March 13, 2009
OHIO STATE QUOTES
THE MODERATOR: We'll have Coach Matta make a couple of opening comments and then we'll take questions for Evan or Jon and then we'll finish up with questions for Coach.
COACH MATTA: Just I think two great teams going at it. We felt like going in this game it was going to come down to the wire.
I think the difference for us, we did a better job from Game 1 taking care of the basketball, and I thought our execution was much better. And that was the big thing we sold our guys on.
And then rebounding. We did a pretty good job rebounding the basketball. It appeared, I don't know, about the 12 minute mark in the second half, and I told these guys Wisconsin right now has all the juice. They've got all the energy. And the last eight minutes somehow someway we've got to get that back, and both of these guys made a couple of big plays.
And we were fortunate to come out on the top side today.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for the players.
Q. Evan, could you talk about what it's like playing with fouls down the stretch there and still taking the ball to the basket and fighting for the rebounds? Did you put the fouls out of your mind or did you have to just forget about them at that point?
EVAN TURNER: I just forgot about them. I saw the game was a winnable game, and, you know, just kind of played with risk. If I was going to go out, I was going to go out fighting, and just trying to help the team get the rebounds needed. I wasn't too really worried about getting fouls, I was worried about attacking and trying to win the game.
Q. Evan, it appeared in the second half that you guys went almost exclusively to taking the ball to the basket and taking it inside. And when you do that, obviously you're going to get to the free throw line a lot, and was there talk about that at halftime that you may have to win this game at the free throw line, and especially the way you guys shot it from the line in the first half, was there talk about making a few more in the second?
EVAN TURNER: I think our mentality is just being aggressive, giving what the defense gave us.
And we were just attacking. The lanes were open. And we were all fortunate enough to get to the basket, get a couple of fouls here and there. And just executing and making free throws. And I think we just took advantage of what they gave us.
Q. Jon, you didn't have a whole lot of looks in the game, but take us through the possession where you hit the 3 that I think put you guys ahead during the game closing run and what you saw and how it felt.
JON DIEBLER: It was just a great read by Evan. I think what set it up was how aggressive he was the last like five or six possessions going to the basket.
And when he's being aggressive, you know, it gives the defense a choice. And he made the right read and I was just thankful for knocking it down.
Q. Evan, with a minute or whatever to go there when you guys called the timeout and you came out, could you talk about what you were doing? Were you just going to wait until you run the clock down and then take it to the basket or what?
EVAN TURNER: The plan was just for me to come off the screen and just make a play like I've been doing.
I don't know what I was really thinking, I was thinking of winning. However they were going to give it to me I was going to take it. I was thinking about taking a basket or making a play.
Q. Regarding what Thad said about when he mentioned that Wisconsin had all the juice and all the energy and somehow you were going to have to find a way to win the game, what did you think about what came to mind as far as how you were going to find a way to win that game?
JON DIEBLER: Just getting stops. I think the start of the second half they scored three, four times in a row, I think.
And, again, Coach was right, we didn't come out with the intensity we needed to. There's been times like that throughout the season where we've done I think tonight we took a step in the right direction. We came together as a group on the floor and said we need to pick up our intensity because we were getting good looks on offense, and we knew defense was going to win the game.
EVAN TURNER: And also we just knew the tougher team's going to win. We knew we had to pick up our toughness and come together and get the stops we needed to get and we knew we could score any time we wanted to. So it's just to get defensive stops was really a plus.
Q. You guys closed the game on a 14 3 run. Did the game feel similar to the one in Madison because it was kind of touch and go in that one, too, and what was the difference for you guys down the stretch this time to be able to close like you did as opposed to up there?
JON DIEBLER: I think today I think we finished possessions a lot better than what we did when we played at Wisconsin. I'm not sure how many offensive rebounds we had. But I think we did a lot better job this game than the last game. We knew Wisconsin was going to go to the glass, and they send four guys to the glass, and they're big.
So I think the first half especially we did a really good job. I think that's kind of why we had the lead going into halftime because we rebounded a lot better than we did over in Madison.
EVAN TURNER: I think also just like in Madison it's for us to take. Up in Madison we didn't take the plays or do the easy things we needed to do in the last couple of minutes to win the game, and Wisconsin pretty much just sat there in Madison and, wow, they gave us the game. Here we just drew the lines. Just got rebounds and made the plays we needed to. So pretty much this is in our hands win or lose it, we felt like.
