Ohio State shocks No. 2 Purdue as Jake Diebler gets win in coaching debut

Ohio State shocks No. 2 Purdue as Jake Diebler gets win in coaching debut originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

It’s been a turbulent week at Ohio State after the ouster of men’s basketball coach Chris Holtmann, but it ended with a flourish as the Buckeyes stunned the No. 2 Purdue Boilermakers in Columbus Sunday.

Bruce Thornton led the Buckeyes with 22 points and Jamison Battle had 19 points, but the team’s ferocious defense and 26 points from the bench resulted in a huge upset win for Ohio State.

Purdue made all 20 of the free throws they attempted in the game and hauled down 14 offensive rebounds as they dominated on the glass, but none of it was enough as their nine-game winning streak came to a screeching halt.

The loss comes one day after Purdue was named the top-overall seed in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament committee’s rankings, and also comes as Illinois looks to keep their hopes alive in the regular season Big Ten race.

The Boilermakers still hold a 1.5-game lead over the Illini in that race, but Illinois has played one fewer game and also will welcome Purdue to Champaign in the penultimate game of the regular season.

For now, the focus will be on the Buckeyes and their incredible comeback win amid the changes going on in Columbus. Trailing by seven points after Mason Gillis made a jump shot with six minutes to go in the first half, the Buckeyes went on a 14-2 run to close out the half, punctuated by a pair of late buckets from Devin Royal and Bruce Thornton as they went into the break with a five-point lead.

Purdue’s offense continued to struggle to start the second half, with Ohio State racing out to a 12-point lead after a pair of three-pointers from Battle that made it a 50-38 game.

Ohio State’s offense began to cool off, and Purdue slowly chipped away in the closing minutes of the game. The Boilermakers briefly tied the game with 1:39 remaining as Lance Jones buried a three-pointer, but Battle responded with  a jumper of his own 20 seconds later to give the Buckeyes back the lead.

Battle and Thornton both made pairs of free throws in the closing stages of the game, with Battle adding two more with two seconds left on the clock to seal the victory.

Purdue will now head home to take on Rutgers on Thursday, with games against Michigan State, Illinois and Wisconsin left to finish off their season.

Ohio State meanwhile will hit the road for a pair of games, taking on Minnesota Thursday and Michigan State next Sunday in East Lansing.