Buckeye Brilliance: Ohio State Shocks No. 2 Purdue in Coach Diebler’s Debut Delight

By Jreasn on Feb 19, 2024 in College Sports News - Comments Off on Buckeye Brilliance: Ohio State Shocks No. 2 Purdue in Coach Diebler’s Debut Delight

In an electrifying debut for interim coach Jake Diebler, Ohio State delivered a stunning upset against No. 2 Purdue, securing a 73-69 victory. The triumph came just a day after the NCAA tournament selection committee pegged Purdue as the early favorite for the No. 1 overall seed in March Madness.

Bruce Thornton led the charge with 22 points, while Jamison Battle contributed 19, guiding Ohio State (15-11, 5-10 Big Ten) to an unexpected victory that left fans in awe.

Diebler, taking over from the recently dismissed Chris Holtmann, became only the second head coach since 1996-97 to defeat an AP top-10 team in their Division I coaching debut, as per ESPN Stats & Information.

Facing a 7½-point underdog status according to ESPN BET, Ohio State fans erupted in celebration as they stormed the court after the final buzzer.

Diebler expressed his admiration for the resilient team, stating, “What a resilient group. We have some great young men in there who came together in a way that I don’t know if any of us fully anticipated.”

The Buckeyes played with unwavering energy from the start, leading 35-30 at halftime and extending their advantage to 12 points early in the second half.

Despite a late surge from Purdue, with Lance Jones tying the score at 65 with a clutch 3-pointer, Ohio State maintained composure. Jamison Battle’s crucial jumper and free throws secured a 69-65 lead, ultimately sealing the game.

Purdue’s Zach Edey, expected to take control down the stretch, finished with an impressive 22 points and 13 rebounds, marking his 58th career double-double. However, the Boilermakers’ 14 turnovers proved costly, allowing Ohio State to capitalize with 22 points.

Reflecting on the emotional week and the sacking of their beloved coach, Purdue coach Matt Painter acknowledged Ohio State’s exceptional performance, stating, “That’s what you don’t know — can you get them down and keep them down… I think they answered that. Their fight was great.”