Men's Basketball

Ohio State Postgame: Buckeyes Take Down No. 2 Purdue 73-69, Jake Diebler Talks Win

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio State bounced back from a 62-54 loss at Wisconsin on Tuesday with a 73-69 win at home over No. 2 Purdue on Sunday. Ohio State was led by interim head coach Jake Diebler after Chris Holtmann’s contract was terminated earlier this week.

Ohio State tied the game at 16 halfway through the first 20, took its first lead, a 29-28 lead with 2:51 to play in the first half and led 35-30 at halftime. Ohio State went on a 9-0 run with three 3s from Jamison Battle to take a 50-38 lead in the second half. Purdue tied the game at 65 with 1:17 remaining and Ohio State responded with a jumper from Battle. A steal by Zed Key gave the Buckeyes the ball and Ohio State hit free throws to seal the win and close the game.

Ohio State had 22 points off of Purdue’s 14 turnovers and Key had five steals. The Buckeyes were led by Bruce Thornton, who contributed 22 points.

Diebler, Jamison Battle, and Bruce Thornton and met with the media immediately after the game and discussed the win. Here are the highlights.

Jake Diebler

+ “What a resilient group.” The players came together at a high level and they deserve so much credit. They came together like a true family. They were all embracing each other in the locker room — it was really special.

+ He had a conversation with Chris Holtmann a few nights ago and that conversation gave him a lot of confidence and peace with stepping into this role.

+ He told the players to play how they practiced. There was a great sense of urgency and pace.

+ On the difference today in closing the game, Diebler said they have talked about having leads down the stretch and how they need to stay aggressive and keep swinging in them.

+ Good players stepped up in this game and the collective mentality was that they were going to stay aggressive no matter what. He was proud of their effort, especially defensively.

+ He was nervous for this game but the advice was to stay true to himself. Diebler was emotional after the game on the court and in the locker room.

+ On the rotation, Diebler said the youth of this team is well documented but they believe in the bench and the players in the locker room. They wanted players to exhaust themselves on the court and then have to sub them out.

+ They have to continue to practice with this sense of urgency.

+ He kept their pregame routine very similar. The time went by a lot faster this time, though. He wishes he had another hour.

Jamison Battle

+ On coming together after a tough week, Battle said the biggest thing was for them to grow closer through the adversity, stay present, and not let the past impact them. They went out there and had fun and cut loose.

+ On his three 3s in 61 seconds, Battle said he had a new opportunity in the second half and his teammates trusted him and found him in those spots. Some of it was a heat check too.

+ On Jake Diebler at head coach, Battle said he recruited him and brought him to Ohio State. Diebler brought the intensity, they changed up the pace and urgency in practice to replicate who he is as a coach and he talked a lot about subs and going in and out of the game to be able to maintain intensity and pace.

Bruce Thornton 

+ This past week was one of the hardest weeks in college basketball he has had. But he told the players “we are all we got right now.” It didn’t matter who they played, they wanted to show Ohio State basketball.

+ It felt great to see the teammates, coaching staff, and Buckeye Nation come together. His adrenaline is rushing right now.

+ On Zed Key’s defense, Thornton said he has never seen him play the way he did today but they knew what he was capable of doing. “He showed it tonight. He can’t BS us no more because we know what he can do.”

+ They couldn’t give Zach Edey any easy looks. He’s a big body so they had to make sure to have multiple efforts to swipe the ball from him. Edey was going to get some just because of his size but it was a team effort defensively to stop him.

+ On the message from Jake Diebler, Thornton said he wanted to make sure he was good mentally. They experienced first hand that everyday they have to get better. It was a weird time but they found a way. All of their frustration, attitude, and swagger they showed today  — and they got the win.

Photo via Ohio State Dept. of Athletics. 

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