Ohio State basketball takes down Purdue in first game without Chris Holtmann

In the first game since Chris Holtmann was fired, the Ohio State basketball team took down the number-two team in the country.

Feb 18, 2024; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes guard Roddy Gayle Jr. (1) reacts to a dunk
Feb 18, 2024; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes guard Roddy Gayle Jr. (1) reacts to a dunk / Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch / USA

The Ohio State basketball team has been looking for some juice this season. It was clear that under Chris Holtmann the program had gotten stale. Gene Smith decided to fire Holtmann last week and just pull the plug before the end of his seventh season with the program.

Smith decided to promote Jake Diebler as the interim head coach for the rest of the season. He took on Purdue for his first game as a head coach. Man, was it a memorable one. He and the Buckeyes took down the number-two team in the country 73-69 at the Schott.

It was a game that was the opposite of so many games under Holtmann. They didn't falter down the stretch when things got tight. Diebler played the freshmen more than seven minutes a game and they played with pace. It was the perfect storm to upset the Boilermakers.

It was a huge game for Bruce Thornton. He led the way for the Buckeyes with 22 points, including 14 points in the first half. He was the driving force behind the offense the entire game. When the Buckeyes needed a bucket, they put the ball in his hands.

Jamison Battle also came alive in the second half. He had 19 points, all of them in the second half. He finished 6/8 from the field and 3/5 from three. Those two were the driving force behind Ohio State's offense as they were the only two players to score in double figures.

Next. Next story. Gene Smith regrets Chris Holtmann extension. dark

This is a new era of Ohio State basketball. Diebler may not be the favorite to win the job at the end of the year, but he put out a great first impression on Ross Bjork. The Buckeyes look like they have new life, but it may be too late for this year. That doesn't matter. The future suddenly looks bright for the Buckeyes.