Matta, Craft Like Ross' Motive, but not Method
By John Porentas
OSU forward LaQuinton Ross was suspended after he came to the aid of teammate Amir Williams in the late stages of the Northwestern game when Williams got involved in some rough stuff with Wildcat center Nikola Cerina.
Cerina was ejected from the game and given an additional game suspension for swinging a closed fist at Williams. He didn't connect, but the rules don't require that he did in order to get the suspension, only that he swung.
is restrained by an official in the Northwestern game.
Photo by Dan Harker
Ross didn't swing at anybody, but did shove two Wildcats. For that he was assessed two technicals and was ejected from the game. He was not however suspended from OSU's next game.
The incident came up today at interviews preluding OSU's game with Minnesota tomorrow. Both Head Coach Thad Matta and Senior Point Guard Aaron Craft were careful with their comments, but neither totally condemned Ross for his actions.
"I like guys standing up for teammates," said Matta.
"Obviously the execution may not have been appropriate at the time, but things happen.
"I wouldn't say that I'm proud, I don't like that at all, I didn't like the situation, but you've got a group of guys that spend a ton of time together and somebody swings at a guy, that's how trouble gets started, so you can't have that.
"That's the politically correct thing and we won't stand for that."
Craft took a similar position.
"With the amount of time we put in with each other we're definitely a family. When you see one of your brothers getting into it you want to come to his aid and help him out," said Craft.
Like Matta, Craft liked the motive, but not the method.
"Did Q help him out the best way? Absolutely not, but we're very thankful he doesn't have to sit out this next game. Obviously he's been a big part of us playing better basketball both offensively and defensively.
"It's definitely a learning point, that there's ways to defend and help one another on the floor without doing it after the whistle. It's doing it between the lines and doing it the right way."
For Craft, Ross' reaction was more of a heat-of-the-moment gut response that was not justified, but understandable.
"I think that just goes to show you it's pretty easy to get caught up in a game. You always have to try and keep your head. There's a lot at stake. You can't risk it all for five seconds of what he did."
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