COLUMBUS — Following Ohio State’s 79-72 win over No. 7 Maryland, Buckeyes’ head coach Chris Holtmann spoke with the assembled media to answer questions about the win and his team’s play. Also speaking with the media were Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon and Buckeyes Luther Muhammad and Kaleb Wesson. Videos of all three sessions are below. Here are the highlights of what was said.
+ That was a great Maryland team today.
+ Players win games.
+ This was as loud a crowd as Holtmann has seen here and is hoping for some more like it this season. “That was a great lift for our players.”
+ Kyle Young has a high ankle sprain and is still in the process of getting it looked at and worked on. “I just feel terrible for him.”
+ The last four minutes of the first half and first four minutes of the second half were critical. They talked about it at halftime. The start of the second half was going to be a statement of this team.
+ Kaleb Wesson was really good. Efficient. His ability to make it difficult for other teams to guard him is a benefit for the Buckeyes.
+ Asked about Turgeon calling Kaleb Wesson a bully, Holtmann seemed confused. “Mark said that? To each his own.” Teams play physical with Kaleb and then flop.
+ Luther Muhammad hit some big threes in the first half. Maryland went under some ball screens and he took advantage of it.
+ Holtmann’s immediately reaction when Kyle Young went down was whether it was the leg with the stress fracture.
+ “I thought EJ Liddell was critical in the second half. I thought EJ Liddell was critical with his offense against the zone. EJ will have to be that for us (in Young’s absence).”
+ Liddell was the only sub in the second half, but Holtmann never got worried about minutes. Not in a big game like this.
+ This win is a step forward, but the real question is how will the team respond in practice and on the road. Will they be complacent with this result or will they respond.
+ Luther Muhammad’s game can’t be defined by how well he shoots. It never has been.
+ EJ Liddell just has to keep working. “He kept us in the game with his scoring,” but his defense and rebounding were important as well. He’s going to play some important minutes down the stretch. “It’s really critical that he just keeps growing and getting better.”
+ “I don’t know if we can be really good people without making a lot of threes.”
+ Going small helped at times after Young’s injury. You see the value of a guy like Andre Wesson who played all 40 minutes and can play and defend multiple spots.
+ The offensive rebounds were critical today.
+ As a coach, “You just kinda hope” your free throws go in.
+ Duane and Luther have taken real steps, but the next step is consistency on the road. The team needs to do that as well. “We’re not there yet.”
+ “I felt good about the look in our older guys’ eyes” after he talked to them at halftime about the opening minutes of the second half.
+ Credit to Ohio State. They were phenomenal and they hit shots. CJ Walker hit two early and he’s a 24% shooter from three.
+ They were in foul trouble today and that was hard for them. “That’s what happens on the road against physical teams.”
+ “We didn’t compete in the first two minutes of the second half… The were the better team.”
+ EJ Liddell had some tough rebounds. He did a nice job.
+ Regarding Anthony Cowan’s ejection, Cowan somehow got knocked to the ground and there was no foul. Cowan wasn’t trying to kick Kaleb Wesson, he was frustrated and yelled at the ref to call the foul. The angle just made it look like he almost kicked Wesson. He was never trying to kick anybody, he was just frustrated by the no call.
+ “We played well without Anthony though…” Today wasn’t his game. He could really get a shot. “Give them credit. It was just one of those games for him.”
+ OSU made a lot of shots early. “A couple of them were on me, the way we were guarding.” One of the makes was a knuckle ball. The defense just got too spread out. It was physical. Jalen Smith was getting bumped around all game long.
+ Kaleb Wesson is a hard guard because he can pick and pop. Then they play two-man games with Duane Washington. Kaleb “was allowed to be the bully today. I guess you’re allowed to do that in this building.”
+ Felt confident shooting today. He’s stayed in the gym working on his shot and everyone has been encouraging him.
+ It seemed like the first half the Terrapins were letting the Buckeyes shoot to see if they could actually make their threes.
+ Muhammad was happy with his entire game, and the entire team.
+ Muhammad credited his help defenders with contributing to his defense against Cowan and Ayala.
+ Winning games against top teams starts in practice. They play hard and that’s the scout team as well.
+ Wesson isn’t sure if he’s overlooked as a defender, but he takes it seriously.
+ “We played team defense today at a high level.” He credited the team defense with the slowing down of Jalen Smith.
+ Teams go on runs so you have to keep at it and not flinch.
+ They don’t listen to the outside noise. “You just gotta X that stuff out and go to work every day.”
+ They have to remain physical. Ibrahima Diallo and Alonzo Gaffney have been effective in practice.
+ This win didn’t tell them anything about this team that they didn’t already know.