Ohio State Basketball: Buckeyes Win Second Straight, Outlast Cornhuskers 78-69 Behind Jamison Battle’s 32 Points

Ohio State guard Scotty Middleton (0) reacts after hitting a basket against Wisconsin during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2024, in Columbus, Ohio. Jamison Battle is at left. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

Ohio State Basketball came out on fire, defeating Nebraska 78-69 at home. The Buckeyes have inched their way back into the NCAA Tournament picture after wins against No. 2 Purdue and on the road over Michigan State in the past two weeks.

Interim Head Coach Jake Diebler has done a fantastic job taking over since Ohio State parted ways with Chris Holtmann after the Wisconsin game. Nebraska is a potential tournament team as they are currently in the field of play going into March. Grabbing a win against the Cornhuskers would give the Buckeyes their fourth quad-one victory, and third within the Jake Diebler era.

Ohio State has struggled with these games in the past. Seemingly everything was riding on a Thursday night in front of a packed Value City Arena. Bruce Thornton was out due to a severe Migraine, which means Dale Bonner, who won the Michigan State game, was given a chance to start.

The game started with Senior forward Jamison Battle outscoring Nebraska 11-8 in the first three minutes of the contest. Nebraska was able to lock down Battle for a brief stretch as they picked up steam to take a comfortable lead going into the under-eight TV timeout. Roddy Gayle was able to keep Ohio State in the game with two pairs of free throws that followed two Nebraska-made baskets.

Freshman Scotty Middleton hit a corner three but was followed by a Keisei Tominaga three to keep the Nebraska lead at seven. Gayle knocked down three more free throws before another Middleton made three which was then followed by back-to-back layups for Jamison Battle. Battle, who finished the game with a career-high 32 points hit a pair of free throws to put the Buckeyes up by two going into halftime.

The Buckeyes started hot in the second half as well. Roddy Gayle and Felix Okpara connected with a layup each and tacked on a free throw before freshman phenom Devin Royal scored his first points of the game with a short jumper. Royal once again hit a short jumper, which set up a Battle layup and was followed by another Scotty Middleton three, putting his total at 9 points for the game.

Nebraska made a comeback to put the game within a possession with ten minutes left before Jamison Battle scored five straight points to put the Buckeyes back up by seven. The Huskers would not give up as they would go on another run to put the game back within two. Ohio State would wake up and go on a 10-0 run backed behind two Devin Royal free throws, a Roddy Gayle layup, and five points by Jamison Battle. Roddy Gayle would sink a late-game free throw to win the game for the Buckeyes 78-69.

This game was a program-changing win, which proved that the two wins against the best teams in the conference were not flops and that Ohio State should be in serious contention for an NCAA Tournament spot.  No Bruce Thornton, no problem – Jamison Battle had the best game of his career as he finished with 32 points and was a perfect 10/10 on free throws.

Ohio State’s next two games are winnable. If the Buckeyes finish the regular season 19-12 and a 9-11 in-conference, the Big Ten Tournament would be a great opportunity to secure a First Four game in Dayton. Michigan comes to Columbus on Sunday for the second round of “The Game” this season.