Bruce Thornton Back to Practicing With Ohio State After Ankle Sprain, Scotty Middleton Still With Family

By Andy Anders on March 22, 2024 at 3:06 pm
Bruce Thornton

Ohio State's star point guard is expected to be back for the second round of the NIT after spraining his ankle in the first round.

Jake Diebler said that Bruce Thornton is back practicing with Ohio State and that he "anticipates" the Buckeyes' leading scorer will be available against Virginia Tech on Saturday.

"Bruce was able to practice some (Thursday)," Diebler said on Friday. "We’re anticipating him being available."

The same can not be said for freshman wing Scotty Middleton, who remains away from the team while tending to a family matter. 

“Scotty’s currently still with his family, and our thoughts and prayers are with him,” Diebler said. “There’s no real issues or concerns long term."

Thornton leads the team in not just scoring, but also assists, picking up 15.9 points and 4.6 dimes per contest. He's added 1.2 steals per game on the defensive end of the floor.

Middleton's been Ohio State's top wing off the bench, playing 15.3 minutes per game with 4.4 points, 1.4 rebounds and 0.7 assists per contest.

In Middleton's absence, the Buckeyes will likely hand more minutes to starting small forward Evan Mahaffey and freshman forward Devin Royal as bigger options on the wing. Shooting guard Bowen Hardman could also be a candidate for playing time, though he only played two minutes in Ohio State's win over Cornell on Tuesday.

Thornton sprained his ankle and did not play the final 10 minutes in that same game, but it now sounds as though he's likely to play against the Hokies. If he does ultimately sit out, bench guards Dale Bonner and Taison Chatman would be in line for more playing time.

The Buckeyes tip off against Virginia Tech in the second round of the NIT in Value City Arena at 7 p.m. on Saturday. The game will be streamed by ESPN+.

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