The Ohio State men’s basketball team secured a decisive victory against Virginia Tech in the second round of the NIT tournament, defending their home court at the Schottenstein Center on Saturday evening, finishing with an 81-73 win.

In a game that started with both teams cautiously sizing each other up, it was the Buckeyes who found their offensive rhythm as the contest progressed. With the score knotted at 19-19, Ohio State surged ahead, outscoring the Hokies 17-7 in the final eight minutes of the first half.

Despite a spirited offensive resurgence from Virginia Tech in the second half, the Buckeyes maintained their composure, fending off the Hokies’ advances and ultimately sealing the victory. Key to their success was their ability to control the ball and capitalize on free throw opportunities down the stretch.

Under the leadership of interim head coach Jake Diebler, who took over the program in the final month of the season, Ohio State has exhibited a newfound resilience, demonstrating an ability to close out games—a stark contrast to their earlier struggles in the second half of matches.

Senior standout Jamison Battle led the charge for the Buckeyes, notching an impressive 21 points. He received ample support from his teammates, with Felix Okpara contributing 13 points and both Bruce Thornton and Dale Bonnor adding 12 points each, with Bonnor making a notable impact off the bench. Roddy Gayle Jr. rounded out the double-digit scorers for Ohio State with 11 points.

With this victory, the Buckeyes advance to the NIT Great Eight, where they await the winner of the Wake Forest versus Georgia matchup. According to the NIT bracket, the upcoming game is scheduled for either Tuesday or Wednesday at the Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis and will mark Ohio State’s first away game of the tournament after a string of home victories at the Schottenstein Center.