Ohio State vs. Illinois Postgame Quotes

Feb. 21, 2012

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Ohio State Postgame Quotes
No. 8 Ohio State 83, Illinois 67
Value City Arena - Columbus, Ohio 

Thad Matta, Ohio State head coach
On Ohio State shooting 65 percent
“It was obviously good to see the ball go in early. I thought we got out and got some good shots and got the ball moving. We were able to get some good shots off of our defense. It was delightful to see, trust me. I know that, five or six times, we’ve had that one [shot] before and it didn’t go down. We didn’t do anything magical; they just went down for us tonight.”

On playing Shannon Scott and Aaron Craft at the same time
“We were disheveled at the end of the game. Other than that I was very pleased with what we did; it just gave us another attacker to make plays.”

On William Buford’s shooting
"I think it’s a matter of good shot, great shot. We talked yesterday, Will [Buford] is a guy that has proven over time that he can make great shots, and he has the sense of what is a good shot and a great one.”

On Ohio State’s offense
“I thought our spacing and overall the angles we want when we drive were much better tonight. Shannon [Scott] does a great job of understanding when to go and drive and not to drive.”

On playing with energy
“It [Ohio State’s energy] was much better tonight. That was one of the things we talked about. We stressed each guy needed to do his part in bringing energy and intensity. I thought that was a lot better”

On William Buford’s 108 wins as a Buckeye
“He may be one of the first [Ohio State] players to go to four NCAA tourneys in a row. That’s a heck of an accomplishment. You look at the time he’s been here and it’s been such a personal growth. It’s such an honor, you spend four years with the guy and it’ll be hard to see him go.”

William Buford, senior guard
On coming off a loss
“We came off of a loss last game, so we had to come out with great intensity and really bring it tonight.    The main thing I did wrong last game was missing and rushing my shots. I think I did better from the last game. We came in today with great shots and got open.”

On starting off strong
“We had a whole different pace to our offense. We were pushing the ball more and getting easy buckets to open us up from the outside. When you start performing at the beginning, it feels good and you can’t beat yourself up when you miss shots. When we hit shots early we feel like we’re unstoppable and no one can beat us. We have to pick it up, keep it together and continue to make shots when things go bad.”

On practice the past few weeks
“The past few weeks have been more intense. We’ve been working on pushing the ball more. Defense leads to great offense, so we’ve especially been working on that. We’ve been talking more and staying together, even when things are going bad.  We’ve been pacing our offense more. Coach tells me to just play my game and try to make shots. I’ve been trying to change good shots to great shots, and to get wide open and knock shots down.”

On playing in his last home game this Sunday
“It will absolutely be really special. I love it here. I’ve been here for four years. I probably won’t come to grips with it until that day.”

Shannon Scott, freshman guard
On the team’s play
“We just need to keep making more transitions and stops on defense. We can’t get out there and win if they keep scoring. We try to keep the pace going high. Coach wanted me to get in there, push the ball, keep the flow going and get in transit. I got on the court and made it happen.”

On playing alongside Aaron Craft
“I felt like it was a lot easier playing with Aaron. I could get off the ball and give it to him, and go down the court and make plays like that.”

Deshaun Thomas, sophomore forward
On shooting
“We were definitely more ready to shoot tonight since last game. Practice makes perfect, so you make yourselves better as you practice.  This week we worked on our footwork, we were making shots and practiced our game.”

On coming out 11-for-12
“It felt great. We just listened to Coach Matta. They prepared us coming in for the game, but it was up to us to come out there and show up and that’s what we did. It started on defense. We got some great transitions and collections. It felt great to be scoring.”

On his game
“It’s not just important for me to play well - it’s important for the whole team. I just came in and shot with confidence and got my teammates the ball. I gave it to Will [Buford] and made sure he had the shot. I came in and was ready to play for the team.”

Bruce Weber, Illinois head coach
On the game tonight
“You don’t know how you are going to catch them. They [Ohio State] are a good team that has had some issues, but I think they have great leadership with [Aaron] Craft. He got them together and they came out and played with great urgency at the start of the game. The thing that is so frustrating for me is our defense. It was something that carried us early and gave us a chance to win games and now it is not there. That was my complete message to the kids, there are still games we can win and a lot of things can happen. Unless the pride in our defense changes, nothing is going to change.”

On the Illinois freshmen
“I love our freshmen, they are playing with attitude and they play hard. They haven’t quit and we need to see if we can get something going.”

On Ohio State
“They have so many offensive weapons and they can spread you out. As I said, they have a great leader in [Aaron] Craft, who can make reads and plays for them. I thought defensively, early, they came with great energy. They took some things away and got us to stand around. Our game at home we were able to move the ball around and get wherever we wanted. We didn’t turn it over, which we have all year, but they got us stagnant. Finally, once we started moving the ball we were able to get it into Meyers [Leonard]. They had a sense of urgency and they play well here. Other than Michigan State, they have beat a lot of teams handily here. When you shoot the ball like that, you can just see they were in a zone. Every shot that went up seemed like it was going to be all net. ”

On playing Shannon Scott and Aaron Craft at the same time
“That gives them a little more quickness. It gives them a different look. Scott didn’t get a lot done but that was another ball handler. As the season goes on maybe you rest [William] Buford a little bit. It keeps fresh legs and eases the stress on him.”