Andrew Jones, David Jackson and Steve Kirkpatrick will all play their last regular season game at the BJC, and coach Ed DeChellis said all five, including the walkon Fitzpatrick, will start the game.
Aside from the nostalgia of seeing a senior class with possibly the program's best player of all-time a member of it take the court for the final time, the game also has serious implications for the Lions' postseason aspirations. For a while, it seemed as though Penn State would only need to split its final two games to have a relatively reasonable chance of earning an at-large big in the NCAA Tournament with a couple of wins in Indianapolis.
However, Sunday's opponent, Minnesota, has taken a turn for the worst in recent weeks and it's RPI is taking a nose dive. No longer can the Lions count on getting a top 50 win against the Gophers at the Barn. Ohio State represents Penn State's last chance to make a serious statement to the selection committee.
The Lions, of course, fell just short when the two teams met in Columbus in January. The Lions managed to keep the game close and tied it with about 44 seconds left, but Buckeye star Jared Sullinger scored Ohio State's last six points to put Penn State away.
For more on the game, check out Black Shoe Diaries.