An inside look at the numbers behind Monday’s top performances:
1. Jon Diebler set a school record with 10 3-pointers in Ohio State’s 82-61 win against Penn State. He’d previously shared the record of nine with Jay Burson. This also tied the Big Ten record set by Michigan State’s Chris Hill in 2003. Diebler was 10-for-12 from the field with every attempt coming from 3-point range. After missing his first, he hit 10 straight. It’s the most points by a player who scored only with 3s since Portland’s Jared Stohl also had 30 last season. Stohl had a pair of two-point attempts though. The last Div. I player to score 30 without attempting a two-pointer or a free throw? Denver’s Erik Benzel against Southern Utah in 2004.
2. Kentucky entered Tuesday with an 0-6 record in games decided by five points or fewer. That’s an alarming statistic, but one that didn’t figure to come into play on Tuesday when the Wildcats led Vanderbilt by 13 with less than 13 minutes to play. That’s when Vanderbilt went on an 18-4 run to take the lead with 4:25 remaining. But for the first time this season, Kentucky captured a game decided by five points or fewer, winning 68-66. The Wildcats went 7-for-8 from the line in the final two minutes to hold off the Commodores.
3. Playing its last ever Big 12 home game, Nebraska kept its tournament hopes alive with a 69-58 win against Missouri. Lance Jeter led the way with another solid all-around performance, finishing with 16 points, seven assists and seven rebounds. If Jeter has at least six rebounds and four assists Saturday against Colorado, he will average five assists and five rebounds during conference play. In that case, Jeter would join some elite company. In Big 12 history, only two players have averaged 5+ assists and 5+ rebounds in a season during conference play: Jamaal Tinsley (2000) and Kirk Hinrich (2002).
4. It might have been Senior Night in Athens, but a sophomore once again stole the show for Ohio. D.J. Cooper had 25 points, nine assists and eight rebounds in an 80-55 win against Akron. Just a 30.4 3-point shooter going into the game, Cooper went 7-for-10 from beyond the arc. In the process, he broke his own school record for assists in a season. Cooper is averaging 7.5 apg (second in the nation) and 5.1 rpg. Only six other players have done that in the past 15 seasons. If he keeps it up, Cooper would join Marist’s Jared Jordan (2007) as the only player to do so while also averaging more than 15 ppg.
5. The upset of the night came in the Big South tournament where 7-seed High Point upset 2-seed Liberty 66-60. The story in this was Shay Shine. He scored 20 of his 26 points in the second half, as the Panthers overcame a nine-point deficit. During one stretch, Shine accounted for 10 straight Panthers’ points. In the middle of February, Liberty was 13-2 in conference and seemed to be the only legitimate choice to knock off Coastal Carolina. Tuesday marked Liberty’s fifth straight loss.