Men's Basketball

Ohio State Men’s Basketball Postgame: Jake Diebler, Players Talk 81-73 Win vs Virginia Tech in Second Round of NIT

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Following the Buckeyes’ 81-73 win against Virginia Tech in the second round of the NIT on Saturday night, Ohio State head coach Jake Diebler met with the media. Buckeye players Jamison Battle and Felix Okpara also answered questions from reporters.

Here are the highlights of what was said immediately postgame.

Jake Diebler

+ Roddy Gayle Jr. wants to be coached hard and he can make adjustments in-game without showing it. He has an impressive feel for the game. Diebler is consistently reminding him to be aggressive because good things happen when he is aggressive.

+ They lean on their maturity and collective toughness when there are a lot of fouls in games and it’s choppy. They need to move on quickly and stay aggressive. The players have embraced that.

+ On Jamison Battle at the free throw line, Diebler said his ability to get fouled… he has grown in that tremendously. “You feel like the ball is going in every time he’s there and it helps.” They can design plays around getting him to the line and he’s a matchup problem for teams that they have been able to take advantage of.

+ Come Tuesday night there will not be that many college teams playing basketball. They wanted to be in the NCAA Tournament but they have earned the right to be one of the few teams still playing the next few days. It’s a competitive group and they want to win a trophy.

Jamison Battle 

+ The free-throw line is just repetition. He had confidence in himself because of his reps. The free throws made the difference today. The last game he missed three and that was uncharacteristic for him, so he wanted to be locked in and focused. “You have to make free throws.” He goes through the same routine and just takes a deep breath before each shot.

+ On the vibe of the team and the Elite-8 of the NIT, Battle said they are taking at it day by day and they are looking at it as an opportunity to keep going. This team is never going to be the same and he doesn’t want to take that for granted, especially with this being his fifth year. “This is one of the most connected teams I have ever been around.”

+ If he’s not scoring he takes it personally and finds other ways to impact the game and that’s what he did early on in the game when the shots weren’t falling.

+ Buckeye Nation was awesome and it was obvious that the players fed off of that energy. “It was special.”

Felix Okpara

+ They want to keep the family going for as long a they can. Each game they play it could be their last and they want to keep this going.

+ On breaking the blocked shots record at Ohio State, Okpara said he really wasn’t thinking about it but he wanted to play his part defensively and that’s what he does to help his teammates.

+ On his impact on the game, Okpara said offensively his team has been needing him more and he has to trust his work when he gets his touches.

Photo via Ohio State Dept. of Athletics.

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