Two Minute Drill - Purdue Post-game
By Rob Ogden
Last week's struggles seem like ancient history. Ohio State's win Saturday over Purdue marked the Buckeyes' third-straight. After the game, coach Thad Matta and others spoke to the media. Here are the highlights.
Thad Matta Updates
* Matta said he was happy with the way his team played tonight, but added that it wasn't a perfect performance. He did, however, say that they made some big plays when they needed to make them, and they did a good job of finishing the job in the final 10 minutes of play.
* Matta said he's not convinced that the starting lineup he has used the past three games – all wins – is the one he wants to roll with for the remainder of the season. He said he was displeased by the group's start. They trailed 6-0 before finally getting on the board. Matta did say he has been pleased with the spark Shannon Scott has provided off the bench.
* He said things open up offensively when Lenzelle Smith Jr. is able to make shots, leading to better offensive production throughout the team, which the Buckeyes saw Saturday night. Smith had 16 points on 6-of-10 shooting.
* Matta said x-rays on Scott were negative. Scott took a hard fall late in the second half under Ohio State's basket, and laid motionless for a few seconds before being helped off. He returned to the game with about a minute to play.
* Matta said he thought Amir Williams showed great energy tonight against Purdue big man A.J. Hammons. Williams finished with 9 points and 5 rebounds. Hammons had 11 points and 7 boards.
* Both LaQuinton Ross and Lenzelle Smith Jr. mentioned Ohio State's next opponent – Michigan – during their post game interviews. Matta said he didn't address the Wolverines to the team following the game, but added, "I know they know who we play next." He did, however, need to be reminded when the game is scheduled for – Tuesday.
Lenzelle Smith Jr. Updates
* Smith Jr. said the Buckeyes were playing the way they like to play tonight. That is, with everyone contributing, and helping each other out. If they continue to play that way, he said, they're going to be a tough team to beat come March.
* Smith has been through somewhat of a shooting slump recently, but said he felt great tonight. He said when he shows that he can knock down one or two shots, he knows his teammates are going to start looking for him more. "It's a great feeling knowing the ball is coming to you," he said.
* He said he foresees that he'll continue to stay hot going forward, because the next game on the schedule is against Michigan. "Everyone's gonna be fired up," he said. He added that they can't get complacent as they did after defeating Illinois. "We're feeling good right now but tomorrow's a different day."
* After calling out the team on multiple issues following the loss to Penn State, Smith said tonight that he thinks a lot of the issues have been resolved. He said they're playing like a more mature team, and added that it's a great time to start playing their best basketball.
* The biggest change, Smith said, is that they're playing for each other. "We're lifting each other up. We can read each other, and when we're playing like that, it's an unstoppable feeling," he said.
LaQuinton Ross Updates
* Ross said they are a "way different team" when everyone is making shots. The Buckeyes shot better than 46 percent from the field as a team. He said when they play like that, they're almost unstoppable on offense.
* Ross said confidence is also a major factor. "Winning cures all," he said. "And that's what we've been doing lately so everyone feels a lot better."
Purdue coach Matt Painter Updates
* Painter said the difference in the game was his team's inability to make a layup in the first half and his team's turnovers and inability to score in transition in the second half.
* Painter pointed to the turnover category on the stat sheet, where the Boilermakers had 15, and Ohio State only 7.
* He said his team imploded with unforced errors and inability to protect the basketball late in the second half. "We had one call go against us and we self-destructed," he said.
* When asked what was different about Ohio State over its past three wins, Painter said it was simple. "They're shooting the ball better," he said. Painter said every team is going to go through some tough times in the Big Ten. He said the Buckeyes will be right there in the end, and will be tough in the NCAA Tournament.
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