for this game

Ohio State holds off Hayward, Butler

Dec 13, 2008 - 8:13 PM COLUMBUS, Ohio (Ticker) -- Todd Lighty helped Ohio State remain undefeated on Saturday.

Lighty scored 10 points, but more importantly made a key defensive play in the final seconds as the 21st-ranked Buckeyes held on for a 54-51 victory over Butler.

Lighty was all over Bulldog Gordon Hayward on the freshman's failed desperation 3-pointer with two seconds remaining, allowing Ohio State (6-0) escape with the win and remain perfect on the season.

"We didn't get a great look because of the limited time we had and how hard they play the zone," Butler coach Brad Stevens said. "I was proud we even got a shot off. It's not a coincidence teams are shooting the way they are against Ohio State. They're a tough team."

Hayward scored 25 points on 8-of-15 shooting, including a 7-of-11 from the arc.

"They did a good job of sucking us in and getting it out to (Hayward) in the corners," Ohio State coach Thad Matta said. "Once he started hitting them he didn't miss."

Lighty scored seven of his points in the first half as Ohio State built a 29-23 lead at the break.

The Buckeyes held a 59-46 lead after a pair of free throws by Dallas Lauderdale with 15:39 remaining.

Hayward helped bring the Bulldogs (8-1) all the way back by sandwiching a pair of 3-pointers around a layup by Matt Howard to knot the score at 51-51 with 3:55 left.

Evan Turner, who led Ohio State with 14 points, countered with a jumper 40 seconds later and Lauderdale added another free throw with just over a minute left to put the Buckeyes ahead 54-51.

"A lot of shots today just weren't going in and sometimes during the season that happens," Turner said. "We are fortunate our defense was good enough today to win with so few shots dropping in. Butler took advantage of some weak spots on the court and they are a good team on the road."

Butler had two chances to tie the game in the final minute, but both of Hayward's 3-pointers were off the mark.

"We are very pleased with the victory," Matta said. "I told our guys we beat an NCAA Tournament team today, but we still need to make strides. There are always areas where we can improve."

The Bulldogs also got 13 points from Shelvin Mack and 11 from Howard.

Butler was plagued by turnovers throughout, finishing with 19.

"You have to give credit where credit is due to on the turnovers," Stevens said. "Even the unforced turnovers were as a result of their pressure defense. It is tough playing against them. I don't want to take anything away from them. They forced them."