Basketball

Chris Holtmann, Buckeyes React Following Big Win Over #11 Rutgers

Following Ohio State’s impressive 80-68 comeback win over Rutgers, Buckeye head coach Chris Holtmann spoke with reporters about the game. Also spending some time with the media were junior guard Duane Washington and sophomore forward EJ Liddell. Here are the highlights from everything that was said in the Ohio State postgame.

Chris Holtmann

— A lot of respect for this Rutgers team. He hopes Jacob Young is healthy and playing better after a nasty fall on a dunk attempt.

— Give Rutgers credit for making things tough for the Buckeyes, but Ohio State responded. Some good and bad things to take from this game.

— “Players turned the tide of this game. They made the necessary plays.” Duane Washington’s “bang, bang, bang threes” were needed. Kyle Young was great. “We rode EJ quite a bit there.”

— On EJ Liddell: “I’m not going away from that kid.” Doesn’t matter what he’s “0-fer,” Holtmann is not going away from him.

— He doesn’t pay attention to Twitter so he’s unaware of the Rutgers complaints on social media. He’s also not sure what the Steve Pikiell technical was about. He thought this was a well-officiated game by a great officiating crew. It was a typical Big Ten game.

— Rutgers’ proficiency in shooting stunned them early and it shouldn’t have. Ohio State needed to play harder in the second half and they did.

— The ability to come back is more intangible than tangible. It’s about staying committed to how you are supposed to play. You have to have good players, but “our group has shown resolve and poise necessary and it’s good to see.”

— There was nothing specific about Justice Sueing’s play that caused him to lose minutes. That was a “rotation thing.” At the end of games in Big Ten play, the toughest guys will play. There are guys who need to continue to grow in that area, “and they will.” At the end of the game, the group that is playing the toughest together will be on the court.

— They were fortunate to get the score down to 10 points at the half.

— Seth Towns played hard and competed. Defensively he has to get better. They needed to sub him out but he’ll get better there. He’s going to shoot the ball really well when he gets his legs under him. He kept the ball alive today and did a great job. “Really happy for him.” Got his first couple of points in a game where they really needed him.

— Ron Harper, Jr. is a very difficult matchup. He’s big and athletic and moves. Good athlete and strong, plus he can shoot. He can drive. He’s a mismatch nightmare, but OSU was able to counterbalance it a bit. Musa Jallow’s play on him and his awareness was as critical as anything in this game. Jallow continues to do a great job defensively against the opponent’s top wings.

— “I think we realized in the offseason when you look at our team that [EJ Liddell] was going to be a focal point for us on the offensive end.” For Ohio State to have a good year, he’s going to have to be a guy that does this regularly. It will be different guys from night to night, but he has to be one of the consistent options offensively on this team. As a freshman you can think a lot and the game is fast for you. As a sophomore, however, he’s thinking less and reacting more.

Duane Washington

— They came out in the second half determined to play Ohio State basketball, which means grinding, grinding, grinding. Basketball is a game of runs and they came out with the win.

— They stuck to what they know. Feed the post, cut through, and give the guys space down low. They did a great job in the paint. Basketball requires you to adapt or you can’t win. “I think we did a good job of attacking where we need to attack.”

— “Buckeye Nation knows that I’m a confident guy.” He’s always going to look for his shot. He expects to make every shot he takes. He’ll keep grinding and getting better.

— There are a lot of veterans on this team and they have seen plenty of things. They know to be poised throughout because that’s the only way to win and come back. “If you treat the game right, it will treat you back better.” They stayed confident and the shots fell in the second half.

— He came off the bench in the second half because he had three fouls and they had to be smart with him.

— Ron Harper, Jr. is a really good play and he makes tough shots. He started missing them in the second half because they never stopped contesting him and never stopped being physical.

EJ Liddell

— They were told to attack the bigs this game, especially in the second half. They felt like whoever was going to grab more offensive rebounds was going to win.

— This was a game of runs, so they stressed on throwing punches throughout and winning every 4-minute war.

— It was good to see Seth Towns get into the box score with rebounds and points.

— He and Kyle Young are always talking to each other about staying confident and staying on each other to make sure they are playing and shooting with confidence.

— They were making some mental mistakes early on against Ron Harper, Jr. In the second half they stopped making mistakes and stayed on him.

— “It’s awesome,” to be a guy who can be trusted to deliver and then go and actually live up to those expectations.

— “When their big man fouled out I kind of grinned inside.”

— He enjoys making his teammates proud of him.

— Seth Towns is a great team player. He hasn’t played in years and he brings great energy every day. They’re all happy for him because they see all of the extra work he puts into this.