Men's Basketball

Ohio State Men’s Basketball Postgame: Jake Diebler, Buckeyes Talk 88-83 Win vs Cornell in First Round of NIT

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio State head coach Jake Diebler met with the media following the Buckeyes’ 88-83 win against Cornell in the first round of the National Invitational Tournament on Tuesday night.

It was Diebler’s first win since being officially named head coach. Jamison Battle and Roddy Gayle Jr. also answered questions from reporters.

Here are the highlights of what was said. You can also watch the full press conferences below.

Jake Diebler

+ Cornell is a really good team. They play a unique style and he is proud of how his team made adjustments.

+ On Bruce Thornton not playing the final 10 minutes, Diebler said he sprained his ankle and will be evaluated as soon as possible.

+ On the back door cuts, Diebler said they needed to change their help in the gaps. That was a big adjustment that was something they practiced a lot in their day of preparation for Cornell. The players did a good job adjusting.

+ On the rebounding success, Diebler said it was an area they needed to be aggressive in. Felix Okpara set the tone with the offensive rebounds. “Rebounding was going to be really important and we felt like it was an advantage for us. Our guys stepped up.”

+ The players wanted to pursue this postseason and they played hard. It was a unique game and they were locked in and committed.

+ Practice was the most normal part of his day on Monday. It was a special day.

+ The players need to stay aggressive and play with confidence.

+ This game felt different for him initially, being the head coach officially, but once the game started, it was going back to doing what he loves and it all felt the same.

Jamison Battle

+ They got diced up off of the back door cuts. They had one day with short preparation and knew it would be a tough assignment. That killed them but they found other ways to win and affect the game.

+ On what the last couple of days were like, Battle said it was an exciting time but there was a lot of unknown on Sunday. They came together and said they wanted to come out and compete and they made the decision to be here. They feel like they can end up on top.

+ Jake Diebler is all about family. “He wants to build something and I think that’s what he’s going to do. It’s exciting to see.” Diebler has stayed the same throughout the whole process.

+ On the game-winning three-pointer, Battle said it was satisfying and it was a pretty big shot. Against Illinois he had those opportunities but they didn’t go in.

+ A bunch of players making clutch plays in the final minute was not surprising because of the players they have on this team. It says a lot about who they are. They want to have those moments and make those plays. It was awesome to see so many players step up, but it was not surprising.

Roddy Gayle Jr. 

+ The uncertainty of everything at the end of the season was hard. They came together and felt it was important to play. “I’m not ready for this group… this family to be over.”

+ On dominating on the offensive rebounds, Gayle Jr. said they knew they needed to set the tone there. They tried to exploit that and it was one of their goals coming in. “Those extra chances were the difference in the game.”

+ The tough games they went through earlier in the season prepared them for a game like this and helped them come out and be successful in this game.

Photo via Ohio State Dept. of Athletics.