No. 6/7 Ohio State 73 (24-7, 14-4), Illinois 57 (18-12, 10-7)
March 2, 2010
Columbus, Ohio
Value City Arena
Attendance: 16,177

Thad Matta, Ohio State head coach

On the win
“I told the guys last night, in coaching I’ve been blessed with two rings in 15 years and to be at this university and to see that six years ago we had a 50 percent winning average in the Big Ten and to do the things we’ve done, I couldn’t be prouder. This is a product of the work they put in the offseason. I told them, ‘you weren’t supposed to be in this position.’ To start out 1 and 3, that’s a tribute to the guys in the locker room.”

On improving in the offseason
“I thought we could challenge for it. A lot of things had to fall into place. We needed a good schedule and staying healthy is key. This team has been a group of warriors in how they hung in there. You always go in the summer, and we had the luxury of going to Canada, and we open up practice and say ‘who got better?’ And I think every guy got better over the summer.”

On the win at Purdue
“I felt like we got rolling at that game. It was a tremendous game against a tremendous team. I think the guys played with confidence in each other and I think that game got us rolling.”

On coming back strong
“I told them we’re going to take a couple days to get rested, but when we come back we need to be in a training camp kind of mode. We have some flaws and we have some deficiencies. We have a long time until we play again, so conditioning is huge.”

On defensive play
“It (defense) was the biggest key in the game. We were soft in our approach and we were letting them attack us and we weren’t reacting. That was something we were talking about in timeouts. We weren’t as sharp defensively as we needed to be.”

On the Buckeye celebration
“It’s great to see. It’s funny, because we talked about on Dec. 30 when we got back from Christmas, that there are 19 battles and the war will not be decided until March. To sit and say that the war is over and we won is a tremendous feat. After the work they put in, to see them celebrate and let lose a little bit is great.”

On Jon Diebler
“I said to Jon, there are going to be 19,000 people here and 24 players and there is not a person in this gymnasium who has made more shots than him. I said take them and make them. I never lose faith in John Diebler.”

Bruce Weber, Illinois head coach
On his team’s performance
“Tonight we needed to get a subpar game out of Ohio State and we didn’t get it. Our team is a funny one. We’ve been very exciting but also inconsistent.”

On Ohio State
“First of all, congrats to Thad Matt and the entire program. With the quality and quantity of teams in this league they should be excited to be getting at least a share of the title. They are a good team with quality players … They have a lot of versatility and speed. They have so many weapons and it put us in a bind.”

On his team’s defense
“We definitely disrupted a bit and we did a good job on Turner. He still put up great numbers but we made him earn it. Lighty just wasn’t a very good match for us. Ohio State really puts you in a bind when they’re shooting form the perimeter like they were tonight. Our goal was to hang in there and keep it close because you never know what can happen at the end of the game.”

Evan Turner, junior guard
On the Big Ten title
“This feels great, amazing. It’s so great to see all of our hard work pay off. We persevered through some tough times, so this is just a great accomplishment. We still have more to do.”
On the celebration after the game
“These are the moments they tell you about when you are being recruited, so it was really cool. We always see fans rushing the court to celebrate with their team, and we wanted to give our fans a reason to do the same. I’m glad we made it happen.”
On his future plans
“I definitely haven’t thought about any of that stuff yet. I’m trying to just live in the moment right now with my team. We still have a couple more trophies to win.”
David Lighty, junior guard
On his aggressive play in the second half
“The coaches just told me to keep driving and be aggressive. Their big men were getting into a lot of foul trouble, especially Davis, so it worked out for the best.”

On his scoring drive towards the end
“The coaches were telling me to drive and attack the basket. If I wasn’t aggressive we would just go back forth with baskets. We got their big man in trouble. He was little bit slower than me so being aggressive worked well.”

On believing this could happen at the beginning of the season
“I believed we could do it. Coming back we needed to make our mark. So far our mark was an NIT championship, losing in the Big Ten championship and a first round loss. All this kind of leaves a sour taste. Like Evan said we still have two titles left to win this season.”

Jon Diebler, junior guard
On his shooting
“It felt good that my teammates had confidence in me to make the shots tonight. They were really collapsing inside on Dave and ET, so it left me with a lot of open opportunities. I was fortunate enough to be able to knock them down.”

Dallas Lauderdale, junior center
On how it felt celebrating after the game
“It was crazy. Like Evan said we would watch other schools rush the court and said wonder what that would feel like.  Evan said we needed to give them a reason to and we did. We were all jumping around and go crazy.”

On what preparation needs to happen for the Big Ten Tournament
“The biggest thing is rest. We need to get ready for our next opponent even though we don’t know who that is yet. Soon as we find out we’ll start planning for that game.”