Men's Basketball

Ohio State Postgame: Chris Holtmann, Buckeyes Talk 74-64 Win Against UMass Lowell

COLUMBUS – Ohio State men’s basketball head coach Chris Holtmann met with the media following Ohio State’s 74-64 win against UMass Lowell.

C.J. Walker and Duane Washington Jr. also answered questions from reporters.

Here’s a summary of what was said.

Chris Holtmann

+ He gives UMass Lowell a lot of credit for the way they played. But he gives his guys credit for finishing the game. Obviously they have to do a lot of things better and they will learn from this one.

+ He doesn’t think they attacked the zone really well. It slowed them down. But it was their first time seeing almost 35 minutes of zone so they will work on it and they have to attack it better than they did.

+ They try to learn from every win and every loss. They are going to do that. He said it certainly feels better after a win, but as a coach he is going to say ‘these are all the things were have to have improve on’ and it’s a significant list, but it’s early in the season and he thinks they can make some strides.

+ On the lack of scrimmages and exhibitions, Holtmann said he looks at these early games for different styles of play. But it was UMass Lowell’s effort and their culpability in not playing a clean game. It will help them get better and it was good for them. But there are other things they really have to focus on.

+ On Zed Key, Holtmann said he played well but he has to understand he’s a big body. He brings great energy and he has been a lot of fun to coach.

+ He is happy with a lot of Duane Washington Jr.’s looks. He had really clean looks, he will make them more than he will miss them. The bulk of his missed shots were really good looks. Defensively he competed and was really engaged in the game at a high level.

+ Holtmann said he was curious as to how they would shoot the ball here, but they’ve played in arenas for the first time before and have shot better than they did in this game.

+ He was told Musa Jallow was not available due to something that happened to his lower leg in warmups. He was looking to sub him in and was told he was not available.

+ They were not as alert as they needed to be at times today.

+ On getting to the free-throw line, he thought it was great to see. A lot of guys got there. That has to be consistent for them. They didn’t convert as many as he would have liked but it was great to see them get to the line.

C.J. Walker

+ That was their first game having adversity as a team. They wanted to stick together and keep the mindset that they had the time to finish the game strong and make the right next play to do what they have to do to win the game.

+ He knew Zed Key was going to be big for them this year. He helps them a lot offensively and defensively. He brings a lot of attention under the basket and he did his job really well today.

+ On E.J. Liddell’s improvement as a post player, Walker said he can do a lot and create a lot of attention. He’s always been a great player now it’s just his time to step up and play with confidence.

+ On the shooting, Walker said, “It’s basketball. It happens, you don’t make shots sometimes. You have to find other ways to win, and today it was defensively getting stops.” They took good shots today, they just weren’t falling. It feels different with no fans, but that’s not an excuse. It’s just basketball.

+ Film is going to be really big for them because they didn’t have scrimmages and exhibitions this season.

Duane Washington Jr.

+ On the three-pointer with a minute to go to put the game away, he said earlier on he got some good looks and unfortunately they didn’t go down but “shooters shoot” and he believed in himself and kept his confidence up. Credit to C.J. Walker for making the good pass.

+ When shots aren’t falling, he has other aspects of his game to help. His ability to stretch the ball off the floor will always be a contributing factor, cutting hard, creating diversions, setting screens, continue to communicate defensively, rebound, and leading the team are all other ways he can help.

+ On his career high 21 points, Washington said he was really focused on defense coming into the game and shutting down their best player. Offensively, he just made the three that was important.

+ Today he was put in the position to shoot and he did it with confidence.

+ Zed Key did a good job, he had a good game today. But he said they all need to get better defensively. They will get back in the lab tomorrow and get back to work.

[Photo courtesy of Ohio State Department of Athletics]