What we learned after Ohio State basketball’s win over Nebraska

The late season Ohio State men’s basketball surge continued on Thursday evening, as the Buckeyes defeated Nebraska at home 78-69.

Without starting point guard Bruce Thornton, who missed the game with a migraine, it very much seemed like the Buckeyes wouldn’t stand much of a chance against the Cornhuskers.

Their matchup in January was a rout, but Ohio State exacted revenge on its home court. Interim head coach Jake Diebler improved his short tenure record to 3-1, each of the wins coming against team that should make the NCAA Tournament.

Find out below what we learned after Ohio State defeated Nebraska and improved its record to 17-12, and 7-11 in the Big Ten.

Jamison Battle made up for lost time

What we learned

Battle missed the Michigan State game with a bad ankle, but the Buckeyes found a way to prevail. You wouldn’t have known he was nursing an injury against the Huskers, as the transfer exploded for 32-points on the night. Although he didn’t shoot that well from three, 4-of-12, he did shoot 50% from the field and made all 10 of his free throws. Battle put this team on his back tonight.

Ohio State missed Bruce Thornton’s ball handling ability

What we learned

The sophomore point guard was missed, not really his scoring, but the way he controls the offense. The Buckeyes turned the ball over 13 times as a team, as Dale Bonner, his replacement in the starting lineup, had two, while Roddy Gayle Jr. had four. Typically it’s hard to win with so many giveaways, but Ohio State made it work.

Devin Royal continues his ascension

What we learned

Following scoring 14-points against the Spartans, while going perfect from the field, Royal added 13 points and 5 rebounds against Nebraska. He did miss a few shots, going 4-of-6, but did make all five of his free throws. At this point, it’s safe to say that Chris Holtmann misused the freshman.

Coffee is for closers and Ohio State had it’s full

What we learned

A stark contrast from the Holtmann era has been the Buckeyes ability to close out quarters and games. Ohio State trailed 35-30 with under four minutes, but went on a 9-2 run to close out the first half. It was more of the same outcome in the final 20 minutes, as the Buckeyes held onto a 69-67 lead with under four minutes again. They’d finish the game exactly how they did the first, a 9-2 spurt. It’s great to see this team not faltering at the end of halves.

Ohio State has left the door open to make the NCAA Tournament

What we learned

As I mentioned earlier this week, Ohio State has an outside chance to make the NCAA Tournament. A lot has to go its way to make it, but winning three of-the-last four, with two inferior opponents remaining on the schedule has given the Buckeyes a glimmer of hope. They’d still need to get a few wins in the Big Ten Tournament to make the field, but the door is slowly opening for Ohio State to sneak in.

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Story originally appeared on Buckeye Wire