Ohio State Basketball: Buckeyes Drop Third Straight Big Ten Game, Fall to 12-5

Ohio State guard Roddy Gayle Jr., center, is trapped by Michigan forward Will Tschetter, left, and Michigan guard Nimari Burnett, right, in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Ann Arbor, Mich., Monday, Jan. 15, 2024.

The Ohio State basketball team drops its third straight Big Ten game 71-65 to Michigan. The annual January slide is in full swing.

January has been known as the downfall of Ohio State’s season for the past six years. The Buckeyes started the 2022 campaign 9-3 with the only losses coming to North Carolina, Duke, and San Diego State.

After the win against Northwestern on January 1st, they went on to lose 14 of 15 games. This season is shaping up to be just the same. Team 125 has seemed lost and confused the past two weeks its biggest stretch of the season.

Ohio State came into this game riding a two game Big Ten conference losing streak, looking to get back on track. The Buckeyes have recently fallen to the “Last 4 In” category in ESPN’s Joe Lunardi’s most recent Bracketology. So this game against the Team Up North would possibly re-secure a spot in the tournament.


The game against Michigan was seen as a “Must Win” game by insiders and bracketologists. Ohio State came out strong with Thornton and Mahaffey combining for the first eight points of the game to go up 8-5 early. The Wolverines then went on a 14-5 run from the twelve-minute mark to the seven-minute mark.

Roddy Gayle put the deficit to two points after a pair of free throws, which was then followed by eight consecutive points by Michigan. Ohio State never showed signs of giving up as they were able to keep the game close until a Dug McDaniel three-pointer put the Wolverines up by nine going into halftime.

Coming out of halftime, Evan Mahaffey was able to sink a pair of jump shots to cut the game to five points. A Jamison Battle slam shifted the momentum towards the Buckeyes as right after he was able to swish a step-back three to make it a four-point game.

Michigan went on a 12-4 run to push the lead to 10 with eleven minutes remaining in the game. Ohio State finally woke up and went on a 16-0 run to go up by four at the eight-minute mark. The Wolverines were able to go on a 17-4 run to finish the final eight minutes and secure a massive win to potentially put Michigan back on track.


This game did not go how Chris Holtmann planned, but the game must be the least of his worries right now. The locker room is not playing together at the moment. Shots are not going in and the defense has been atrocious. This next stretch of Penn State, at Nebraska, at Northwestern, and against No. 14 Illinois is the most important of Holtmann’s coaching career.

The mindset at the start of Big Ten play was to win enough games to secure a tournament spot. Now the mindset has to be win and win big to get the committee’s notice as the best win is against No. 17 Alabama on a neutral floor. Ohio State is 0-3 on the road, 0-3 in Quad 2 games, and now suffer a Quad 3 loss against Michigan while only winning one Quad 1 game against Alabama.

Changes in the locker room are needed as soon as possible or the Buckeyes will struggle once again and possibly miss the tournament. Ohio State returns to action on January 20th at noon eastern against Penn State on BTN.

Photo Credit: Paul Sancya, Associated Press