INDIANAPOLIS, IN. — Ohio State is one and done in the Big Ten men’s basketball tournament.
Ohio State head coach Chris Holtmann and players E.J. Liddell and Cedric Russell met with the media following the Buckeyes’ 71-68 loss to Penn State on Thursday in the second round of the Big Ten men’s basketball tournament.
Penn State head coach Micah Shrewsberry and Nittany Lions Sam Sessoms and Myles Dread also spoke with reporters after their win.
Here are the highlights of what was said.
+ He doesn’t fault his players’ effort. “It was a hard fought game.”
+ On not scoring for over six minutes in the second half, Holtmann said they thought they had some good looks but they got to the foul line some in that time. “I thought we played as hard tonight as we have in a couple weeks.” They were physical and connected which was good to see. But in general, they have to to make tougher plays. Penn State was physical and the size of their guards bothered them. But they knew that would be an issue.
+ Teams go on runs, they’ve gone on runs themselves. He doesn’t think there’s a consistent theme with allowing teams to go on runs. But when their defense is as strong as it needs to be, it eliminates runs because the offense isn’t as fluid. But they aren’t where they need to be defensively.
+ They had to play Joey Brunk 30 minutes, “that’s a rough assignment.” He thinks he probably played E.J. Liddell and Malaki Branham a bit too much too but he could feel differently after looking at the tape.
+ On Malaki Branham, Holtmann said Penn State’s physicality bothered him. They are relying on a freshman to handle a lot. It’s probably too much to expect of him because they can’t change their age at this point.
+ They beat Penn State twice earlier this season and Kyle Young played a major role in both of those games. They do need another scorer.
+ On having lost the last four out of five games, Liddell said he wishes he knew how. If he knew he would have addressed it with the team. But he can’t explain it.
+ On an inconsistent second half, Liddell credits Penn State. “They are a gritty team and they just play hard.” They were getting to their spots and forcing Ohio State out of their spots.
+ “No excuses from me tonight. We need to play harder. If we don’t know that by now, something is wrong.”
+ They have a week to turn things around. “We go back home and get ready and adjust things we need to fix.” They need to be tougher and better defensively.
+ They need to have a consistent effort on the defensive end. They’ve showed it at times but they just have to get it done. “We’ll go back to the drawing board and figure it out.”
Penn State Postgame Comments
Head Coach Micah Shrewsberry
+ Ohio State is a little banged up in terms of who they had available and who played. They’ve been in a rut because of that but they’re still a really good team. “E.J Liddell is one of the best players in the country.”
+ “Malaki Branham is tough… not tough for a freshman, but tough for a player.” “Those two guys cause problems,” Shrewsberry said of Liddell and Branham.
+ The close losses made them battle tested and they’re starting to find the right rhythm at the right time.
+ On shooting 60 percent or better in the second half for the second night in a row, Shreweberry said they get a better feel but they didn’t make many adjustments offensively. He talked more about their defense at halftime. But their physicality offensively in the first half wasn’t where they needed it to be.
+ “The tougher teams set the rules and I think we were the tougher team in the second half.”
+ Liddell is a great shot blocker and adds a lot to Ohio State defensively, but they were able to take advantage of him being too far off his man at times.
+ Their team found the advantage they wanted and attacked it.
+ “I’m just happy to make it to Friday.” He is happy for everybody on the team.
+ They had a huge focus on being more physical and aggressive in the second half. His spark came from the defensive end.
+ They worked all season on their spacing and getting in ball screens to create separation and “it was beautiful to see it come into fruition in the second half tonight.”
Photo via Ohio State Hoops