COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio State head coach Chris Holtmann, along with Zed Key and Isaac Likekele answered questions from reporters in their postgame press conferences following the 65-60 loss to Wisconsin on Thursday night. Wisconsin head coach Greg Gard also met the media.
Here are the highlights of what was said. You can also watch the full press conferences below.
+ Obviously a tough game, tough loss.
+ He’s been ejected twice, once he asked for it because the game was over. He’s coaches hundreds of games and never has come close to being ejected. This was an official he couldn’t communicate with the entire game. The first technical was warranted, he thought it was a flop, but he doesn’t believe the second one was warranted. But he needs to be more composed. They wouldn’t tell him anything, he couldn’t talk to him all night. That’s all he wanted to do. He couldn’t talk the whole time, “he didn’t want to hear it.” He would like to be able to talk to officials.
+ “We all have to be better and it begins with me.” Their start has to be better, they have to play smarter and harder, and coach better. They play harder when they’re down and their effort was not what it needed to be.
+ On the late catalyst, Holtmann said they have played better at times when they have been down. That was evident.
+ They need more from their leaders. “We all need to do better, we need more.”
+ “We had no bite early.”
+ On getting out of the slump, Holtmann said it’s his job as the coach to figure that out and they’re spending hours trying to do that and perform at a higher level. He doesn’t have the answers right now.
+ The players like each other. He has challenged their leadership, but that’s on everybody.
+ There have been times they have played well and lost. Turnovers tonight were a significant issue and their lack of bite early was a significant issue, and then he takes responsibility for them not being as poised as they needed to be.
+ They didn’t come out with the fight and bite they needed to in this game. He takes responsibility for that as a leader and as a veteran. He can’t explain why that keeps happening.
+ On Holtmann being thrown out, Key said it gave them extra fire and they rallied.
+ On internal issues with the team, Key said they are still a “together team.” There’s no problems in the locker room, they all still hang out, but they’re just in a slump right now.
+ It’s frustrating because no one wants to lose but they are just in a slump right now. Their preparation has been good, they are just coming up short.
+ He continues to tell the team to keep their heads up and keep working hard. The younger guys are hungry and are ready to work. They will get back at it.
+ Jake Diebler did a good job, he filled in for Holtmann and the staff was on the same page because they communicate everyday in practices. He was an extension on Holtmann.
+ On getting stops in the last few minutes to come back, Likekele said they were more locked in on that end and they had more bite in getting stops. They just have to play like more during the game.
+ He is still working better everyday to get better. As long as players are doing that, they can figure it out together.
+ On the difference in this game, Likekele said they came out the minute they started the game, they were hungry. They got up to a 16 point lead. “We’re at home, they can’t come out more hungry than us.”
+ On the turnovers, Likekele said that’s a players thing. they can’t win games that way. “We gotta correct it. I gotta correct it.”
+ The key is how you respond and the team has put their heads down and kept working to get better. They were aggressive in the first half. They anticipated the thrust back from Ohio State late and his team didn’t execute well later on but he’s happy for his team.
+ On coming in and winning after losing six out of their last seven, it comes down to connection and staying the course. He trusts the process and what he does day in and day out. Every team goes through it and Ohio State is going through that now. It often starts with injuries.
+ On the difference in this game, Gard said it was about staying the course and playing every possession.