COLUMBUS, Ohio — Following, Ohio State’s 73-62 win against Maryland on Wednesday night, Ohio State head coach Chris Holtmann, along with the three seniors, answered questions from reporters.
Kevin Willard also briefly spoke with the media following the Terrapins’ loss.
Here are the highlights of what was said. You can also watch the full press conferences below, along with Ohio State’s senior night ceremony.
+ It was a great night. The team had a different look in their eyes. “We were able to keep them at distance.”
+ On the way the seniors set the tone, Holtmann said they have played better and their confidence was boosted. The emotions can get the best of teams and they have lost on senior day before, but the players had a different look in their eyes. He is really happy for Justice Sueing, he has had his struggles but he has a good way about him right now. There was some real pride with the seniors, even with some only being here for nine months.
+ The team is in a good mindset right now and he is thinking as a coach of how he could have gotten them there earlier but they are playing quality basketball and are playing quality possessions. The losing stretch weighs on him and those will be thoughts he will have in the off season, but right now he is still focused on the work.
+ Offensively, they passed it and made the right plays. They also had clean looks and made the shots.
+ On Felix Okpara, they’ve been seeing flashes of him and it has been impressive, but his performance in this game was validation.
+ “You could tell the whole team was really happy for the seniors.”
+ On handling the response to a win, Holtmann said they have been practicing well the last few weeks and it has gotten better, even through the losing streak, they were practicing pretty well. They felt like sooner or later that would pay dividends. In the last month they have had way more good practices than poor practices. The players had to have a belief they would see some results, even as they were running games. They came in to be together, be coachable, and worked.
+ They hadn’t lost on senior nights before at their other schools, and this was their senior night, so they all came out with a different look in their eyes, they wanted this one really bad.
+ The preparation after Iowa wasn’t great, they got caught up in that win. They have been doing things the right way and they are playing the right way. “Knock on wood, we’re getting hot at the right time.”
+ The team stayed together and stayed connected.
+ On building momentum, Likekele said the players are remaining steady and are not getting too high with wins, just like they didn’t get too low in losses.
+ On finding his teammates offensively, Likekele said his teammates make it easy because they have so many shooters. The coaches are building his confidence in the post.
+ The fact that they had fun today is the biggest takeaway and for him to play in front of his mom was special. “Everything was so special.”
+ On his four years and the senior night, Sueing said getting this win was really important. He wanted to leave The Schott on a good note and keep momentum going. He is really proud of his teammates, they have stayed together and have continued building.
+ On the leis, Sueing said his family brought them from Hawaii, it’s a celebratory thing there. Even though he had only one year with these seniors, they have built a special bond and brotherhood.
+ “We had a lot of fun out there. Getting caught up in losing streaks, you can kind of lose that feeling.”
+ The freshman are really special players. They are creating a good foundation for themselves and for the program.
+ Chris Holtmann has done a good job developing his freshman. Felix Okpara played well.
+ On chasing Ohio State’s run, Willard said Ohio State’s defense was aggressive. They played very well. His team had some opportunities at the rim that they missed.
+ On not being able to win on the road in the Big Ten, Willard said this game was frustrating because they didn’t play well. They have played well at times on the road even with losing the game.
+ This Ohio State team just beat Illinois, “everyone in this league has talent.” They have to be ready to play any team.
Photo via Ohio State Hoops.