Nine days before Tuesday night's game against Penn State, Jon Diebler hit two three-pointers against Purdue to become the Big Ten's career leader from behind the arc. That was just the beginning.
The senior guard was clearly not content with just the career record; he had the best single-game performance of his career Tuesday night. Diebler had one of the greatest three-point shooting nights in NCAA history, hitting on 10 of 12 three-point attempts. The ten made three-pointers set a Buckeye single game record and tied the Big Ten record for most in a game.
What is even more amazing is that Diebler scored 30 points without even attempting a free throw or a two-point shot. He hit his first three-pointer, missed one, and then hit nine in a row before missing his final attempt. I have been trying for the last hour to find out if this is definitely true, but I am pretty sure that no one has ever scored thirty or more in a game without shooting anything but threes.
Diebler's career night almost overshadowed the fact that Ohio State clinched at least a share of the Big Ten title. It is the Buckeye's fourth title since 2006. With a win or a Purdue loss this weekend, Ohio State will win the title outright.
It was senior night at Bryce Jordan Center and the crowd was ready for an upset. Penn State's close loss at Ohio State earlier in the season gave them the confidence that they could hang with the NCAA's #1 team. Most people who had been following the teams throughout the Big Ten season were expecting a close game.
What actually happened was what everyone was expecting during their previous meeting: a blowout. The #1 ranked team in the nation shut down Penn State in the first half and built up a big lead that was never seriously threatened.
In the first half, PSU hung around for a while. David Jackson hit a three about five minutes into the half to cut the Ohio State lead to one point at 9-8. After that basket, the Buckeyes outscored the home team 24-10 before halftime.
Ohio State's tough defense held the Nittany Lions to only 18 points in the first half, their lowest output for a half this season. Before heading into the locker room, Penn State coach Ed DeChellis said, "If you would have told me they only have 33 points at half, I'd feel pretty good. We just gotta score some baskets."
Ohio State came out in the second half and scored the first five points of the half on the same possession. Jared Sullinger was pushed in the back as David Lighty's long two was in the air. Ohio State got the ball back and William Buford connected on a three.
Penn State managed to get their offense somewhat on track in the second half, but Ohio State didn't let up. The margin stayed around twenty points for most of the second half. By the time the final buzzer sounded, the Buckeyes had themselves a Big Ten title and 82-61 victory.
Ohio State +
Jon Diebler - In addition to the records that I mentioned above, he also broke the record for threes made in a game at the Bryce Jordan Center. And he also had five assists (which won't break any records, but is pretty solid).
Defense - A good way to quiet a large, upset-minded crowd is to come out and shut down the home team. Ohio State never let Penn State get into much of an offensive rhythm, which kept the crowd quiet. The Buckeyes won't lose too many games in which they hold the opponent to 18 points in a half.
William Buford - While not as impressive as 10 three-pointers, Buford's 21 points were more than anyone not named Diebler.
Rebounding - Ohio State won the rebounding battle 31-22.
Jared Sullinger - He didn't have to score tonight, as Diebler and Buford took care of that. Sullinger did manage to pull down 10 boards and got a lot of fouls called on PSU by being in good rebounding position.
Ohio State -
Jared Sullinger after getting hit on the wrist - Sullinger uses his big body and arms to move other players and seems to get away with a lot of contact. He also tends to overreact many times when he is the recipient of the contact. Tonight this worked to his advantage on many plays where he reacted to contact on rebounds and got some fouls called on Penn State.
Early in the second half, Jeff Brooks swiped the ball from Sullinger and appeared to hit him on the wrist pretty hard. Sullinger immediately went down to the ground and acted like he had just been hit by a car. I'm sure that getting hit on the wrist like that hurts a lot, but it would help Sullinger's reputation if he could act a little tougher in that situation. He wasn't hurt enough to even come out of the game, so it couldn't have been too bad. Some people might say that this a little harsh, considering Sullinger is just a kid. Those people are probably right.
Jon Diebler - Missed two three-pointers. Unacceptable.
Penn State +
Crowd - It was nice to see a big crowd at a Penn State game. With the way Penn State has been playing at home this season, they deserved to have a good crowd for Senior Night.
Tim Frazier - His 6 turnovers will also put him in the - section, but he took a charge against Sullinger in the second half when Ohio State had a 3-on-1 break.
Talor Battle - He had an off-shooting night in Columbus, but tonight he managed to shoot 50% and score 18 points against Ohio State's tough defense.
Injuries - No one on Penn State was seriously injured.
Penn State -
Jeff Brooks - He had a great game against Ohio State the first time around, but he was off tonight. He only managed 6 points on 13 shots.
Tim Frazier - As mentioned above, 6 turnovers is pretty bad.
Perimeter defense - An opposing player tied the Big Ten record for most threes in a game.
First half offense - PSU scored 18 points in the first half. To beat the #1 ranked team in the country, Penn State was going to have to play solid for 40 minutes. They dug themselves a hole in the first half with their poor shooting and never recovered.
Penn State travels to The Barn in Minnesota to try to get back to .500 in conference play. That game is Sunday at 1:00 ET on the Big Ten Network.
Ohio State looks to finish off a great season with an outright Big Ten championship on Sunday. They play at home against Wisconsin at 4:00 ET on CBS.