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March 1, 2011
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.; March 1, 2011 - The sixth-largest crowd in Bryce Jordan Center history saw No. 1 Ohio State (28-2; 15-2 Big Ten) get a record 10-of-12 three-point shooting performance from Jon Diebler as the Buckeyes posted an 82-61 victory over Penn State (15-13; 8-9 Big Ten) on "Senior Night."
A crowd of 15,403, the largest in 11 years, was bolstered by 6,072 students, by far the largest student turnout in Penn State basketball history, as Nittany Lion fans turned out early and in white to honor five Penn State seniors. Fifth-year seniors David Jackson (Farrell, Pa.) and Andrew Jones (Philadelphia, Pa.) and fourth-year seniors Talor Battle (Albany, N.Y.), Jeff Brooks (Louisville, Ky.) and Steve Kirkpatrick (Carlisle, Pa.) were honored in a pre-game ceremony.
The Lions, playing with the emotion of "Senior Night" and energized by the largest crowd since 15,420 turned out in 2000 to see the Lions play Indiana, struggled from the outset hitting 2-of-10 to start the game and never got a footing as Ohio State hit 55 percent for the game and 13-of-24 (54%) from three. Diebler downed a Bryce Jordan Center record 10 of those threes, hitting 10-straight from the arc after missing his first and last attempts on the night to finish with a career high 30 points in the best three-point shooting performance ever by a Penn State opponent. William Buford was nearly as hot as he hit 9-of-14 from the floor for 21 points and Jared Sullinger added a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds for a Buckeye team that posted its 15-straight victory in the series with Penn State and clinched at least a share of the Big Ten title.
"We picked a bad night to play really poorly," Penn State coach Ed DeChellis said. "Ohio State shot the heck out of the basketball, they made every shot and we could never get in rhythm. The first half we had some open shots and we couldn't make them, and then the flood-gates opened up on us."
Battle led the Nittany Lions in scoring, with 18 points on 7-14 shooting, and in rebounding with five as Ohio State dominated the glass, 31-22. Jackson, who became Penn State's all-time leader in games played on the night with his 130th appearance, added 12 and Jones logged 10 for a Lion team that hit just 27 percent to find itself down 33-18 at the half before warming up to 66 percent to score 43 points in the second 20 minutes. The Lions could never stop the Buckeye offense however as Ohio State hit 60 percent itself in the second half and was never threatened after opening up a double-digit lead 11 minutes into the game.
"We just didn't have it tonight," Battle said. "It sucks, because the atmosphere was great. I think I heard that we had one of the largest crowds. I thank those guys, but I'm thoroughly disappointed."
Diebler's 30 points marked the highest point total by any opponent against the Nittany Lions on the season and his 10 threes surpassed his own school record.
Penn State forced two turnovers on the Buckeyes first three possessions and three overall in the first six minutes, but couldn't get baskets to fall. After Jones scored the first points of the game, Ohio State jumped to a 7-2 lead following four points from Buford and a Diebler three and never trailed again. Threes from Battle and Jackson had the Lions down just one, 9-8, but Ohio State ran off nine-straight points to build an 18-8 lead with 9:02 to play in the half as Penn State suffered a nearly six-minute scoring drought.
Brooks knocked down a jumper with 8:35 remaining in the half to end the drought and to cut the lead to 18-10, but Ohio State continued their hot shooting as Diebler knocked down three more threes in the half. A Buford break-away dunk made it 22-10 and the Buckeyes pushed the lead to 15 after a Diebler three and another Buford jumper. Buford hit again from behind the arc to build the Buckeyes biggest lead of the half, 30-14, with 2:51 left.
Penn State went 6-22 from the field and 2-9 from behind the arc in the first half as Ohio State went to the locker room up 33-18 behind. Diebler was 5-of-6 from behind the arc for 15 points while Buford added 10 in the first half on 5-8 shooting.
The Buckeyes came out of the gates smoking in the second half as they hit nine of their first 12 shots to increase the deficit to 24 after Diebler knocked down his sixth and seventh threes of the game, forcing the Nittany Lions to take a time out with 14:43 remaining.
Penn State could never recover from the deficit as Diebler and the Buckeyes extended their lead to as many as 26 before walking off with their No. 1 ranking intact.
Penn State will look to finish the regular season strong when they travel to Minnesota to take on the Golden Gophers on Sunday, March 6 in a 1 p.m. (ET) tip on the Big Ten Network.
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