COLUMBUS, Ohio — Following the 75-71 loss to Penn State on Thursday, Ohio State head coach Chris Holtmann, freshman guard Bruce Thornton, and freshman forward Brice Sensabaugh met with the media.
Penn State head coach Micah Shrewsberry also spoke with reporters after Penn State’s win. Shrewsberry had high praise for Holtmann and spoke on Pickett’s late performance that secured the win.
Here are the highlights of what was said. You can also watch the full press conference below.
+ It was a clean game on both ends but Penn State made a few more plays, they have a good team.
+ On the defense on Pickett late, Holtmann said they had five shooters and were attacking the switch. He was trying to sub with a better defensive group.
+ On this game coming down to the wire, Holtmann said they looked like an organized team that competed. “But we have to keep playing the right way.”
+ They have not converted late in games where they needed to defensively or offensively. They need to get better at getting stops when they need to.
+ On Sensabaugh sitting for nine minutes in the second half, Holtmann said the group that was out there was playing well and that’s how it works. If they are playing well and taking a lead, they will stay out on the floor. He isn’t taking into account who is sitting and who has sat for X amount of minutes.
+ The biggest thing they are trying to measure is the number of quality of possessions on both ends from one game to the next. They shared the ball better, trusted the pass more, passed to the right guy and through traffic, and there were some positives on rebounding.
+ On the last sequence and five 3-point attempts, Holtmann said they were down four, ran an action to try and get McNeil a look and he had an ok look. They needed a 3 and got some clean looks, so he doesn’t have a big issue with any of those.
+ He feels like they missed an opportunity to pull ahead in the first half when Pickett wasn’t being as effective and was on the bench more due to fouls. “I do think we missed an opportunity to get a lead.”
+ Sensabaugh has to continue to grow on the defensive end, there are times where it does impact the team and he is aware of that, he’s working on that.
+ Thornton was aggressive, loose, and confident. “He is a two-way player and you can play him for 36 minutes.” He’s highly detailed.
+ He is trying to be consumed with the present, not think about the past or the future, just figuring out how to help this group more. He carries it and he feels it, the staff does too but they are trying to focus on getting better as much as they can.
+ Penn State spreads it out and they are good 3 point shooters. He is proud of this team, they felt the energy and they are getting better and working hard.
+ On Pickett taking over, Thornton said he made a lot of tough shots but they shouldn’t have fouled him. He’s a good player and they don’t want to take that away from him but Thornton said him fouling Pickett was a problem and they needed to get stops.
+ The last 20 seconds were difficult because they shot five threes and they would have thought any of this guys could have made that shot.
+ They have been working on their offense a lot and it was paying off. They were playing really hard and making the right reads, they only had one turnover. “I think we’re making big strides but our defense is what got us. We paid for it on that end.”
+ On starting four freshmen again, Sensabaugh said they mesh well together.
+ They are bought into this season, they are working hard at practice, and come to the gym and compete every day. “It’s not over ’till it’s over, we’re in it until the last buzzer goes off.”
+ Pickett has a unique game, his dribble to the post is unique. That’s what he got to late and it was difficult for them to shrink the floor with him. “He got going because he’s the player he is.”
+ He is proud of his guys and the effort that went into winning this game. They were able to gut it out late in back-to-back games on the road against teams who were desperate for a win.
+ The players are bought in.
+ “Chris Holtmann is a hell of a coach. If anyone has any questions or doubt about that, you’re crazy. That dude can coach, he’s done it.” For a long time he has a history of winning everywhere he has been, some teams you get to this point in the season and people are ready to quit if you’re not connected, but they haven’t quit, they are still playing hard and that’s the sign of a good coach and a team that is bought in.
+ He talked to his team about what Ohio State is capable of doing, not what they’re doing right now because that’s what matters.
+ Even when Pickett is not playing his best, he can get it going at any moment. Teams struggle to guard him and they read the limited options that teams have with him and get him in the right spots.
+ On setting the school record at Penn State for 3s, Shrewsberry said they have multiple shooters who make shots from 3.
+ On Ohio State only having one turnover, Shrewsberry said they aren’t built to force turnovers and be disruptive because of their size. Their defense is more about positing and not letting teams get angles.
+ He doesn’t know if Pickett ever gets tired, 28 minutes for him is like a vacation. He doesn’t wear down.
Photo via Ohio State Hoops.