COLUMBUS – Ohio State beat rival Michigan 77-63 at home on Sunday. Head coach Chris Holtmann spoke with the media immediately following the game, along with sophomore guard Duane Washington Jr. and redshirt junior guard C.J. Walker.
Michigan head coach Juwan Howard also answered questions from reporters and spoke about the challenges Duane Washington Jr. brought to them.
Here’s a summary of what was said.
+ “When you give up 11 3’s and shoot 52% from three it’s very disappointing.”
+ Duane Washington Jr. played well. They didn’t give him enough resistance to make things hard for him.
+ Ohio State played Nebraska without Kyle Young so they watched that film. Ohio State didn’t make any excuses. They had other guys that stepped up and made plays for them.
+ “All of them played well but Washington Jr. really hurt us.”
+ “I trust that we can get back on track.” They will focus on protecting the three point line much better than they have the past two games.
+ They had some open shots that just didn’t go in.
+ They have to do a better job of maintaining a certain level of focus.
+ Ohio State played well defensively.
+ Goal number one for him today was to make sure that the highlight video in the introductions was not the best part of the afternoon. He was texting Urban Meyer and told him that he thought that he would enjoy it. Terrance Dials was upset that Andrew Dakich got a shot in there and he didn’t. It was a great way to tip off the day. It was great having Coach Day here too, he spent some time with him in the locker room.
+ This win means a lot to Buckeye Nation. Michigan competes, they play hard, they are gifted and talented, well-coached. They will have a great finish to the season.
+ “Players win games. Our guys stepped up today. Credit to them.”
+ “Plenty of people wrote us off when we were 2-6. People made fun of us, put all their sarcastic tweets out there. I have them all saved. All of them. We get it. We had to find a way to come together and perform better and own why we were struggling, coaches and players own it. The players and captains owned it.”
+ Kaleb Wesson defended and stayed engaged. He allowed other guys like C.J. Walker to make decisions and Walker’s floor game was outstanding, it has been for about four weeks now.
+ Andre and Kaleb Wesson played really solid games.
+ Ohio State’s defense late was really good.
+ He has been a part of some turnarounds from difficult January’s but not of one this significant where you see such a dramatic turnaround. After the season they will try to figure out why exactly that is but they had a dramatic shift. The players have owned the progress and the struggles.
+ They need Kyle Young back and they’d like to have more depth. They’ve got a good way about them with the tighter rotation, it’s working right now but he doesn’t know if that is sustainable.
+ C.J. Walker is going to be a really good coach one day. He’s going to be a heck of a coach. He has embraced more leadership and coaching with D.J. Carton gone.
+ In the last five or six weeks guys have settled more into their roles. That’s a factor in why they are performing better.
+ The crowd was unbelievable. They need a big one on Thursday too.
+ It was hard to attack the rim today with Michigan’s size.
+ They have had to tweak a lot of things that they thought would fit this team better and they are settling into those things that they run better offensively. They have been pretty fluid with things that they run, not dramatically but they have had to.
+ On being 8-2 in the last 10 games, Holtmann said he hasn’t had a roll like this, not in a league this great. He is hesitant because he is concerned on whether or not they are rolling tomorrow. He is hesitant to stamp that because of the league that they are in. When they were 9-1 to start the season it wasn’t the same because the level of competition wasn’t the same. Some might have been, but not all of them were talent-equated games. It was apples and oranges.
+ Kyle Young is improving. They want to get him back, but they want to get him back for the rest of the season.
+ The sweep against Michigan is different in basketball, but it matters. It matters to everybody.
Duane Washington Jr.
+ He approached this game like every other game. He knows a lot of the guys and the coaches.
+ Defensively they were fighting. They knew it was going to be a fist fight. They knew they had to come out swinging and not let guys bully them around the paint.
+ They worked all summer and all pre-season to feel like this and have moments like this.
+ Right now they have to close out games and make big shots. They are trying to keep this momentum going.
+ After the game Juwan Howard told him to keep moving and stay focused and healthy.
+ When they are playing smaller, this team has to play extremely hard, harder than the other team. They have to win the 50/50 balls.
+ They wish the guys who are out were with them but they had to decide if they wanted to be sad about it or rally around it. They came to the realization that it’s March. They have to give it their all, they can’t look back any more.
+ “There’s a lot that you guys haven’t seen. A lot of work that we’ve put in, the time off the court that we’ve spent with each other. We tell each other all the time that we’re build for this and made for this. This is why we came to Ohio State, for moments like this.”
+ It means a lot to have a crowd like that. The fans were amazing and gave us a lot of energy. It’s March, it’s the best time for college basketball.
+ It was just one of those days where the ball was falling.
+ He just lets the game come to him. He took advantage of what the defense gave him and he was able to make the shots once he was in there. The momentum of the game took over and he just took advantage of it.
+ It was a good game. They went out there with the same focus and same energy and intensity.
+ This team is but for this. The coaches believe them, they can play at any level with any team, whether they have 14 or nine like they have now.
+ Coach Holtmann tells them one possession at a time. That’s what they have been doing and that has been good for them.
+ They push each other every day in practice. They prepare for these moments. They take it one day at a time, one practice at a time, stay consistent and stay focused. Especially knowing they don’t have as many bodies, they all have to do more.
You can watch the full videos below.
Duane Washington Jr. and C.J. Walker