COLUMBUS – The Buckeyes beat Illinois 71-63 on senior night Thursday at Value City Arena. Ohio State head coach Chris Holtmann, freshman forward E.J. Liddell, senior forward Andre Wesson, and senior guard Danny Hummer met with the media immediately following the game.
Here’s a summary of what was said.
+ Great win for the guys. They had so many guys step up and make big plays. You can go down the line, E.J. Liddell, Kaleb Wesson, Andre Wesson, Luther Muhammad’s defense. Players win games even when it didn’t always look great for them.
+ Offensive rebounding and getting to the free throw line were important.
+ As a group they talked about finding the closing lineup and what they are going to in the closing stretch. In January when they had close losses at home they just didn’t know. They figured that out.
+ Kaleb Wesson was phenomenal. He was in foul trouble and only had two field goal attempts in the first half but he just plays the game the right way. He made really good reads and had great finishes through contact.
+ He has seen E.J. Liddell coming on. He wasn’t predicting this but the last five weeks they knew he was coming. ‘It has been about five weeks where we have said here he comes, he has moments, but we felt like that. His offense and defense today were critical he was phenomenal.’
+ On Liddell’s stats, Holtmann said you don’t ever protect 17 points and 11 rebounds for a freshman but we’ve been confident in him. He has adjusted to Big Ten play.
+ Luther Muhammad played with a better motor. His impact was phenomenal. When you’re working like he was on a tremendous player it takes away from your offense. His defense was up there as a significant contributor in this game.
+ They have worked on offensive rebounds a bit more but they always play with a bit more energy at home. They are doing a better job of it.
+ They took a picture with the 1960 team. It was senior night. It was a phenomenal experience for everybody.
+ Ryan Day looked at E.J. Liddell and said “I see you getting better” in the locker room after the Michigan game. He has really come on. It’s a credit to the kind of kid he is. He has a greater understanding of how hard and physical you have to be in this league. Everybody’s paths are different. It takes guys a little bit to figure out the level of play in league play.
+ “Liddell has the chance to be a very good player for us. He’s gotta put the work in and the time in and we have to continue to grow his game. All that will come but his attitude is in the right place.”
+ They have been a tough-minded group the last five weeks. They have to bring that each day to practice. “We’ll see if it continues.”
+ On starting Danny Hummer, Holtmann said his first year as a head coach he came into practice the day before and said he wasn’t going to start the senior walk-on. They started that game on a 23-0 run and that validated it. Someone told him that it really matters, it really really matters. Ever since then he has done it.
+ They stayed together the whole game and played their butts off the entire game. The 40 minute grind that the coaches talked about helped.
+ He is embracing his role and is playing as hard as he can. He is playing his hardest and is getting in better condition.
+ The game has slowed down a lot for him.
+ They were down a couple of key guys but they went out there and played their hardest.
+ He didn’t want his guys to go out on a bad note for senior night. They lost on senior night last year. That was a big motivation.
+ His extra work has helped him in these extended minutes that he is seeing.
+ ‘Moments like these we live for’ was what Coach Holtmann told him before he put him in the last few seconds of the game. “That was a good moment”
+ The 1960 team came out to talk to them during shoot around. It was cool seeing them back here. The team knows about the history.
+ The first four minutes ‘it was a war’ Hummer said. Just kidding it was special and it was a great moment. He said he will remember that for a very long time.
+ On his shot right at the start of the game, he said he got the opportunity and it was going up. He’s glad it went in.
+ Liddell has blocked a few of his shots in practice.
+ They knew Illinois wouldn’t quit. They kept their efforts together the entire game.
+ Liddell was huge for them tonight. He has been stepping up and they see that in practice. He has been playing better and better.
+ Liddell has blocked a few of his shots in practice. His blocks today were wild. It sounded like a gun went off when he hit it. When he brings energy like that it makes the whole team better.
+ They were giving Illinois too many open shots early on. They knew if they kept it together it would settle down.
+ This win feels great. They’ve been looking forward to this game.
+ They are playing with a lot of confidence right now. Playing more connected, playing more freely, and getting back to the way they were playing earlier in the season.
You can watch the full videos below.
Posted by The Ozone on Thursday, March 5, 2020
E.J. Liddell, Andre Wesson, Danny Hummer
Posted by The Ozone on Thursday, March 5, 2020