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Postgame Quotes
Ohio State (20-9, 10-8 Big Ten) 52, Northwestern (17-12, 9-9 Big Ten) 47
March 8, 2009
Value City Arena
Attendance: 19,049 (Sellout)

Thad Matta, Ohio State head coach
On the season
“Well I think this was the most amazing, grind-it-out conference season I have ever been a part of. Every night presents a new challenge. So much of it has to do with match ups.”
 
On the game
“I felt we had great energy in the first half and parts of the second. I thought we made big plays down the stretch. Jon’s [Diebler] three and B.J. [Mullens] caused them to make some changes on defense.”
 
On scoring six points over 19 minutes after starting the game on a 21-6 run
“It was frustrating. We lost our poise on offense and became hesitant to shoot the open shot. I told our guys to keep defending and put the ball in the basket.”

Evan Turner, Ohio State sophomore forward/guard
On the lobs to B.J. Mullens
“We’ve been practicing that play in practice. We took advantage today of their 5’10” guy down low. They guarded it pretty well so it took a little while to get it going.”

On William Buford
“Buford was a monster on the glass today. He had eight rebounds. He had an amazing day and really helped out the team a lot.”

On B.J. Mullens
“When B.J. plays well we are a tough team to beat. They worry about the 7-foot monster down low. He helps out a lot especially on defense.”

On the tight wins and losses
“The game is never over. There is always an opportunity to come back and get those key plays. That’s the game of basketball. A little bit of luck helps. We’re on the right track after three tough losses we just kept playing till the end.”

On getting into the NCAA tournament
“We’re not really worried about it yet. I don’t see why we shouldn’t get in. The Big Ten is one of the best and toughest conferences.”

On coming back next season
“I like college basketball and my teammates. I see a lot of potential on this team and I want to come back and win championships. I want to leave here a winner not just someone who almost had it. Right now I have to worry about finals and finishing a paper before I think about next year or I won’t be playing at all.”

B.J. Mullens, Ohio State freshman center
On the defense today
“We really manned up today. We grabbed the boards when we needed to.”

On the identity of the team
“We have grown up a lot through this year. We have gained a lot of maturity.”

Jon Diebler, sophomore guard
On the importance of the win
“It was a big win because it was the last home game and last regular season game of the season and it gives us some momentum going into the Big Ten tournament.”

On if he would vote for Evan Turner for Big Ten Player of the Year
“Hands down. Evan as progressed so much as a player and a leader this season. He does all the little things for us: creating shots, playing tough defense and rebounding. He definitely would have my vote.”

On the identity of the team
“If I were to think of a word to describe a team it would be togetherness. Through tough times even when we’ve lost games, we’ve come together as a unit. I think that is where we have grown the most as a team this season.”

Bill Carmody, Northwestern head coach
On the beginning of the game
“We were a little rattled to start, and then we settled down. Our defense got better in the second half. I told the guys that I thought we were getting decent shots. They pushed our defense far into the perimeter but we did start to make shots in the second half, and then Turner took over. He’s a good player, and he took over the game. I thought it was a close game, and good players stepped up.”

On Ohio State’s pressure
“Our defense was pushed out farther than they had before; they had us at half court. They played the wings harder and put more pressure on guys with the ball.”

On Northwestern’s NCAA tournament future
“Clearly, we have to win Thursday against Minnesota. After that, you wait and see.  If we had won today, I think we would have played Iowa. All of these teams are so evenly matched.”

On the loss
“It’s rough. I liked how the guys came back. I thought they hung in there.  Things weren’t going their way, but they took it to the last play. We’ll go from here.”