COLUMBUS — Following Ohio State’s 64-56 win over Cincinnati, Bearcats’ head coach John Brannen spoke with reporters, as did Ohio State head coach Chris Holtmann and forwards Kaleb Wesson and Kyle Young. Here are the highlights of what everyone had to say, as well as the full videos below.
+ “That was a good old-fashioned rock fight there.” This was the most physical opening game he’s ever been a part of.
+ They couldn’t run their offense in the first half because of UC’s defense, so they scrapped it at halftime and ran a variation. Players win games, and Kyle Young did a lot for this win. Kaleb Wesson played great defense. Holtmann’s staff kept yelling at him to take Kaleb Wesson out when he had four fouls and Holtmann had to finally tell them to stop yelling at him.
+ It wasn’t pretty, “but I don’t really care.”
+ “We were wound pretty tight.” “I sensed it all day.” You try to address it, but it has to play out.
+ The offense was simplified in the first half “and then they played off their instincts.”
+ Kyle Young was terrific. “This is kind of his kind of game.” He’s healthy and that really matters with a guy whose legs are so important.
+ The only thing that matters to Kyle Young is Ohio State winning. That’s true of all of the guys, especially in a game like this.
+ The freshmen had some rough moments early on because of the physicality, but they both responded well and gave important minutes down the stretch.
+ Having Kaleb Wesson at the top of the key is a luxury and opens up stuff everywhere else. He also hit a couple of threes which also stretched the defense even more.
+ Andre Wesson was great defensively. He’s being evaluated right now and took a significant hit during the game.
+ “This felt like a league game, to be honest with you.” Both teams know each other.
+ The difference was that OSU “just found a way to outlast them.”
+ UC’s defense was more physical than Holtmann expected after watching 15 games from Brannen’s Northern Kentucky teams.
+ Holtmann was told about Virginia scoring 48 points and winning and laughed and said he feels great now about the offensive explosion the Buckeyes had tonight.
+ Television wants these games early, but you’ll get some ugly games when they happen this early against quality opponents.
+ He felt really good about the leadership of his team right now. It’s tough when you have a young team and you go seven minutes without scoring, so having leaders helped that response.
+ Duane Washington played well on defense down the stretch in a tough spot against the conference preseason player of the year. “I was proud of Duane.”
+ Everybody was eligible to play tonight, but the nature of the game limited the bench.
+ The point guards aren’t at the 2-1 or 2.5-1 assist-to-turnover ratio they need yet. It’s early though.
+ Having gone 2-0 in this series, he was happy to have the games scheduled. Had they gone 1-1, he probably couldn’t say the same. But he knows this game matters to a lot of long-time Buckeye fans.
+ Holtmann wants this rivalry to continue. He knows there will be Xavier and Dayton questions as well. They will revisit it.
+ He thanked the fans because their energy was great and the Buckeyes needed it.
+ Luther Muhammad was really good. He had some moments. There are some things he can clean up, but he gave quality minutes.
+ Sometimes there’s just a lid on the rim.
+ This is the same Kyle Young they always see in practice.
+ Holtmann just preached toughness and to keep at it and play basketball and the points would come.
+ Wesson has worked on not getting frustrated. “Controlling the controllables.”
+ “That’s a good win right there.”
+ DJ Carton shows poise at a young stage and that’s big. It’s big to be able to switch point guards and not lose anything.
+ It’s bragging rights to get two wins over Cincinnati these last two years.
+ It’s always a physical battle against UC. Andre Wesson got a cut over his eye.
+ DJ Carton and EJ Liddell were locked in late in the game during the timeouts. They collected the information and applied it on the court.
+ His key to having a big night was just effort. That’s what the team always needs from him.
+ “It took a little while but it did get pretty loud in there when we got that first bucket.” Then they eventually started playing basketball like they know how.
+ They stuck with it defensively and that fed the offense a bit. Shots started falling, but it started with the defense.
+ It’s always a dogfight against UC.
Cincinnati Head Coach John Brannen
+ This looked like an early-season game.
+ Chris Holtmann did a great job adjusting in the second half to what UC was doing. “It was effective and we weren’t able to counter it.”
+ You expect Ohio State to go on a run in the second half and they did. The Bearcats were constantly down by one or two possessions late and it was a fight, which is what this UC team does. “Now we didn’t sustain it and we were undisciplined.” Undisciplined teams are coached by undisciplined coaches.
+ It was difficult to get a flow…whether it was because of all of the fouls or just because it was an early-season game.
+ It was a great honor to coach the Bearcats for the first time.
+ Early-season games are hard. He has no idea what he has with this team. Every coach will tell you that each team they have is different, so it’s hard to tell what you’re going to have from year to year.
+ Ohio State is going to be a tough out. They are just scratching the surface, as are the Bearcats.
+ This is a great rivalry and he would love to continue it, but not the first game of the year.