‘3bler’ on verge of setting Big Ten 3-point mark

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COLUMBUS, OHIO (AP) - Sometime during Sunday’s big game at No. 11 Purdue, Ohio State shooting guard Jon Diebler will catch a pass, set his feet, coil and release a shot at the top of his jump.

Just like he has maybe 100,000 times going on a million, in gyms all over the country.

Only this time it just may be the 3-pointer that sets the Big Ten record.

The gangly 6-foot-6 senior enters the No. 2 Buckeyes’ game vs. the Boilermakers (21-5, 10-3 Big Ten) with 331 3-pointers made, one behind Penn State’s Pete Lisicky (1994-98).

No wonder some call him “3bler.”

But it’s not as if Diebler ever imagined he’d be the one to do it _ or that it was ever in his sights.

“It will be kind of cool if it does happen,” he said. “I’m sure it will be something I look back on when I’m older, but right now it’s not something I think about. I’m just worried about winning games. That’s our team’s mentality.”

The Buckeyes (25-1, 12-1) are having a banner season. A huge reason is Diebler, a marksman from the perimeter who keeps teams from surrounding post player Jared Sullinger or blanketing fellow shooters William Buford and David Lighty.

Diebler is the Buckeyes’ fourth-leading scorer at 11.1 points a game while playing almost 35 minutes a night. He’s shooting 48 percent from the field _ and 48 percent on 3-pointers. He ranks fifth in the nation in accuracy behind the arc. That, in itself, is remarkable considering that in his freshman season he shot only 29 percent on 3-pointers.

Coach Thad Matta was asked about Diebler setting the conference mark.

“When he does,” he said, laughing, “I’ll probably say it could have happened a year ago if he had shot well as a freshman.”

Then he turned serious.

“No, I’ve always said this about Jon. When you coach players and you see how hard they work _ even when they’re working hard and you’re not watching _ you want those guys to be rewarded. If and when that (record) happens, I’ll be as excited as ever because I know what he’s done, what he’s put in to get that.”

The son of a high school coach, Diebler and his two older brothers and his parents traveled to several outposts in small towns around Ohio before arriving in Upper Sandusky, a farming town of just over 6,000 nestled in the flat but fertile lands about an hour due north of Columbus.

It was there that Jon became a legend. He totaled 3,208 career points to set the all-time Ohio schoolboy record, breaking the mark of 2,958 set by another former Ohio State standout, Jay Burson. His Rams went unbeaten and won the state championship one year and he captured the Ohio Associated Press Mr. Basketball award in 2007.

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