Q. I'm curious, you looked like you were in pretty good shape as far as the NCAA goes coming in here, but does this make you breathe a little easier? Looks like now you almost certainly should be in.
EVAN TURNER: Makes us breathe a little easier, simple fact that we want to keep playing. First game is over and we want to get ready to get focused for tomorrow. Not really worry about the tournament. There's some good teams here. This is a prestigious tournament. We want to represent well and get to the title game and play some good tomorrow hopefully and do what we came to do.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you. Finish up with questions for Coach.
Q. Thad, the question I asked Evan about the strategy in the second half, just seemed like you went to the basket a lot even when the ball wasn't in his hands. Somebody was taking it to the basket. What was your thought there playing that way in the second half?
COACH MATTA: You know, it wasn't like a conservative, like this is, boom, what we're going to do. I think a lot of things presented itself well. Our spacing allowed those. Evan, I think he missed two layups to start the second half. Had the ball right at the rim and then to convert them.
Really seemed to lead off of that, and William was stretching the defense and when Wisconsin plays us, one thing they've done it two times now, they don't let us shoot 3s. I think they kind of do that to everybody.
And they really lock on Jon as much as they possibly can, and I thought we were just much more patient in letting things happen for us.
Q. You talked about trying to take back the energy later in the second half. Was part of that picking up the pressure defensively and pressure them more?
COACH MATTA: Yeah, felt like when we started the second half, we were just kind of out there. And Wisconsin had the ability to do really whatever they wanted to do. And our pressure points weren't what they needed to be, and they're so well disciplined to kind of pick you apart.
And we were kind of at their mercy, I felt like. And they did a couple of things that Coach Ryan obviously saw and we had to adjust on the fly there.
But I think that was probably the biggest thing for us, just extending and getting our hands up and trying to tip and deflect the balls.
Q. You've talked all year about the development of this team. I'm just wondering, to close a game that was close 14 3 down the stretch, which, you know, similar game to the one in Madison, if you feel like this was a sign of where these guys have come over the last month or whatever?
COACH MATTA: We've had enough practice throughout the course of the Big Ten season, that's for sure. No, I think that hopefully this team is continuing to grow. I mean, the one thing I've said all along about this season is in my mind I think we've gotten a lot better.
The problem is this league, you don't get to see it, because every game I mean, you don't ever see the light at the end of the tunnel. Congratulations, we beat a great team in Wisconsin. You've got Michigan State tomorrow. It's sort of been that way.
But for us to come from behind and make the plays that we had to make, couldn't be prouder of these guys. And, like I said, I think we've gotten a lot, lot better. In my mind I think we have. But you don't get to see it when you go out and play the games because the competition is so good.
Q. Along those same lines, last year your team got really good at the end, you ended up in the NIT and winning the NIT, which is obviously not where you want to be, but do you see that here? As I was asking the players, you obviously want to get in the NCAA Tournament. You've got young players who are getting better. Is this a plus that way? Nothing's ever certain, I guess.
COACH MATTA: It's funny, because it's like I've said, I told somebody before the game with this basketball team, every day with the youthfulness of it has been kind of like a new adventure. And from explaining to a couple of guys and we laughed about it yesterday, how the Big Ten Tournament works and where it is, they didn't know where it was, and all that stuff, and you try to keep in your mind, hey, we could have this team back next year, and a lot of the guys the following year.
I think all the lessons, as they continue to play better, is very exciting for our staff and hopefully our program. And as we keep moving through this, you know, I just hope we keep getting better.
And I think they have. I love this team from the standpoint somebody asked me the other day, a media person, they said this appears to be the most challenging year you've ever had. And I said it's been challenging because the stretch through the Big Ten.
But this has been I love this team. These guys come in. They go to work every single day. They don't know any different. We've probably practiced this team harder than any team we've ever practiced. And they just keep coming at us.
Q. Somebody came up to me in the closing minutes and said does every game end the same way for Ohio State, and they were talking about Evan running the point. And I said I guess the strategy is until somebody stops it, keep on running. Is that your attitude towards what you're doing with him at the close of games?
