Jan. 29, 2012

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No. 4 Ohio State 64 (19-3, 7-2), No. 20 Michigan 49 (16-6, 6-3)
Jan. 29, 2012
Value City Arena – Columbus, Ohio
Attendance: 18,809

Thad Matta, Ohio State Head Coach
On being in first place in the Big Ten
“It beats second. It’s such a long season and we gotta keep the focus on us. Knowing we have six days off before we play again there’s some things we gotta keep getting better at. Turning the halfway point at seven and two I like.”

On free throws
“I think that’s something that we struggled on in certain games is free throws. With the way we play we have the intensity to get to the line. It’s something you don’t want a game to cost us because of free throw shooting.”

On Jared Sullinger
“We didn’t help Jared (Sullinger) today on a couple of those turnovers. We weren’t where we were supposed to be quite honestly we weren’t in position. He checked for the three and people weren’t where they were supposed to be so it puts him in a bad situation. I thought Jared played very well today. He played through some foul trouble and made good choices.”

On the game being close at half
“It was good for us. We knew it would be a hard fought battle. We haven’t had that we’ve had sizeable leads at halftime in the last couple game, but hopefully we’re a better team because of it today.”

On Lenzelle Smith Jr
“With this team we sort of need a jack of all trades. There’s so many times where a team is going to choose to guard us a certain way or scheme a certain defense. I think that he is really understanding his role and I didn’t think he had played particularly well in the Penn State game, more mentally than anything. Lenzelle wants to play well and help this basketball team. Just the energy type plays he made today were something that definitely gave us a spurt and gave us some energy. That’s the things I like to see from him.”

Lenzelle Smith Jr., Sophomore Guard
On doing the little things for the team
“I knew that was going to be our edge, rebounding and just doing the little things. I stuck to that early and just got myself in a position where I could get the rebounds we weren’t making many shots so it was a better chance on getting rebounds.”

On free throws
“We haven’t been shooting free throws fairly well this year. Every day when we practice we have to shoot 100 (free throws) so I guess it’s paying off.”

On defense
“I just feel like we were connected whenever we come out and are connected on defense. We get the job done and make stops.”

On rebounding
“I just try to know the angle and where the ball is going to bounce depending where they shoot. When Jared (Sullinger) got his second foul my eye light up. I knew it was go time and needed to work.”

On fighting for the win
“It feels good. It goes to show that even if we don’t blow someone out if we stay together and get through the adversity we can still get a win. We ground it out and made things go our way and did the best we could.”

Jared Sullinger, Sophomore Forward
On his second foul
“I guess I grabbed a jersey. I personally didn’t think it was a foul, but once a referee makes a call its permanent. It is what it is and we came out with a W so that’s all it matters.”

On Lenzelle Smith Jr.
“When Lenzelle is rebounding the ball he’s in tune with the defense. As you can see he had eight offensive rebounds and 17 points. He was just playing hard and got into the flow of the game. He played pretty well.”

On fighting through adversity today
“Personally it was just me not accepting the double team. There are times Michigan just gives you an open base line then they trap you. I was just trying to score as quick as I can and it resulted in some turnovers.”

Aaron Craft, Sophomore Guard
On switching the game at half
“I think we tried to push the ball a little more and try to get into transition a little bit. They did a good job slowing it down in the first half and not letting us get into transition which is where we get out points and do our best.”

On Burke
“He’s a great player. Jared knows him better than I. We played in the summer with him and against him. He’s one of those guys you want on your team. He’s going to play the entire game and really plays a team game.”

John Beilein, Michigan head coach
On Ohio State
I’m was really impressed with Ohio [State] today. They’re defense this year is really good. It’s been a long time since we played them, but their defense is really suffocating at times. We played them three times last year; it just seems looking at their stats that they’re a little better defensively. Their length is important. They have ton of talented guys, and what might work as a legal box out with some teams wont work for this team. It wasn’t always the big guys, sometimes it was guys like [Lenzelle] Smith that hurt us.”

On Michigan’s play
“Defensively I thought we had a great start, but the things we could control a little bit we didn’t do.We got 10 offensive rounds but didn’t get to the line. They just got fouled more than we did. If you let this team get comfortable they have too many bullets in that gun.”

On Trey Burke
“I thought he [Burke] did really good job. For a 19-year-old kid in this situation he did a really good job. He was playing against a very long, good defensive team.”

On Ohio State replacing Jon Diebler
“[Lenzelle] Smith and [William] Buford are shooting those type of numbers together. Jon Diebler was an incredible shooter, but 40 percent guys you have to guard them the same way.”