Ohio State tops No. 2 Purdue for interim head coach Jake Diebler's first game | Zagsblog
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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Tuesday / April 16.
  • Ohio State tops No. 2 Purdue for interim head coach Jake Diebler’s first game

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    Just four days after Ohio State let go of head coach Chris Holtmann, the Buckeyes gained a signature win over No. 2 Purdue, defeating the Boilermakers 73-69 with interim head coach Jake Diebler leading the charge.

    Diebler is now 1-0 as a head coach with a top-5 win.

    “Everyone’s going to kind of feel the weight, the emotions that this week was,” Ohio State assistant coach Mike Netti said on postgame radio. “But you have to respond. You have to get back up and keep fighting through things… for those guys to really just fight, fight, fight and fight. We are so proud of each other. So proud.”

    Sophomore guard Bruce Thornton and senior forward Jamison Battle led the way for Ohio State with 22 and 19 points, respectively. They were the only two Buckeyes in double-figures. The story of this game was the turnover battle, as Purdue turned it over 14 times, which led to 22 Ohio State points. The Buckeyes had just six turnovers for the game.

    “We’ve talked about family for three days,” Diebler said. “We’ve talked about how important that is. I felt like we came together. We were a true family. We played like it. We coached like it. So, I think those two things — our staff and the leadership of our players — were critical.”

    Ohio State is still sitting well below the NCAA Tournament bubble, but this win could be a springboard for the 15-11 Buckeyes to make a run. Ohio State would likely need to win pretty much all of its remaining games and a couple in the Big 10 tournament to receive an at-large bid. Even then, the Buckeyes could still miss the tournament.

    Purdue, who was the top overall seed in the NCAA’s top 16 tournament seed reveal, has now lost its third game of the season and sits at 22-3. The Boilermakers would have to crumble quite a bit down the stretch to fall from the No. 1-seed line.

    This loss also looms large for Purdue because Illinois now sits just 1.5 games back of the Boilermakers in the Big 10 standings.

    Next up for Ohio State is a road contest against Minnesota on Feb. 22. Purdue will return back home next to face Rutgers on Feb. 22.

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