COACH MATTA: Yeah, a lot of it is really predicated on what the defense is going to do and he had the biggest thing, he set himself up in the first half to be successful in the second half by what he was doing. And I think that's one of the big lessons Evan's got to continue to learn. He had a couple of assists there and was moving better without the basketball, some things we've been asking him to do.
And he saw the rewards of it today.
Q. The contributions you got from Jeremie, P.J. and Dallas, there was a stretch where Evan was on the bench a lot at the end of the first half. And you guys hung in there, actually took the lead. How big was that stretch in the contributions of everybody up and down the roster?
COACH MATTA: Very important. We had Jon and Evan sitting; those are our 40 minute guys. And both guys had two fouls in the first half. We ran the risk, put Jon back in, and fortunately I think he got a bucket, if I'm not mistaken.
But, no, those three guys did a great job. Kyle Madsen did a great job on the defensive end. He wishes he had that pass back. But they sparked us in and Will's shot there at the end of the half gave us a little jolt of energy because I didn't think we had played particularly well and we had to weather a lot of storms, and I think that excited the locker room there at halftime.
Q. Do you view this in any way as an NCAA elimination game or do you think one or maybe both teams have done enough?
COACH MATTA: Honestly, I viewed this game coming into this game both teams were in. Maybe you can help yourself with a seed. We're probably right around there. But I mean, Wisconsin, obviously with what they've done all year and what we've done, the biggest thing is for us and Wisconsin, who finished fourth and fifth, are tied, whatever it was, and the discrepancy to second and third is one game in the No. 2 league in the country.
For us, this shouldn't have come down to a one game season. Both teams did enough from November all the way through in finishing 10-8 in this league, both teams are in great shape.
Q. Is that what you told the players, though?
COACH MATTA: No, no. No, I told them we've got a lot of work still to do.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach.
THE MODERATOR: We'll ask Coach Ryan to make a quick opening comment about the game and then we'll take questions for Joe Krabbenhoft and Marcus Landry. And then we'll finish with questions for Coach Ryan.
COACH RYAN: We knew it would be pretty much a possession by possession game. And it was. It was typical of the one we had at our place.
But in the last five minutes you gotta knock some shots down. And unfortunately we didn't. And Turner made a lot of good plays. He's that good. And he also helped create some things for the other guys. But he proved why he's I would easily say the best player in the league. Because he gets things done. And he makes his team successful.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Joe or Marcus.
Q. Since you were both involved in guarding Turner, could you talk about guarding Turner, especially down the stretch and what you were trying to do and what happened?
MARCUS LANDRY: Well, Joe guarded him a lot more than I did. But it's a team game. Like Coach said, he's a great player. And he proved today why he's I think the leading scorer in the league and why they won today. The thing we were trying to do is kind of force him into other guys on the court like we did the first game.
But he made plays. And he scored. And he also found other guys when he needed to.
JOE KRABBENHOFT: Marcus said it right. Evan's a great player. He did it down the stretch. He stepped up and led his team. They were down a couple, I remember, and he just took control of the game. Took control of the ball every time we were on defense it seemed like he had the ball and he was in control and you just gotta try to make it tough for him. And he made it look easy.
Q. Joe, the scoring problems going in long droughts like you have had problems with all season reared its ugly head here again. No field goals in the final 5:58. Could you talk about what you guys weren't doing or what Ohio State was doing that made scoring such a problem?
JOE KRABBENHOFT: We've got to step up and knock down shots. I thought we had a few good looks and they just didn't go down for us. That's on the players. And Ohio State, we've been going against their zone the whole game. The game before, they ran that zone.
So we knew where to get the looks, and we tried to get the ball to those places, and we've just got to step up and knock them down and we just didn't execute as far as shots going in.
Q. Joe, do you feel you need to sweat it out for an NCAA bid at this point, or do you think this team has done enough to impress the committee?
JOE KRABBENHOFT: That's not anything that we can talk about. We're not in control of that anymore.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you. Questions for Coach.
Q. Bo, I would ask you the same thing about the NCAA and your resume and what this loss in the first round or the quarterfinals does to that?
COACH RYAN: That's just it. It's the quarterfinals. We earned our way to the quarterfinals by finishing seven of our last nine on the plus side. So I look at the other teams out there and everything else. For that question to even be asked, that's fine. But if you look at the teams we played, we played a tough schedule.
