February 4, 2018

Postgame Quotes: No. 17 Ohio State 75, Illinois 67


Feb. 4, 2018

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No. 17 Ohio State 75 (20-5, 11-1 B1G), Illinois 67 (12-12, 2-9 B1G)
Feb. 4, 2018
Value City Arena – Columbus, Ohio
Attendance: 18,743

Chris Holtmann, Ohio State head coach
On bouncing back from 15-point deficit
“Well, when you start off with a 15-point deficit, I’m not the most confident guy at that point. I do recognize that it’s a long game, and when you watch Illinois play there have been runs where they do a great job getting up on teams. I just don’t think we had enough life to us defensively early on, but I want to give Illinois credit for that. Having said that, we do have a pretty poised, confident group, and I trust in their ability to respond effectively. We knew this was a game of imperfection coming in, and I think we were able to push through this from going through a lot of stuff together and coming back against other teams this year.”

On the support of the fans
“I haven’t said this as much as I’ve wanted to this year, but today, Buckeye Nation was unbelievable. We’ve got two more home games, and I keep hearing that this team is fun to watch. Hopefully we have earned that at this point in the season. The energy the fans brought created an unforgettable environment for us today, just incredible.”

Brad Underwood, Illinois head coach
On the game
“We were fighting. We’re playing good enough basketball to win and beat anybody in this conference, and I believe that. We just have to give credit to Chris and his team. Keita was everything that was advertised and they’re good.”

On his team’s offensive effort
“They are very good defensively. We have to score early, or we have to score late. Every time we got the ball to the third side in the first half or the first run, we were great. All of the sudden, we just quit doing that. We just quit passing.”

Keita Bates-Diop, Ohio State junior forward
On how the team was able to overcome deficits and come back
“I think it’s an experience thing between me, JT, and Dakich. You have a lot of older guys who have seen teams come back from being down 20. We know it’s a long game and obviously if it’s not the last five minutes we feel like we can come back at any point in the game.”

On the upcoming game against Purdue
“I mean it’s big. Right now, the top two teams in the Big Ten. This is going to be a big game for us, and a statement to the Big Ten.”

Kaleb Wesson, Ohio State freshman forward
On his put back to help secure the lead at the end of the game
“Coach is always telling us to look for the weak side rebounds so when I saw JT posting up I knew he was going to put it up, and I was just going to try to get in position on the back side.”

On the leadership of the older teammates
“I feel like they help our development as far as the mental part of the game. It’s just to keep going, nothing changes, and just keep on playing.”