COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio State head coach Chris Holtmann, along with Isaac Likekele and Sean McNeil met with the media immediately following the Buckeyes’ 70-67 loss against Minnesota on Thursday night and Ohio State’s third loss in a row. Minnesota head coach Ben Johnson also spoke following the Golden Gophers’ victory in Columbus.
Here are the highlights of what was said along with the full press conference videos.
+ Minnesota played well and deserved to win.
+ On a three game losing streak and tough losses, Holtmann said they’re not guarding great and not playing together enough. This was their poorest offensive performance of the year and there’s a lot to clean up there.
+ Minnesota going under ball screen bothered them.
+ He thinks he made a mistake playing Key as long as he did. He gave it a go but with him not practicing, it was an error by Holtmann to play him that much.
+ “We weren’t ever really in this game in feeling like we imposed our will.” The team did a great job crawling back and executing late but even if they won, they didn’t earn this one.
+ On the block, Holtmann said it looked like a clean block but that’s what the officials called and they shouldn’t have been in that situation.
+ It came down to defensive effort and poor shot selection. Their offense had not been an issue up to this point.
+ On good things that happened in this game, “we’ve got a lot to clean up.” They did a good job coming back into it but they have a lot to clean up.
+ More than anything they needed to play more connected offensively and because of that they took some poor shots. That was the most disappointing part.
+ On processing a loss like this and moving forward, Holtmann said they aren’t focusing on the big picture. They have to focus on processing the task at hand and that’s getting better.
+ There are things they have to fix internally. Their offense wasn’t clicking today and they didn’t seem like they wanted to be out there, they weren’t in tune with the task at hand. They didn’t have energy and Minnesota punched them in the mouth.
+ They let Minnesota get going and it was tough to come back from. “It wasn’t just one side of the ball.”
+ They shouldn’t have to rely on Sensabaugh to score 25+ every night to win. They will figure it out. Their mistakes are correctable and fixable.
+ There’s a short turnaround to Rutgers and they can’t sulk on this one. “We didn’t play up to our standards offensively or defensively.”
+ On the losing streak, Likekele said it’s basketball and teams go on runs and teams lose. They have to figure out how to deal with this adversity and they will learn how to get up out of this.
+ On weather or not it was a clean block, Likekele said it is what it is and they have to figure out how to not get in that position. They can’t put the game in the refs hand and they have to do things better leading up to that point.
+ They have to lock in on defense. They can’t win by allowing people to score 70+ points. They got a few wins outscoring teams but in the Big Ten they have to get stops. They can and need to get better at rebounding and need to stay locked in the whole game on the defensive side.
+ On the next few days, Likekele said he will just try to meet the standard at practice tomorrow.
Minnesota Head Coach Ben Johnson
+ Not getting instant gratification in sports is hard but this team believes in themselves. They were playing good basketball but were not closing games but they played hard and competed in this one. Nobody believed they could come in and win this game.
+ He didn’t see anything at the rim with 1.7 seconds left. He saw someone on the floor and then heard the whistle.
+ On what the difference was in this game, Johnson said their challenge was to match Ohio State’s physicality from the start. He had a lot of respect for how Holtmann’s teams play. He knew the first four minutes of each half would be telling and that was huge for their mentality and propelled them through the game. They stepped up to the challenge.
+ On approaching Brice Sensabaugh, Johnson said ‘he’s ultra talented.’ He said Sensabaugh is built like a senior. They wanted to take away his stand still 3s and make him earn his 2s to force him to take tough 2s.
+ They haven’t been shooting free throws well but they made the one that matters.
+ Ohio State is explosive on offense and they wanted to put size in as much as possible but they wanted Ohio State to have to go through them to get to the rim. They couldn’t let Ohio State get down hill. “I thought our guys met that challenge.”
+ On going on the 10-0 run late, Johnson credits his leaders and talking in timeouts. They kept the group connected and they needed that response on the road.
Photo via Ohio State Buckeyes.