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Ohio State Postgame: Chris Holtmann, Brice Sensabaugh, and Isaac Likekele Talk 93-77 Win vs Iowa

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio State head coach Chris Holtmann, freshman forward Brice Sensabaugh, and graduate guard Isaac Likekele spoke following the Buckeyes’ 93-77 win vs Iowa on Saturday. Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery also answered questions from reporters.

Here are the highlights of what was said following the win.

Chris Holtmann

+ “Certainly needed it like our next breath. A lot of contribution from a lot of guys. The system Iowa plays is unique and is tough to guard but a lot of credit to a lot of guys.”

+ It feels really good but it’s just one game and that’s the perspective. They are focused on the same thing they are after loss, how they are improving and how they are playing. They had good and disappointing stretches of play in the last five games. The focus is on how they are playing and they made improvements in the areas of focus.

+ The players made plays and they were a group that was dialed in. But they still have a ton of areas where they have to get better and that’s a byproduct of having a young group. There are still areas they need to clean up.

+ The challenge of a coach is to try to get in the minds of 18-22 year olds and to do that consistently. He has tried to coach to the heart as much as possible.

+ Zed Key’s injury does not look long term as of now. He dunked it because he said he was open. He does feel some pain but it doesn’t look long term.

+ Isaac Likekele’s break set him back a bit and Holtmann was apprehensive to throw him back into things. But his performance was phenomenal, his numbers and guarding a top draft pick. His impact needs to be significant for this group. “We need to rely on him more than I have and that’s on me.” He was able to attack matchups and get out in transition. “I just wanted him to be Isaac.” He was certainly that and some.

+ Bruce Thornton is great and will be one of the best point guards in the country before his time here is done.

+ Justice Sueing did a good job coming off of the bench, he brought a lot of life in the first half.

+ They put in a few things to move the ball a bit more and that allowed players to free up.

+ They looked like a heavy team the other night at Nebraska, carrying the weight of a couple of losses. He wanted to change that.

+ He has met with the captains more. They are the touch point of the team and determine so much. They have included Bruce Thornton in that group too.

Brice Sensabaugh

+ He’s seen how easy it is to lose and what it takes to win.

+ There were too many turnovers on his end. He was trying to be aggressive. But he wanted to flip the switch quickly and play better.

+ They haven’t been doing anything differently but just attacking practice every day with the right mindset. This is one win but their work will pay off eventually. “Things like this are bound to happen when you work like this.”

+ He has been trying less and less to force things. He has been getting more comfortable in taking what the defense gives them.

Isaac Likekele

+ It feels good and does something for their confidence to get back in the win column. It’s a momentum thing and it’s important to get back in the win column, especially for the freshman. It was an important win.

+ They win or lose together. He is proud of how the team has performed every day. They go through the processes no matter the result and today they came out with the win. He is proud of that.

+ He has different roles in different games. Today they needed to get to a quick start and the captains wanted to step up early and take care of business.

+ On looking for his offense today, Likekele said humbly, it’s nothing he hasn’t done before. But in a new environment and a new team, the team makes it easier on him every day. He has been working and believes it will show up. The results will show up.

+ It feels good to be back in the win column, regardless of his stats. He could have 0s across the board, but as long as they win he is happy.

+ They didn’t go into practices looking around asking why they were losing or looking to change anything drastically. They knew why and they came into practice with the right mentality. The coaches have given them the plan, they have to execute and close games. They went back to practice, listened, and worked hard.

+ “It’s just one win, but it could be the start of something.”

+ On not getting much from Bruce Thornton, Likekele said Thornton will ball in the next game. He will rest up and recover and do what he needs to do. He was the happiest one with the win, “you would have thought he put up 30.”

Fran McCaffery

+ Isaac Likekele is a veteran guy, he’s a good player. He’s just another one of their good offensive weapons

+ The ball security was unacceptable. He gives Ohio State credit but says his team can’t turn the ball over 14 times on the road and expect to win.

+ They had poor defensive effort on the glass. Ohio State didn’t miss many shots but when they did they got another chance.

+ Ohio State has proven that they can beat people and they have a lot of different weapons and a lot of depth. Chris Holtmann is one of the best in the business. Iowa respects this program, their numbers speak for themselves.

+ On quick shooting offensively as Ohio State had the lead, McCaffery said they want to play fast but it’s important to get a good shot. Players were trying to be aggressive. “We’ll learn from it I think.”

+ On the division of labor from Ohio State offensively, McCaffery said their offensive system is set and they are good on both ends of the floor. They fight on the glass and Holtmann’s teams share the ball. “It’s not a five-man team and they proved that.”

+ Eight offensive rebounds is tough to overcome.

+ Sensabaugh is a tremendous shot maker. He plays at his pace and with a lot of confidence. Holtmann does a great job of going to him and building his confidence.

+ They turned the ball over at times they had chances to get up and take a lead.

+ “We’re a better team than we played today.”

Photo via Ohio State Buckeyes. 

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