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Jan. 3, 2016

POSTGAME QUOTES

Ohio State 75 (10-5, 2-0 BIG), Illinois 73 (8-7, 0-2 BIG)
January 3, 2015   
Value City Arena – Columbus, Ohio
Attendance: 12,798

Thad Matta, Ohio State head coach
On the experience gained during the game
“I think that this was one of those games [where] there were a lot of twists and turns through … [Illinois] hit some of the most timely shots I had ever seen and, give our guys credit, a few weeks ago we probably would have crumbled, but we kept our composure, kept fighting.”

On first half struggles
“I didn’t think we were really efficient. We got off to such a slow start … we didn’t have a great pace to us. I had an odd feeling to start the game like ‘Gosh, we’re not clicking the way we need to.’”

On Marc Loving’s play today
“Marc was very, very efficient tonight. I think that he kind of had a huge three in the corner, but also was able to put the ball down on the floor, got to the foul line. Marc has had a really, really good focus these last few games and as your lone upperclassmen on a basketball team you hope that that’s something we can continue to ride on.”

Marc Loving, Ohio State forward
On the game
“It was a hard fought game from the beginning to the end. It came down to the very end and we had more points than the other team.”

On the message during the timeouts
“Throughout the timeouts, we were just focused on the poise and composure. It was tight throughout the whole game. It was officiated very tightly. So we just focused on being able to play defense without fouling and getting the best shot possible on offense.”

JaQuan Lyle, Ohio State guard
On the Illinois come back
“I think when they had that come back run we started pointing fingers at each other. When we huddled up, we decided we needed to get back out there and do what we needed to do. We all stepped out from the huddle and started making the plays that we needed to.”

On his mindset entering the game
“My mindset coming in was that I was fresh. Everyone else had been playing the whole first twenty minutes so I just took advantage of that. My legs were fresh and I made a couple of layups. Then I just started making plays.”

John Groce, Illinois head coach
On the feel of the game
“Obviously I’m really proud of our guys. I thought that was a heck of a basketball game. I thought our guys had great energy, I thought we were really connected. I thought we played with some toughness … I think it’s probably about as good as we’ve played in a long time over the duration of 40 minutes.”

On Ohio State’s post presence
“You emphasize going into the game to be smart about how you attack a shot-blocking team, but there were a couple where Giddens and those guys came out of nowhere and gave great effort to block shots.”

On the defensive leadership of his team
“I’ve basically put it on the captains. I’ve been hard on those guys … over the last four days. And those guys really responded.”