Lighty's 21 lead No. 3 Buckeyes Over Miami 66-45
By RUSTY MILLER
AP Sports Writer
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- David Lighty wasn't even aware it was his 100th career victory until someone told him.
Yet he played like he wanted it to stand out from the other 99.
The fifth-year senior scored 19 of his 21 points in the second half to lead third-ranked Ohio State past Miami of Ohio 66-45 on Friday night.
"I was bricking everything in the first half," Lighty said with a laugh. "You put a couple up, eventually they'll go in. I was hitting them and my teammates found me so it was a good thing for us."
He didn't sound as if he would set aside a lot of room in his scrapbook for getting to 100-25 for his career.
"It's an accomplishement," he said. "I've been here for a while, so you're going to get a lot of wins I guess. But you've got to keep going."
Lighty, who missed most of the 2008-09 season after breaking his foot, also had to recover from another broken bone in his foot before this season.
He hit all four of his 3-point shots after the break to spur a lethargic Ohio State (5-0) offense.
Coach Thad Matta was glad Lighty asserted himself.
"It sort of fell in his hands," he said. "We got the ball moving there a little bit and a couple of the actions we ran freed him up and allowed him to go. It was big to see him get going like that."
Freshmen Deshaun Thomas and Jared Sullinger added 15 and 12 points, respectively.
Sullinger, in particular, made a difference when he hit four easy baskets inside after taking lob passes. It helped establish Ohio State's superiority inside.
"Sullinger is one of the smartest kids I've ever seen as a player," said Miami coach Charlie Coles. "He's Adrian Dantley at 6-8. Dantley was 6-4. That's who that kid is. He's not the best freshman in the country -- he's a top 10 player in the country. Right now."
Orlando Williams had 13 points and Julian Mavunga 11 for Miami (2-4), which lost its third in a row.
What at one time appeared to be a rout became a close game when the RedHawks suddenly starting making shots and the Buckeyes went cold late in the first half. By the time they were done, they had pulled to 28-23.
"It was a unique game because of the limited possessions," said Matta, who was an assistant at Miami along with Coles in 1994-95 under Herb Sendek. "Miami came in and was going to try to bring the shot clock into play and I thought our guys defensively did a good job of keeping our composure."
William Buford, back after missing the last game with back spasms, scored on a drive before Lighty went end-to-end with a steal. Lighty twice tossed entry passes into Sullinger for easy lay-ins, making it 36-23 and effectively stemming the threat.
Every time Miami made a mini-run at the Buckeyes, Lighty seemed to counter with a 3.
"It was kind of clear (Lighty was taking over) because after he hit his first one, he kept hitting," Sullinger said. "It was obvious we wanted to go to Dave because he was making plays off the bounce and also off open treys."
Neither team played well in the first half, with Miami going without a field goal for the first 8 minutes and the Buckeyes also misfiring a lot. Ohio State was up 28-16 at the break.
About the only player who had the range was Thomas, who came off the bench to hit 3 of 4 shots from the field for nine points.
The Buckeyes are off to a strong start despite losing the consensus national player of the year, Evan Turner.
"Thad will moan and groan and all he'll do is go 29-4 the next year," Coles said. "I've never seen a team lose great players and be is as good as he is that next year."
At halftime, Ohio State's 24 senior football players were introduced to a standing ovation. The eighth-ranked Buckeyes play archrival Michigan at Ohio Stadium.
Coach Jim Tressel then spoke briefly about the seniors before telling the crowd, "And we need you to scream and yell all afternoon because this is 'The Game!'"
Even Coles, who's never played or coached for the Buckeyes, got caught up in the fervor.
"Go Bucks!" he said as he left the postgame interview room.