COLUMBUS – Ohio State men’s basketball head coach Chris Holtmann met with the media following the Buckeyes’ 79-68 win at No. 15 Rutgers. Kyle Young and Justice Sueing also answered questions from reporters.
Here’s a summary of what was said immediately after the game.
+ Rutgers has really good players and they are terrifically coached.
+ On playing a top 15 team, Holtmann said he knew they would have to start off strong. They didn’t finish the game like they needed to and he takes responsibility for that.
+ Jimmy Sotos is disappointed because of what he felt like and how he was playing. They will have further evaluation on him and know more in a few days.
+ On playing without C.J. Walker, Holtmann said Sotos played really well. His decision making was good and he settled them in many ways. “I was really really pleased.”
+ Defensively they were good and pretty locked in. Rutgers has a lot of players who can make shots and get to the rim. They had to hang their hat on defense.
+ The biggest play was when they weren’t scoring well late in the game and Liddell passed to Young on a post-trap.
+ Rutgers switching from zone to man gave them some difficulty.
+ They really missed C.J. Walker as another ball handler.
+ He loves coaching Duane Washington Jr., “but he is going to send me to an early death,” Holtmann joked. He brings joy to playing and brings a great spirit to the game. He has a lot of confidence in what he can be but “no question he has taken years off of my life.”
+ He was really proud of Meechie Johnson. He just began live practice two days ago and then played a top 15 team on the road. He gives him a ton of credit and is excited about his continued growth.
+ The team’s mindset and mood has been really good. His team understands life in the Big Ten.
+ He wishes Ryan Day and the football team well. “Monday night at 8:00 p.m.. Let’s go. Can’t wait.”
+ On the effectiveness offensively, they wanted to set the tone coming out and be the more aggressive and physical team. They got good shots offensively and got stops defensively. The success on defense carried over to their offensive play.
+ On being called the most physical team in the Big Ten, Young said they take pride in being the tougher team and the more physical. “It gets you a lot.” It is something they take pride in and they want to continue to improve on that.
+ Jimmy Sotos did a great job stepping up and give them a big lift. They stayed confident in each other.
+ On E.J. Liddell, Young said coming off the game at Minnesota they didn’t play tough enough but Liddell comes out with the same confidence and toughness each game.
+ This team stays committed to their preparation and practice each day.
+ On Meechie Johnson, Young told him it was normal to feel nervous. “For him to get his first minutes out of the way was huge. He will come along.”
+ They knew they had to pick up what C.J. Walker wasn’t going to be bringing. He thinks they did a good job adjusting.
+ “It was the first four minutes that we knew was going to dictate the game.”
+ On Myles Johnson’s comments after the last game about cheating, Sueing said they heard about it but they knew they had a job to do and he thinks they responded really well and stuck to their game plan.
+ This team is really deep. “Everyone on our team has something to give to the game.” Jimmy Sotos was a clear example of that.
+ Being able to share the ball puts them in a good position.
+ On Zed Key, Sueing said Key sets the tone. He fights for rebounds, his positioning, and on defense he’s something that the offense has to get through. His role is one of the many reasons why they are able to trust their bench.
+ Road wins are really important. “We really needed this one.”
[Photo via Ohio State Hoops Twitter.]