COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio State played in its first Big Ten game in 25 days and defeated the Rutgers Scarlet Knights on Wednesday night at home by a score of 76-72.
Ohio State secured its 12th win of the season and head coach Chris Holtmann, along with two players met with the media immediately following the win. You can read the highlights of what was said and watch the full interviews below.
+ He knew Rutgers would be good and hard to play against. “It’s going to be a dog fight going back up there.”
+ On what it took to keep answering, Holtmann said the offensive rebounding was big and then Evan Mahaffey converting that lob. “There were stretches of the last five minutes where they [Rutgers] got to their spots and we allowed them to get to their spots and we had trouble getting to ours and we have to correct that.” They have to play with more force and physicality to not get blown off of their spots.
+ The sign of this team has been good poise down the stretch.
+ On Jameson Battle hitting five straight 3s in his first five shots, Holtmann said he has a real comfort level and knows where the shots are coming from and what the team expects. He is much more comfortable out there and he’s gotten there quicker than most transfers. He plays well with the flow of the offense.
+ On Roddy Gayle Jr. as a closer, Holtmann said he doesn’t get real high, he doesn’t get real low and players need that in those situations. “The moment’s not too big for him.” He has an evenness to how he plays and he’s confident.
+ On sharing the ball well, Holtmann said they focused on their paint and rim reads. The team has to play selfless and they have bought into that.
+ The vibe is good coming out of this game but he feels challenged and motivated to get them better in a few areas. But he feels good about their poise, sharing the ball, and defensive effort. “I feel really good.”
Senior Forward Jameson Battle
+ The win feels good but there’s a lot to work on. “In this league there’s no off nights.” Now they have to embrace the grind and keep going.
+ The mantra has been to ‘not flinch’ and they took that from the Penn State game. They didn’t flinch in this game and had a next play mentality.
+ On the ball movement, Battle said when they’re flowing, that’s what it looks like. “In the first half, when we executed our offense, we got rewarded.”
+ His teammates are always encouraging him to shoot. He is confident and stays in the flow of the offense. It comes back to the trust they have in each other.
Sophomore Guard Bruce Thornton
+ It was a great team win. They were sharing the ball on offense, Roddy Gayle Jr. hit big time free throws, and they made stops defensively when they needed to.
+ In any given night it can be anyone on the team who gets hot.
+ Gayle Jr. is a great teammate and leader. Everyone has a role to play on the team, even if their shots aren’t falling. They can’t dwell on shots not falling. Gayle Jr. was a key even though he wasn’t making shots — He was solid on the defensive end and hit the free throws to seal the game.
+ Runs happen in basketball but they have the poise and leadership as a team to be able to focus on the next possession. “That’s just how the team is this year.”
+ He was bleeding within his first minute on the game falling hard on the floor. He had to get a new jersey set. Thornton said that’s how it is in the Big Ten — it’s physical.
Photo via Ohio State Dept. of Athletics.