COLUMBUS – No. 15 Ohio State head coach Chris Holtmann met with the media following Ohio State’s 74-62 win at No. 10 Wisconsin on Saturday afternoon.
Players E.J. Liddell and Seth Towns also answered questions from reporters. Here are the highlights.
+ He is really proud of this group. They have a lot of respect for Wisconsin, they’re talented, old, well-coached, disciplined, and a top 10 team. “From the jump they really grabbed ahold of this thing.”
+ On playing on the road without fans, Holtmann said it’s very much different. But it’s still about execution and play. Even without the fans, the quality of the opponent makes it a good win.
+ Jumping to a lead early put pressure on Wisconsin’s shooting.
+ On leading the entire game, Holtmann said they had critical possessions and he trusts his team. “They answered the bell every time.” But it never felt like the game was out of hand, it felt like it was a single possession game throughout.
+ This team has been extremely engaged, from the start of the year. They feel losses, they come to work, come back, and prepare well.
+ C.J. Walker is a huge talker defensively. In this game, he got to the paint and made really good decisions. The coaching staff was concerned about disrupting the offensive rhythm they have had for a guy who was going to play 15-20 minutes, a lot of that was just by feel.
+ E.J. Liddell is a tremendous person. “When you have really good people they bounce back, figure out what they can do better, move forward, come back ready to work, and he’s really talented. He’s a mis-match issue, so he’s a problem.”
+ Duane Washington Jr. commands a lot of attention but he plays the game the right way by doing other things when scoring isn’t happening.
+ That was the best they’ve played offensively against a good defense.
+ He is debating on whether or not to add a game in this week before facing Michigan State on the 31st.
+ They have to make improvements defensively but their offensive efficiency is great right now. Defensive effort, attention to detail, and turnovers need improvement. The progress of this group has been rewarding for them as a coaching staff. They have seen growth with each week.
+ On setting the tone early, Liddell said they had to come out and play aggressive. That set the tone for the rest of the game.
+ On maintaining the momentum, Liddell said it took everybody staying connected and playing a unit. They had to stay together throughout the game.
+ On the black jerseys, Liddell said when they put them on they felt a different type of swagger and confidence. He was really excited to wear them and couldn’t wait. They first saw them last week.
+ On C.J. Walker, “Man, I’m so happy C.J. is back.”
+ They were a lot more connected in this game.
+ Any win on the road is huge.
+ On taking the day off after the Purdue game, Liddell said that was the best day of his life. They had a lot of games in a row and everybody needed to get their body back right, that reset a lot of people.
+ He knew he had to expand his game for this team to be good. He keeps improving and focuses on getting better everyday.
+ On being effective from start to finish, they were really disciplined and executed well. The jerseys had something to do with it too. They all felt it when they put the jerseys on, they felt like they had superpowers.
+ The game against Purdue taught them a lot.
+ They’ve showed that they’re a really good team. When they take the court they have the opportunity to win every game.
+ C.J. Walker back was huge. He’s impactful as a player and they missed him leading the team.
+ No moment or opportunity is too big for anyone on this team.
+ On Justin Ahrens, Towns said his confidence is through the roof and he’s one of the best shooters in the country in his opinion. He is playing a great role.
+ It’s an unbelievable feeling to play with Ohio State across his jersey. He is proud to put this jersey on and play for this team.
[Photo via Ohio State Hoops Twitter.]