February 20, 2018

Postgame Quotes: Ohio State 79, Rutgers 52

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Feb. 20, 2018

Feb. 20, 2018

POSTGAME QUOTES
Ohio State 79 (23-7, 14-3 B1G), Rutgers 52 (13-17, 3-14 B1G)
Feb. 20, 2018
Value City Arena – Columbus, Ohio

Attendance: 15,620

Chris Holtmann, Ohio State head coach
On the game
“It was a special night. I give Rutgers a lot of credit because we knew it would be a grind-it game. They’re physical. They’re down a man, and I thought they really challenged us and made it difficult for us in the first half. We responded better in the second half, but I give Rutgers a lot of credit. Always nice to win on Senior Night. I’ve been on both ends of that, but as a coach you almost feel pressure. You want to win anyway, but you really want to win for these seniors.”

On the comeback from Rutgers near the end of the first half
“Sometimes when we get a start like that, we get this sense that it’s going to be easier than in reality it will be, and it clearly wasn’t. Give Rutgers credit for that. We need to be better, and I need to make sure our guys have a better understanding of that. I think we did some things in the last five to eight minutes that allowed Rutgers to get back into it. With that being said, give Rutgers credit.”

On the Senior Night speeches after the game
“It was perfect that we got the chance for our guys to celebrate with our fans. I really appreciate our fans for sticking around. We had a lot that did, and I think that means a lot for our players. I’d want to stick around and listen to these guys too, because I think they’re really special.”

Andrew Dakich, graduate guard

On the emotions of Senior Night

“I didn’t know what to think of it, honestly. I appreciate Coach Holtmann giving me the opportunity to start in front of my family like that, but it wasn’t really about the start. It was about how we came out in those first few minutes because we really set the tone. C.J. had an outstanding night. It was great seeing Joey Lane hit that three, and it was just overall a great night. The speeches in front of our fans just really capped it all off.”

 

On emotions about playing in Ann Arbor Sunday and then coming back home to play

“It was just weird in general. Obviously, there are a lot of plays I wish our team could get back in Ann Arbor, but you can’t dwell and you need to move on. They were a good team. What was so great about this game is that we had a one-day prep, so we were eager to get back out on the court. We wanted the bitter taste out of our mouth. I knew I was going to have an opportunity here at Ohio State. This year I’m really contributing. It’s everything, the Nut House goes crazy for me when I check in. That stuff is special and it’s something that I’ll cherish probably for the rest of my life. It’s a lot different.”

 

Keita Bates-Diop, redshirt junior forward

On the emotions of Senior Night…

“It was almost the perfect way to do it. Leading up with only a couple days of prep, having a great game like that, and then giving our seniors that sort of walk off. That moment, we’ll remember that forever. Those talks at the end, that was real. That was a lot of emotion. We were so glad JT went last. We were all almost there, and then he finally let out all the emotion that we were trying to hold back.”

 

On the heavy motivation to come back and win tonight

“Tonight was the perfect storm. We came off a couple losses, and being that it was Senior Night we obviously wanted to get the win for additional reasons against a good Rutgers team. We wanted to make sure to send everyone off.”

 

On decision to partake in Senior Night with additional year of eligibility

“It was mostly because I graduated already. We have not talked about it at all and I’m not thinking about it at all. We just talked about in the locker room how things can cloud your judgment and thoughts. Right now, the focus is winning. Now it’s Indiana. Then it’s the Big Ten Tournament, then the NCAA Tournament. We’re just trying to win games and that is what I’m thinking about.”

Steve Pikiell, Rutgers head coach
On the game
“I thought we weren’t good offensively but our defense kind of kept us around in the first half and we then had a little bit of a run with our offense. Obviously, we couldn’t sustain that in the second half and I thought our inability to score really affected us on the defensive end of the floor where I thought in the first half our defense just hung around and eventually our offense caught up. It was disappointing. We are a little beat up, we are down a few guys, but we played a really good Ohio State team. I really think this is a special kind of team. They have senior leadership and some really good players, so a lot of credit to Ohio State and their staff and the way they are playing.”

On what he thinks of this Ohio State team
“They are good. They have a lot of weapons and they all seem to be playing their roles. Jae’Sean Tate is a monster. He gets to the rim and makes big plays for them. They have Bates-Diop who can do a lot of things. Then they have some guys around them that really enjoy playing the roles that they hav, and they have good shooters on the perimeter. They are a very difficult team to get ready for and they are very good defensively, so they don’t have any weaknesses there. They’re a good basketball team.”

On his team going into the Big Ten Tournament
“I mean we have to obviously play better. We had a good win a couple of days ago against Northwestern, but we have to play better. We have our deficiencies on the offensive end, so our defense really has to carry us.”