Ohio State's Chris Holtmann 'was concerned about resuming' game after jumbotron piece fell

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – When a metallic-looking chunk plummeted to the court at Assembly Hall, Chris Holtmann wanted some answers.

Moments earlier, Ohio State had allowed Indiana to blow the game wide open with a 15-0 run in the final four minutes of the first half. It gave the Hoosiers a 46-31 lead at the half, but as the teams made their way to the court to get the second half underway a piece of the four-screen jumbotron hovering over center court fell to the floor.

The piece, which Holtmann said he was told weighed 10-15 pounds, landed about seven feet from freshman Brice Sensabaugh. As the reality of what had just happened set in, the Ohio State coach had a request for the officials.

“I asked if I had the authority to say let’s do the second half at another time,” Holtmann said, standing outside the visitors’ locker room. “They said, we can certainly have that conversation. (Indiana coach) Mike (Woodson) and I talked about it, and they reassured me again. I said, I’m not sure I’m comfortable. I’d like to consider doing the second half – I don’t think I got that specific, but I said what assurances can you give us?”

What happened next was a delay of five minutes that was announced over the loudspeakers as a malfunction of the scoreboard. Both teams returned to their respective bench areas. When one player briefly stood underneath the jumbotron, he was immediately instructed to move to a safe distance.

Holtmann spoke with the officials. So did Woodson. At one point, they all discussed the situation.

“I told the officials I was concerned about resuming,” Holtmann said. “I wanted the game to resume. I’m not saying, ‘Hey, down 16, we want to call the game.’ I wanted the game to resume. I was concerned about resuming it without them going up and taking a look at it or pulling it down and taking a look at it and determining that it was fully functional and that there were going to be no other issues with it.”

Holtmann said the Indiana gameday staff “felt like it was fine,” play resumed, Indiana immediately added to its lead on the first possession of the second half and went on to a 16-point win. No further debris fell from the jumbotron, and Woodson did not address the incident in his postgame press conference that was held concurrently with Holtmann’s.

After the game, dozens of onlookers stood on the court, peering upward as the machinery holding the jumbotron in place.

“It would’ve significantly injured Brice had it connected,” Holtmann said. “Thank God it didn’t. Yeah, I was concerned about resuming play. Obviously I wanted the game to resume. I wasn’t sure I wanted the game to resume under these circumstances.

“Obviously it ended up fine, but that would’ve been a significant thing and thank God that it did not injure Brice or any other player. We can thank God for that, because it would have.”

The Indiana women's basketball team is scheduled to host Rutgers on Sunday at 2 p.m.



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This article originally appeared on The Columbus Dispatch: Falling jumbotron piece concerned Ohio State's Chris Holtmann