COLUMBUS – Ohio State men’s basketball head coach Chris Holtmann spoke with the media following Ohio State’s 77-60 loss at Minnesota. Sophomore forward E.J. Liddell and junior guard Duane Washington Jr. also answered questions from reporters.
Here’s a summary of what was said.
+ Minnesota’s physicality bothered them. It was the most physical game they’ve played in.
+ On the start of the second half, Holtmann said he didn’t feel like physically they came out with the necessary stuff. The guys were frustrated and looked fatigued. But across the board they have to handle physicality better.
+ “You learn from each experience.”
+ It was not by any stretch just E.J. Liddell, it was across the board. Holtmann takes responsibility for not preparing them well enough for the physicality.
+ They played really well against size and height but they have to finish better. They didn’t play smart enough when they did get to the paint offensively.
+ That was the best Minnesota team they’ve played. “They’ve got good balance across the board with their guard play and their bigs.”
+ He takes responsibility for the technical foul called. “They just didn’t appreciate what was said.”
+ Holtmann attributed some of C.J. Walker’s struggles to his thumb injury. Walker is tough and doesn’t want to make excuses, but he can tell it bothers him.
+ They got out-played and out-coached in this game. “We can do a lot of things better.” He likes the fight he saw from his team but they need to be better to beat a team of this caliber.
+ On Duane Washington Jr.’s performance, Holtmann said his ball-handling has to improve but he took good shots. It was a good step forward for him.
+ Musa Jallow had a scouting report issue early on and part of that was because he wasn’t with them for a week.
+ On Liam Robbins, Liddell said they were supposed to use their mobility and quickness with him and be physical with him to weigh him down. He puts that on him and feels he didn’t do that and he let the team down. They had to wear him down because he’s aggressive but Liddell feels he didn’t do his job. “Robbins was really good today.”
+ He is very disappointed in himself. He has to get a lot better because his team needs him. “I can’t let them down like that again.” As a leader he has to bring more energy than what he did today. Liddell said he should have brought more to the table.
+ They were told not to take anybody lightly. They didn’t lock in and just focus on Carr.
+ They had too many mental mistakes. He feels he didn’t execute.
+ Minnesota was comfortable at home.
+ Holtmann told them to chip away possession by possession.
+ “Minnesota was more aggressive than us today. They took us out of their spots and were bullying us on ball screens. They took us out of what we wanted to do today.”
Duane Washignton Jr.
+ Washington Jr. said Minnesota was aggressive. When they came into the game they thought it would be easier to run their stuff offensively. “We didn’t come out with enough fight.”
+ They wanted to make Minnesota uncomfortable but they didn’t do it. “It was their night.”
+ On moving forward and learning from this, Washington Jr. said it’s frustrating for everybody to cope with a loss and everybody cope’s differently. His job is to bring them together as a leader of this team.
+ “We are a good team ourself. We do a lot of good things and need to believe in ourselves and never forget that.”
+ Every loss and every win is a learning experience.
+ He trusts Holtmann 100 percent and believes in what he is doing.
+ They are “learning, learning, learning.”
+ They knew they were undersized guarding Robbins. “He played a hell of a game. Credit to him.” He played some really good basketball.
[Photo courtesy of Ohio State Hoops Twitter.]