Postgame Quotes: No. 17 Ohio State (16-4, 3-4) 62, Illinois (13-7, 2-5) 55

Jan. 23, 2014

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No. 17 Ohio State (16-4, 3-4) 62, Illinois (13-7, 2-5) 55
Jan. 23, 2014
Value City Arena – Columbus, Ohio
Attendance: 16,774

Thad Matta, Ohio State head coach
On breaking a four-game losing streak
“We did not play perfect, but I loved our energy on defense. We played extremely hard on defense and got back to rotating. Offensively, the first half was rough. However, the kids had a different look in their eyes this game. Our problem is not solved, we have a long way to go, but the time off will be a great time to recollect, reflect and get healthy.”

On the crowd’s influence
“I give a ton of credit to the crowd, which was as energetic as it could be. After what we have seen lately, the crowd was awesome to see.  Times have been tough, but the Buckeye passion tonight was awesome.”

Aaron Craft, senior guard
On putting the loses behind them
“Even though we tried our best to put the losing streak behind us, this game was not about that. It was about coming out and finding a way to be better than Illinois. That was our only goal coming into this game, to get better. We were able to do that.”

LaQuinton Ross, junior forward
On the difference between the game tonight and previous games
“Everyone was connected tonight and there was a lot of togetherness. You saw guys jumping up and down, our bench jumping up and down and we were able to get our crowd into it. It felt good to be home too and having the crowd’s support.”

John Groce, Illinois head coach
On the defensive play of Shannon Scott and Aaron Craft
“I talked about it for two days and it’s easier said than done when you look at Ohio State’s guards running around out there and their steal percentage. Everyone talks about their steals, but it’s also the possessions when they disrupt you and your flow that affect your timing.”

On Illinois’ turnovers that sparked Ohio State’s offense
“I thought it was unfortunate we didn’t capitalize on Ohio State’s shooting percentage and the turnovers in the first half. In the second half, they turned it up and scored 38 points – a good portion of those were off of live ball turnovers. I thought their ability to get deflections and get out in transition led to that.”