January 7, 2018

Postgame Quotes: Ohio State 80, No. 1 Michigan State 64

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Jan. 7, 2018

POSTGAME QUOTES
Ohio State 80 (13-4, 4-0 B1G), No. 1 Michigan State 64 (15-2, 3-01B1G)
Jan. 7, 2017
Value City Arena– Columbus, Ohio
Attendance: 17,599

Chris Holtmann, Ohio State head coach
On the challenge moving forward after this game
“The challenge now is how we will respond from this win with a win against a really good Maryland team coming up, but we will enjoy this one today. I can’t say enough about the crowd and the atmosphere was outstanding.”

On his feelings after defeating the No. 1 team in the nation
“It is surreal at times for sure. You go into the year not sure what to expect and very rarely do you have a chance to even play a number one team in the country on your home floor. That’s a credit to Michigan State. This is a moment that our fans and our players will remember for a long time.”

On whether he is surprised about the team’s quick progression
“Coaches do get surprised. I am surprised. We don’t know much at this point. We certainly do not want this moment to define us. We don’t want this to be the pinnacle of our season as good as it is, that’s the challenge for us moving forward. I watch on video and I am so impressed with a lot of the teams we are going to compete against and we are going to have to play really well. I am surprised with how we played in stretches. I think our connection and our chemistry has been above and beyond what I anticipated.”

On the multiple upsets in college basketball this week
“It’s the nature of college basketball. I would not read much into any of those outcomes, including this one, I just don’t think you can. It is hard to win on the road, especially when you have that kind of number by your name you get a different look from teams.” Most coaches right now are about getting your guys to play better and some coaches may look at it and learn from experiences.”

Tom Izzo, Michigan State head coach
On the effect of playing in a harsh environment for the first time this season
”Well it’s a good excuse, I mean we haven’t. I say that honestly. That’s the difference with having a bunch of young guys. I think a lot of teams have a bunch of young guys around the country. I think we’re the 17th team that lost this week out of the ranked teams. That is kind of unheard of. A lot of teams have the same situation whether it be Arizona or Duke or Michigan State.”

On the lack of attempts at the rim in the contest
“I thought that it was a change by us. I’m sure some of it was a change by them, but I thought we just quit moving the ball. At halftime we felt we had more than a few open looks, but we didn’t make shots. The ball was moving decently, and then when we went down we went to a 1-on-1 game and that’s just not our game.”

On the play of Keita Bates-Diop
“I think he’s finally healthy. I recruited Diop, I liked him as a freshman, I really did. I think he has improved his game. What I like about his game is that his mid-range game is the best part of his game, not very many guys are like that, he is very patient in there.”

Jae’Sean Tate, Ohio State senior forward
On the team’s ability to maintain lead in second half
“We just stayed connected. Michigan State is a great team. Even though we were up by that much, we knew we still had another half to play. We were just trying to stop as many runs as we could. I think the older guys did a great job of saying that in the locker room, and keeping it down to get the W”.

On success of zone defense against Michigan State
“When we play teams with such dominant bigs like Nick (Ward) and (Jaren) Jackson, we usually try to double them, make it as tough as possible, and get the ball out of their hands. This isn’t the first time we’ve done it, and it won’t be the last. It was great coaching by Coach Holtmann. We were able to hold Nick to one shot, and that was the key to our win”.

Keita Bates-Diop, Ohio State forward
On the team’s ability to maintain lead in second half
“It was a game of runs and spurts. We went on a run in the first half and carried it into the second. Our game plan was to dig off the bigs, and trap anybody in the post. We just executed our game plan”.

On his improvement over the years
“I think it was just a little bit of everything. The mindset is very important. Last year I was out for six or seven months and couldn’t play. It helped just sitting back and learning the game, re-watching the film, watching us play last year, and learning what to do and what not to do. Then the new coaching staff came in and made us all feel very comfortable in our roles. I think all of that played a part in me and how I’m playing this year”.

Kaleb Wesson, Ohio State forward
On the team’s success negating Nick Ward
“I feel like it was good help from my teammates. Our defensive plan was to try to keep the ball out of his hands, and I feel like we did that”.