Ten years ago, Jake Diebler was a video coordinator for the Ohio State University. Five years ago, Diebler became an assistant coach for the Ohio State basketball team.

Today, Diebler won his first basketball game as interim head coach of the Ohio State basketball team — just four sleeps after assuming his position — upsetting No. 2 Purdue 73-69.

Against a tall opponent — let’s face it, all 7’4 of Zach Edey — Ohio State protected Value City Arena with everything that it could on Sunday. Initially down 0-8, the hot hands of Bruce Thornton guided the Buckeyes to knot the score at 16, before leading the Boilermakers by five at the break (35-30). Thornton led the team with 22 field goals made on the night.

Bruce Thornton (2) and Jamison Battle (10) celebrating as Ohio State men's basketball beat Purdue, 73-69.Bruce Thornton (2) and Jamison Battle (10) celebrating as Ohio State men’s basketball beat Purdue, 73-69.

Although the Buckeyes couldn’t touch the second-ranked rebounding team in the nation, they struck with something in their own arsenal: accuracy. Ohio State shot 48 percent from the field as a team, on top of having nine of its 11 players hit shots. Its depth speaks for itself — 26 bench points, compared to Purdue’s four — while shooting 7-21 from the behind the arc to Purdue’s three three-pointers made.

That three-point shooting came in handy when the Boilermakers began to creep up on Ohio State’s lead in the second. Jamison Battle found himself dancing around the stripe to score three unanswered triples, granting Ohio State its largest lead of the night 50-38.

Purdue relied on the paint and foul shots to strip its deficit to a 65-65 tie with less than two minutes to play, and even tried to cut the commotion with an Edey dunk with 16 seconds remaining. 

However, four made free throws by Thornton and Battle were all the Buckeyes needed to usher in the court storm. And this moment:

Diebler was put in the driver’s seat on Valentine’s Day, following the firing of seven-year head coach Chris Holtmann. The day before, the Buckeyes had tallied yet another loss to No. 20 Wisconsin in a 62-54 margin, as they continued their struggle with breaking even with their record this season, fresh from a 5-game losing streak earlier this year. They now stand at 15-11 overall this year, and a mere 5-10 in Big Ten play.

But who knows? Maybe a fresh pair of eyes were just what the Buckeyes needed.

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