Two-Minute Drill: Inside Ohio State’s Postgame Locker Room
By Brandon Castel
PITTSBURGH — Survive and advance.
That’s what the Buckeyes were looking to do Saturday against No. 7-seed Gonzaga.
It was a back-and-forth game with Ohio State falling behind by as many as seven points in the first half when Jared Sullinger was on the bench with two fouls.
Ohio State’s big man still finished with 18 points and seven rebounds while point guard Aaron Craft tallied his first career double-double with 17 points and 10 assists in OSU’s 73-66 victory.
Here is a look at what the players and coaches had to say after the game.
Craft’s Big Night
- Lenzelle Smith, Jr. said Craft came in glued-in with his focus today. Was not going to let this team lose.
- Gonzaga coach Mark Few said they lost Craft on some ball screens and he was able to get some easy layups.
- Few said they felt like they had to make Craft score and take away guys like Sullinger, Thomas and Buford.
- Craft said he could tell Gonzaga was not going to leave Sullinger, so he knew he would have some lanes to the basket.
- With three steals Saturday, Craft now has 87 for the season, tying him with Mike Conley Jr. for the most all-time in a single-season at OSU.
- Gonzaga PG Kevin Pangos on Craft: "It was tough. He's got active hands, quick feet. There's a reason he's known as one of the best defenders."
Player’s Only Meeting
- OSU players said Craft and William Buford called a players-only meeting yesterday.
- When Buford was asked about it, he give me a look and said, “how did you know about that?”
- Deshaun Thomas and Evan Ravenel said the meeting was about staying together and not taking plays off.
- They said it got their attention because they realized this is Buford's last chance. They don't want to see him go out early again.
- Buford said he has been vocal all season. People don't always see it because he's not as loud as Craft, but he has come a long way.
Advancing to Round of 16
- Matta gave his team an "A" for this weekend, because "we're playing in Boston next weekend."
- Matta though biggest key Saturday was OSU stepping up intensity on defense, getting back and keeping them off glass in 2nd half.
- Robert Sacre on what OSU did to take control: "They hit tough shots. They hit shots. They just hit shots. There's nothing really much to say."
- Ohio State reaches its third straight Sweet 16....first time since Fred Taylor coached the Buckeyes back in 1962.
- Also the third time in Buford’s career at Ohio State. He said he’s happy they are going to Boston, but he's tired of losing in the Sweet 16. Focused on getting further.
- Craft said Ohio State stopped attacking when Zags went to the zone. "We played a little more passive."
- Assistant Chris Jent told Matta Gonzaga probably wouldn't play zone because they had played it only 6% all season.
- He and Jent decided to put it on the board before the game anyway, and thankfully they did.
Deshaun on Deshaun
- Deshaun Thomas said he recognizes that he is going to see more double-teams now, so he has to show off the other part of his game: Passing.
- Deshaun on his two blocks: “I'm going to text Dallas (Lauderdale) and tell him I'm coming for him.”
- When Buford was asked about the blocks he just laughed, “I think that might be Deshaun's second block, ever.”
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