COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio State is back in the win column with a 79-75 double overtime win vs Maryland at home on Saturday. The Buckeyes snapped a five game losing streak and secured its first win since a 79-67 victory against Penn State on Jan. 20.
Head coach Chris Holtmann met with the media following the win, along with Roddy Gayle Jr. and Bruce Thornton. You can read a summary of what was said below. You can also watch the full press conferences.
+ The team was gutsy and stayed with it and kept swinging.
+ On knowing if his team was capable of being this tough, Holtmann said they have improved on their toughness and their minds have been in a pretty good place, so their toughness came from that. “You never know until it truly happens, but I was confident with how they were prepared.”
+ On winning a game this way, Holtmann said he loves some of what they’ve had from their foundational players like Bruce Thornton, Roddy Gayle Jr., Dale Bonner — a lot of players who have had the right approach.
+ On Bruce Thornton at the end of the game, Holtmann said they met this week and talked through some things they needed to do to help Thornton out, but they wanted him to have a more aggressive mindset because they trust him to make the right play and right read.
+ On smiling after the win, Holtmann said he was really happy for the team. They have worked hard, they are good kids, and they’ve been close — the other day was a gut punch, and he felt terrible for that. The fans were unbelievable in this game, it was a good crowd and the fans carried them the last 15 minutes.
+ On using this momentum, Holtmann said they will still learn from this. They were not as detailed as they needed to be in the last two minutes of the Indiana game, and they were better in that today.
+ He is really happy for Zed Key. Holtmann was doubtful he would play after being out sick and he was trying not to use him, but he came in and gave them a lift when they needed it. He was highly engaged. “Really happy for him.”
+ They weren’t great the first 10 minutes defensively, but then they settled in. Maryland’s defense has been their strength, so they knew it would be hard to score. But once they settled in defensively, they found their game plan and made the adjustments on that end.
+ “You’d always rather teach from a win.” They had been getting better but they needed to feel the validation of a win and hopefully it’s something they can build on.
+On making critical shots late, Thornton said they needed to have swagger today and they felt that. They had confidence and a look in their eye that they were going to win this game no matter what.
+ On taking over late, Thornton said he was tired of losing. His teammates backed him up and the coaches believed in him, he felt like “why not.” He trusted in his skillset.
+ The celebration on this one felt good because they fought through the adversity. It’s not going to get any easier, but they showed they can do it.
+ On the mindset with the ball in his hands at the end, Thornton said he knew Julian Reese had four fouls so when he found a lane, he knew it would be a wide open shot.
+ He had straight tunnel vision at the end of the game. He got to his spot on a shot he and Gayle work on after practice every day and once he found that, he was good.
Roddy Gayle Jr.
+ On the last dunk, Gayle Jr. said it felt like everything. It had been a while since they felt that much energy in the building and it felt amazing.
+ The win was a great opportunity for them to show their toughness. They defended in amazing way today and they hope they can continue that. It was a battle of their toughness and they hope to replicate that moving forward.
+ Celebrating a win felt amazing again. They got to sing their song, everybody was smiling and exciting, the emotion felt amazing. Holtmann even smiled.
+ The last three games they have been right there but today they got to complete the job. They corrected their mistakes and put themselves in positions to win and execute.
+ On containing Jahmir Young, Thornton said they knew they needed to make his job harder, make him go to the second option. He’s capable of scoring and they knew they needed to make it hard for him. He was focused on his defense.
+ The bench gave him the go ahead on the windmill dunk at the end.
Photo via Ohio State Dept. of Athletics.