Three Threes in 61 Seconds Snap Ohio State Forward Jamison Battle Out of Cold Streak, Catalyze Big Second Half Against Purdue

By Andy Anders on February 20, 2024 at 8:35 am
Jamison Battle celebrating with Dale Bonner
Alex Martin/Journal and Courier/USA TODAY Network

Elite shooters don’t take long to get hot. For Jamison Battle, it took 61 seconds.

Battle entered Ohio State’s Sunday showdown with then-No. 2 Purdue with only two makes in his last 13 attempts from three. He scored a season-low three points at Wisconsin in the Buckeyes’ previous contest. He scored zero points in the first half against the Boilermakers after picking up three fouls in 10 minutes.

In one minute and one extra tick of the clock, all that was forgotten.

“It’s just staying present in the moment, not worrying about what’s happened in the past,” Battle said after the game. “You pick up three fouls, you sit in the first half, it’s all right. You come out in the second half, it’s a new opportunity.”

It started with an offensive rebound from Evan Mahaffey and a kick to Battle at the top of the key with 15:21 to play in the game. Battle knocked down the second-chance opportunity, pushing Ohio State’s lead at that time to 44-38.

Mahaffey created another chance for Battle, this time in transition, by saving a ball from bouncing out of bounds after he’d swiped it from star Purdue center Zach Edey. A pass from Battle to Dale Bonner was returned as the sharpshooter looped to the left wing, and he splashed another look to make it 47-38.

Zed Key came up with a swipe next. Again, the ball found its way to Battle in transition, and one last left-wing triple hit nothing but net to cap a personal 9-0 run for the former Minnesota forward. He almost extended it to 12-0 on the following possession, too, just missing a circus three from the right wing.

“My teammates have the utmost trust in me, I have the utmost confidence in myself shooting and they showed that today finding me on those three threes,” Battle said. “Then you get a little heat-check too.”

All of that sparked a 19-point second-half performance that snapped one of Ohio State’s most important scorers out of a recent cold streak, helping the Buckeyes to a massive 73-69 upset win over the Boilermakers.

“In the end, it’s just consistently going out there and playing basketball and consistently trying to find the best looks for you,” Battle said. “Trying to be at your best when your best is required.”

“My teammates have the utmost trust in me, I have the utmost confidence in myself shooting and they showed that today finding me on those three threes.”– Jamison Battle on what enabled him to hit three threes in 61 seconds

Battle still has a big lead in the Big Ten in three-point shooting percentage, cashing in on 43.6% of his looks from behind the arc. Iowa’s Payton Sandfort is second at 37.4%, and Sandfort is the only player in the conference to make more three-pointers than Battle this season, with 70 to Battle’s 68. Battle is second on Ohio State in scoring with 13.9 points per game.

That’s why it was a great sign for the Buckeyes to see him return to form early in the second half against Purdue. There were important buckets to be made in the game’s waning moments for Battle as well.

He cashed in what ultimately proved to be the game-winner with 1:19 to play. When Purdue’s Lance Jones brought his team back from a dozen down to tie the game at 65 with a triple, Battle took a pass on the right wing, dribbled to the free-throw line and rose to nail a contested mid-range jumper over the Boilermakers' Fletcher Loyer.

Then Key turned Edey over once more and Battle drew a foul on the floor, going to the charity stripe with a one-and-one opportunity to put Ohio State ahead by two scores. He nailed both free throws to make it 69-65.

Four more combined free throws from Battle and Bruce Thornton ensured Purdue didn’t have any opportunities to come back.

“Jamison Battle was clutch down the stretch, Bruce Thornton hitting free throws,” interim head coach Jake Diebler said. “I wish I could say it was some miraculous coaching at that point, but good players stepped up. And I think the biggest thing was just the collective mentality of our family out there, that we were gonna stay aggressive the whole game no matter what.”

Battle felt that the mentality he referenced earlier, staying in the moment and not worrying about the past, was important for Ohio State as a whole down the stretch of the game. The Buckeyes have failed to close out their fair share of close contests this season, part of why they’ve racked up 11 losses.

“That’s something I’ve talked about this whole year,” Battle said. “Not letting the past affect us or not letting what’s in the future affect us, just staying present, in the moment and focusing on each day. We had three really good days of prep this week and it showed on the court. We just went out there, had fun and just cut loose.”

Still, Battle wanted to point back to the plays Mahaffey made that set up the first two of his three threes in 61 seconds. He feels it speaks to a larger understanding and mentality Ohio State is trying to cultivate as a team.

“I think that’s what it is for all of us, is understanding that no matter who gets the credit, everyone’s going to put in the work,” Battle said. “Everyone’s going to put in the time. Everyone’s going to do the little things and if we do that, stay consistent with that, stay true to that and make sure that we’re always connected, there’s a lot of things that we can accomplish even though there’s X amount of games left in the season.”

The next accomplishment Ohio State is chasing: Snapping its school record-tying 16-game road losing streak at Minnesota on Thursday. It’ll be Battle’s second meeting with his former team after he scored a season-high 25 points in an 84-74 Buckeye win over the Golden Gophers on Dec. 3.

View 11 Comments