No. 1-seed Ohio State (21-13, 10-8 Big Ten) 73, No. 4-seed California (17-16, 6-12 Pac-10) 56
March 24, 2008
2008 MasterCard NIT Second Round
St. John Arena, Columbus, Ohio
Attendance: 13,276 Sellout

Thad Matta, Ohio State head coach
On the game
“We came out hungry tonight. Jamar (Butler) knocked down a couple of three’s late in the half which was a big reason we won tonight. We did a tremendous job on the glass and once we got the ball moving around good things started happening.”

On the atmosphere inside St. John Arena
“I think it could only be described as electric. The fans here at Ohio State support their team no matter where we play and tonight was no exception. When the Schott is rocking, it’s one of the loudest arenas in the country, but it’s always unique when you play in a place with this much history.”

On moving forward
“From here we have to do a quick turnaround and get ready for our next game. We’re still young and we always have something to work on so having more games is always valuable.”

Jamar Butler, senior guard
On the atmosphere
“It was really great to hear the fans be so loud. The atmosphere really got us going. Every college athlete wants to play in this kind of environment.”

On the late first half run
“Our defense was the key. We wanted to make them scramble and really run hard in transition and we did that tonight.”

Othello Hunter, senior forward
On his drive tonight
“I really didn’t want to lose. Coming into the game, I wanted to lead the team and just keep winning.”

On defending California’s Ryan Anderson
“We wanted to play hard defense on him. We knew we had to find him in transition and play aggressive against him.”

On his rebounding
“I wanted to make sure I was in the right spot all the time and help us get into transition quicker. I didn’t want to give them any second chances on the basket.”

Ben Braun, California head coach
On his team
“I’m really proud of this team. This team has been resilient and bounced back from tough games. We’ve asked them to get better offensively and they finished first in the conference in scoring. This team has come a long way.”

On the crowd
“The crowd was tough, but it is a lot tougher when you play from behind. I thought we had a good tempo early and took the crowd out of the game. But we missed some shots and Ohio State took advantage.”

On the game
“We’ve done a good job recently in cutting down our turnovers and second-chance points, but we didn’t do that tonight.”

Ryan Anderson, sophomore forward
On his performance tonight
“It was an off night for me. I can’t say it was all me. They played great defense the entire game. I also missed some shots that I normally make.”

On the team
“We’re young. With age comes more responsibility. We have to learn from this season.”

Jerome Randle, sophomore guard
On the noise of the crowd
“I’m used to it, playing on the road against Pac-10 schools. I just tried to focus on the game and playing basketball and not focusing on the crowd.”

On Ohio State’s first-half run
“We let them speed us up when we should have controlled the tempo.”

On improving next season
“It starts in the springtime. We are going to have to work hard this off-season. We need to work on our defense.”

### ###