COLUMBUS – Ohio State head coach Chris Holtmann, Musa Jallow, and C.J. Walker met with the media following No. 4 Ohio State’s 92-82 road win at Penn State on Thursday night.
Here are the highlights of what was said immediately following the win.
+ Penn State is a difficult matchup for them. They have great leadership.
+ The bench carried them in this game and the players made plays on offense.
+ They were not good enough defensively but collectively they were great offensively.
+ On defense, they were not playing with enough force, didn’t close space quick enough, were not physical enough on the ball at the point of attack, and were not connected enough but Penn State also made some really hard shots. But he will have to review things in film.
+ C.J. Walker plays the same amount of minutes as he did before his injury but comes off the bench. “He’s a sixth starter. There’s no question, he sees it that way as do I. We have six starters.” He has done a great job and was tremendous in this game. “He’s old and he understands the game. He’s got great maturity and how well he has played speaks to his character and shows how invested he is. He is a high-character kid who understands winning.”
+ On Duane Washington Jr., Holtmann said he has gotten better with his efficiency. “I have loved his efficiency here as of late.”
+ He thinks Seth Towns will be fine but will have to talk to the trainer. “We are really banged up. I almost had to pull Kyle [Young] in the guts of the game and Musa [Jallow]. We need to have a really good day in the training room tomorrow.”
+ On wearing a towel over his shoulder in memory of John Thompson, Holtmann said he would like to coach his team the way Thompson coached his team. He would love for people to say his teams play with that competitive spirit and discipline. When he heard about the towel and wearing it the way he wore it, Holtmann said he didn’t wear it near as well because it fell off numerous times, but he was an icon in the game and was glad they had a chance to honor him.
+ “That was a tough one as we expected it to be.”
+ On trusting that they were not looking ahead, Holtmann said he knew in shoot-around that they had great preparation. He knew they were locked in and prepared well. They brought the right amount of focus and is glad they were rewarded with a win. He did not think they were looking at anything beyond this Penn State game.
+ Having older guards is critical because they have been through all of these moments and they are fearless. It’s how they play and it’s who they are. But they understand what winning possessions late look like.
+ On struggling defensively early on, Jallow said Penn State was aggressive and they have good offensive players. But they weren’t communicating as much as they needed to.
+ On starting the second half, they believed in themselves and knew they could pull it out. They needed to put their foot on the pedal, be aggressive, and stay confident and it worked out.
+ They knew Penn State had good numbers from 3 at home.
+ They are a deep team. Everybody brings something to the table and can contribute when it is their time.
+ Michigan is a big game but they are enjoying this win and then will lock in on Michigan on Friday.
+ He does his same routine everyday and doesn’t worry about his playing time or the minutes he regularly gets. They have so many good players and it’s always a great time seeing everybody else play well.
+ Being in college basketball for so long, he knows this game is a game of runs. He knows how to gather the team and focus on one possession at a time. This team does that really well and did at a high level in the second half.
+ The defense sparked the big run in the second half because they didn’t give Penn State second-chance points and offensive rebounds were huge.
+ On coming back from his injury, Walker said he is getting a lot better. He gets a lot of treatment and plays with three fingers taped together. He is getting better with it and is getting more comfortable with it.
+ On embracing coming off the bench, Walker said he and Coach Holtmann had a talk and the team was rolling, they were playing well, he didn’t want to mess up the flow. He still plays a lot of minutes so he didn’t have any resistance. They have a really good team and all fit in. Once he gets on the floor he just goes hard each and every play.
+ He is really confident right now. A lot of teams forget about his capabilities offensively and he takes advantage of it.
+ This was not an easy game to win. That’s every night in the Big Ten.
+ Ohio State hasn’t won at Penn State in four years. That was a big focus for them to change that narrative.
+ They have had the Michigan game circled on the calendar. It’s a big game for them.
[Photo via Ohio State Department of Athletics]