Battle scores 23 second-half points for Ohio State in 90-78 win over Iowa in Big Ten Tournament

Thu, Mar 14, 2024

Battle scores 23 second-half points for Ohio State in 90-78 win over Iowa in Big Ten Tournament

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Jamison Battle scored all 23 of his points in the second half and Ohio State never trailed in beating Iowa 90-78 in the Big Ten Tournament on Thursday.

The 10th-seeded Buckeyes (20-12) will play second-seeded and No. 13-ranked Illinois in the quarterfinals on Friday. Illinois won the regular-season matchup 87-75 on Jan. 30. That was before Jake Diebler took over as interim head coach. Under Diebler, the Buckeyes have won six of seven games, including the last five.

Diebler took over for Chris Holtmann, who was fired by Ohio State in mid-February and was hired by DePaul as its coach earlier Thursday.

"I'm so happy for Coach Holman," Diebler said on the court in a postgame broadcast interview. "So happy for him and he's gonna do great. He's a great coach. But listen, our guys have come together. They've battled. We've raised our toughness and our togetherness and that's been the biggest difference."

Bruce Thornton added 14 points and nine assists for the Buckeyes. Scotty Middleton scored 11 of his 13 points in the first half when Ohio State led 43-38. Roddy Gayle Jr. scored 10 points. Battle had nine rebounds. The Buckeyes shot 52% and made 11 of 20 3-point tries.

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Payton Sandfort led the seventh-seeded Hawkeyes (18-14) with 19 points, Tony Perkins, who had seven assists, and Ben Krikke each scored 13 points, and Owen Freeman finished with 10 points and nine rebounds.

Ohio State never trailed with four straight points from Thornton giving the Buckeyes their largest lead of 12 with just over six minutes to go. Iowa didn't get closer than eight thereafter.

Middleton hit three from behind the arc as the Buckeyes made 8-of-11 3-point tries and shot 61% from the field in the first half. Iowa wasn't far behind with five 3s and 54% shooting but fell off to 33% in the second half.

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