Two Minute Drill - North Dakota State Postgame
By Rob Ogden
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Aaron Craft set Ohio State's all-time career assists record Saturday night as the Buckeyes defeated North Dakota State 79-62. After the game, coach Thad Matta and others spoke to the media. Here are the highlights.
Thad Matta Updates
* Matta said North Dakota State is that team that you don't want to see in March.
* He said it's hard to put into words what Craft has meant to the program over the past four years.
He added that it's incredible to think about all the great players he now ranks ahead of on the assists list.
* Matta said that someone fell on Amir Williams' ankle in the second half, briefly causing the center to be removed from the game. Williams finished the game, however, and Matta said he's fine.
* He said they have spent "more time than imaginable" shooting the basketball in practice lately, leading to their improved shooting percentages.
* Matta said freshman Marc Loving has "a great way about him." He added that Loving has a lot of energy in practice and wants to be coached. Those are all good signs for a young player, he said.
* He said freshman Kam Williams is about 90 percent back to form while trying to regain all the weight he lost while he had mono. Matta said no decision has yet been made on whether or not Williams will be redshirted.
Aaron Craft Updates
* On setting the school's all-time assist mark, Craft said he has the easy job. He added that he's been fortunate enough to play with a lot of good shooters that have been able to make baskets.
* Craft said North Dakota State grabbed Ohio State's attention after defeating Notre Dame earlier in the week. "That was probably the best thing for us," he said.
* Craft said they knew it was going to take a team effort to slow down Bison forward Marshall Bjorklund, who is averaging more than 15 point a game. He said they tried to stay in front of him and force him to take challenged shots.
LaQuinton Ross Updates
* Ross, who has averaged more than 17 points in his past five games, said his previous shooting slump came from not being focused. He said he couldn't blame the struggles on his injured hand.
* Asked if he watched any basketball before the game, Ross said he watched Michigan vs. Arizona and admitted he was rooting for the Wolverines. He said a Michigan win would likely move the Buckeyes to No. 1.
* When Ross said "Michigan", Craft reminded him he should have said "the team up north."
Lenzelle Smith Jr. Updates
* Asked about the flagrant foul drawn by Sam Thompson, Smith said it makes the team mad when "one of our brothers gets hit like that."
* Smith said having Craft as a teammate is a great luxury as a shooter. "You don't have to worry about it. You know Aaron's gonna find you."
North Dakota State coach Saul Phillips Updates
* Phillips said he voted Ohio State No. 1 in the coaches poll, and added that Saturday's game didn't do anything to change his opinion.
* He said he stayed up all night trying to find Ohio State's weakness, but then realized the Buckeyes didn't have many.
* Phillips said "You get them running up and down the court and you're gonna end up on their team poster next year."
* He compared the Buckeyes' offense to Wisconsin. Badgers coach Bo Ryan's son is on Phillips' staff.
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