Men's Basketball

Ohio State Men’s Basketball Postgame: Chris Holtmann, Players Talk 87-75 Loss to No. 14 Illinois

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio State fell short in a 87-75 loss to No. 14 Illinois on Tuesday night, its third loss in a row and sixth out of its last eight games.

Head coach Chris Holtmann, Roddy Gayle Jr., and Evan Mahaffey met with the media immediately following the game. Here are the highlights of what was said. You can also watch the full press conferences below.

Chris Holtmann

+ They played better than the other night but not good enough.

+ On the stretch to close the first half where they scored one field goal in six minutes, Holtmann said that was a critical stretch and the foul trouble made it tough. That was a critical momentum shift with the missed free throws and missed clean looks.

+ On the issue defensively, Holtmann said they better fix it. If they don’t get better in that area quickly… “we have to get way better on that end right now. We have to be way more committed than we are.”

+ On Illinois making open 3s, Holtmann said in a few cases, their trapping got Illinois open looks. There were a few they were ok with, but some were from Ohio State’s trapping of their drive the post guys.

+ Bruce Thornton has had a bit of a tough stretch but he will be fine. He has logged a lot of minutes and carried a heavy load. “I have absolute 100 percent confidence that Bruce is going to have an excellent end to the year.”

+ Right now they are not responding great to the adversity of the game.

+ He feels like there were stretches where they played much better. But it’s not long enough to be able to beat a good team, and it wasn’t good enough to beat a good team. He will need to look at the film.

Roddy Gayle Jr. 

+ They had a high level of urgency going into he game but there has to be another level to it for them to achieve their goals. They need to be “everyday guys.”

+ Everybody is still bringing energy and effort into practices. This does not feel like last year.

+ They have to learn how to adjust to players having a great night. The coaches drew up a good game plan, they just didn’t execute that.

+ Illinois is a great team. They are ranked in the Top 25 for a reason.

+ They feel an improvement, and 75 points is enough to win, but giving up 87 is way too much. They need to focus on the defensive end and the offense will come.

+ Everybody on this team wants to win so bad but they are not getting the results they want. They put themselves in positions to make plays, but fall short.

+ There’s a level of urgency but it motivates them to get better each day. “We just have to learn.”

+ He is doing everything he can to not feel the pain he felt last season.

Evan Mahaffey

+ They were not where they needed to be defensively in this game. Illinois got a lot of buckets in transition, and rebounding was not where it needed to be.

+ Everybody is still coming to work everyday, ready to give it their all. They have the right mentality.

+ They need to be able to execute consistently. They do it in stretches, but they have to make it a habit, even if they are tired.

+ His teammates gave him the support he needed to feel more confident in his shots.

+ They see their improvements each day, see their work each day, so people are down but they can’t be down for long. They are looking at it as how they can get better for the next game.

Photo via Ohio State Buckeyes.

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