Two-Minute Drill: Inside Ohio State’s Emotional Postgame Locker Room
By Brandon Castel
LOS ANGELES — Just when it looked like the West region was wide open for Ohio State, Wichita State slammed it back in their face.
The Shockers pulled off a stunning 70-66 upset on Saturday, in a game where they led the Buckeyes by as many as 20 points in the second half. Ohio State rallied to make it a three-point game with three to play, but they couldn’t come all the way back.
Here’s a look at what OSU head coach Thad Matta and his players had to say in the locker room after the game.
* LaQuinton Ross said the Shockers surprised him with their intensity and physicality on defense.
* Matta said the Shockers played a B1G style of defense. Thomas compared them to Michigan State. Said they were packing the paint.
* Matta said all they needed was a few shots to drop from outside and it would have forced Wichita State to loosen up the paint. It didn't happen.
* Aaron Craft said they weren't able to score in transition because they were giving up too many offensive rebounds.
* Craft said the Buckeyes didn't come out with the same fire and intensity today as they did in the first three games of the tournament.
* Malcom Armstead said their focus on Craft was to take away his drive and force him to shoot tough jumpers.
* Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall on Craft: "He can play anywhere in the country. I hope he makes it to the NBA."
On Deshaun Thomas…
* Thomas had tears in his eyes walking out of the OSU locker room.
* Thomas said he will get with his family and make a decision about his future. Could go either way.
* Matta said he thinks Thomas could decide to go pro, but might decide to stay. He wants him to make the best decision for himself.
* Lenzelle Smith said he will remind Thomas how good this team could be next year if he decides to come back.
Looking Ahead to Next Year…
* Ross says he is coming back for his junior season. Hasn't thought about leaving.
* Ross believes this team has the talent to be right back here next season.
* Ross said he thought this team was talented enough to win the national title. Thinks they should again next year.
* Matta thinks this team could be special again next year, “We will finally have multiple seniors, something we haven't had in a while.”
* Matta said he's proud of the development Ross showed in the tournament. Definitely a guy they will count on next year.
* Marshall said Ross was the key for OSU during their comeback, hitting shots and getting to the line.
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