There's nothing I can say that would do anything. But you get 50 shots in a game like this and the other team gets 38 and the guys are right. They know they hit some shots. But Ohio State's a good team. We didn't play some 70th RPI team. I think Ohio State was somewhere around us. Neutral court. Hard fought battle. Our guys accept the results because they can't change them. But it will be what it will be.
Q. Seemed like Ohio State when they started extending the pressure, started pressuring you more in the back court sort of made your guys a little bit uncomfortable?
COACH RYAN: They were doing it early, too, they did that in stages, but still down at the other end I really liked some of the looks. They were taking away pretty much anything inside. But some of those looks from 3, boy, you'd like to have them back. If you're in a shooting drill and you have that shot and the person throws the ball back out to you if you could take two in a row, two for a dollar, three for a dollar, you'd probably hit the next two. And the problem is from that time to the next time to get a good one like that, a lot of things have happened.
But I really thought our ball movement wasn't bad. We didn't turn it over. We didn't give them stuff. I thought our guys, other than the pass that Trevon made to Jason Bohannon there at half court, I thought we did a pretty good job of getting to a look and then not enough we needed to get one or two more offensive rebounds.
The last field goal we hit or one of the last ones was an offensive rebound kick out to Trevon Hughes and he hit the three. And that's more like touching the post, getting it out, only the post pass came off of an offensive rebound. We had a couple others like that, too. If you can stick 'em, it sure makes a difference.
Q. No field goals the final 5:58, any thought of going to Jordan? He had three assists and no turnovers in the first half. He started to facilitate things
COACH RYAN: He had a drive to the basket and flipped up an AAU wild shot. He didn't handle that real well. So maybe first time in the Big Ten Tournament, that type thing. But the other guys were very capable that we had on the floor of knocking shots down. Jordan had his opportunities.
I don't ever go, oh, I should have put this guy or should have did that guy. No. The guys I have on the floor I believe in. Always have. Nobody asked if you're on the plus side of 5 beating an Ohio State, did you ever think of putting this other guy in?
You feel the same way with the guys no matter what the score comes out. You have them out there for a reason. Just so you know, I've never been asked that question before with a win, why didn't you go with this guys.
Q. Talk about Jon's work facilitating the offense against the zone out of the high post.
COACH RYAN: Jon's stretch, we did some things to give their zone that look, and sometimes we used a big, sometimes we used a small, sometimes we used an in between.
But that's the whole idea of giving the good looks, to see how they're matching up with it and what they do. And Jon did a good job. He had some good wide open shots up there. I think he hit one of them. Couple other jump shots he had, too.
Shooting percentage, when you look at the guards again, it's very troubling for the rest of the team to be able to think that J Bo (Bohannon), Pop (Hughes) and Jordan can shoot, what was it, seven for 27. Sometimes you've just got to say as a player I've got to make some shots.
Taking care of the ball, I liked the hustle. We were on the floor and getting after it. And if you're in that situation again, you've got to have people step up and knock 'em down.
Q. You looked a bit mystified by the technical foul. What happened?
COACH RYAN: I have no idea. Then I'm asked by ESPN at halftime what about the flagrant elbow or forearm, or not flagrant, but I'm asked about what was said from the bench, I guess, was the only thing the assistants can say is they all yelled Marcus just got knocked down.
So then I'm asked by the media why didn't they call that forearm to the neck of to Marcus Landry. I'm like how can I answer that? I can't answer that. What kind of answer can I give to it?
So, anyhow, I guess the guys on our bench and a bunch of fans behind us yelled at the official about Marcus getting forearmed or something. I don't know. Maybe she had somebody in earphones saying there was a foul into Landry.
But you're not allowed to sit with a computer that has the running game on it and a coach is not allowed to look at that computer during the game. That's illegal. So I couldn't see it or go have somebody look at it and tell me and we're not allowed to get signals down from upstairs from the box. So what was she talking about? Does anybody know?
Q. Lauderdale appeared to knock Marcus down.
COACH RYAN: That's what the assistants saw, because they yelled, hey, he knocked 'em down, is the only thing they can think of that they said. But they weren't the only ones. There were people I think even the policeman that was sitting there behind the bench, there was somebody else yelled. I could hear everybody yelling.
But I can't criticize officials. I can't say anything. But that halftime interview I was led to say something but I didn't bite. I said I have no idea. By the way, we shot the ball, you probably know that.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach.