Postgame Quotes: Ohio State vs. Illinois

March 10, 2013

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No. 14 Ohio State (23-7, 13-5 Big Ten) 68, Illinois (21-11, 8-10 Big Ten) 55
March 10, 2013
Value City Arena – Columbus, Ohio
Attendance – 19,049 (sellout)

Thad Matta, Ohio State head coach  
On Ohio State
“I am so proud of this basketball team. A lot of people didn’t have this team ranked and you look and what we had to do this week. Coming off the emotional high of winning in Indiana, and what these guys have been able to do, it is amazing.”

On the overall season
“It has been a heck of a stretch coming from where we started after loosing two games in a row, to now. They have kept practicing, kept the energy and kept their focus. I like where we are right now, winning five straight games is hard to do in college basketball.”

On the upcoming Big Ten Tournament
“There is not a thing I can do at this point in time. The hay is in the barn is an old saying and that is how I feel. “

On the beginning of the game
“We were not as aggressive with the switches as we thought we would. We knew what was coming and we reacted accordingly.”

On finishing the season strong
“It is always the goal of our program. I want us playing our best basketball at the end of the season. It is hard to explain, with the way the Big Ten is right now, but I plan on just reflecting on the season and showing up for practice tomorrow and working.”

On former assistant and current Illinois head coach John Groce
“As you get older you realize it is not personal. When we aren’t playing each other, we are rooting for one another. He is doing a great job and I am really proud of him.”

Evan Ravenel, senior forward
On winning his last home game
“It's always great to get a win. It feels really good and I am enjoying it.”

On the loss against Wisconsin
“After the loss against Wisconsin, we realized we just could not loose anymore. We needed to buckle down and start playing basketball.”

Aaron Craft, junior guard
On upcoming Big Ten Tournament play
“We took care of what we needed to take care of today. The rest, whatever happens, happens. The Big Ten championship is now what we are looking forward to and were going keep our eyes on the prize.”

On Illinois
“They were making a lot of screens and that is tough to play because it takes away the options. We got a little passive but our defense stayed with it and knocked out the shots we needed to.”

On the loss against Wisconsin
“We got back, talked to each other and as players we looked at each other and realized we needed to talk more owner ship in games and in practice. We believed in the system and in our coaches and most importantly each other.”

On the Big Ten Tournament
“Going to Chicago is going to be a challenge, new venue; the tournament it is going to be interesting.“

On the season overall
“It goes by fast and the fun is just about to start. Win or go home, that has been the focus during the off-season. We are playing well right now but it is still anyone’s game.”

Shannon Scott, sophomore guard
On team defense
“We put a lot of pressure on the ball very early. And that was the main focus throughout the entire game.”

Deshaun Thomas, junior forward
On playing against the double team
“I was just being patient. We knew they were going to switch so I listened to my teammates who were watching for them and it helped when I was being double-teamed. It just means being ready and being aware of what is going on.”

On the rest of his season
“There is a lot more basketball left. I am trying to enjoy myself and get to the final four. All I am thinking about is my teammates and my coaches.”

John Groce, Illinois head coach
On Illinois’ performance
“I thought we demonstrated a lot of toughness. We had a good energy about us and I really liked that. We worked together, and I thought we were tough. I liked our body language and our disposition. At the same time, obviously we’re disappointed that we came up short. I thought the biggest segment of the game was the 12-2 Ohio State run in the first half.”

On Ohio State’s offensive development during the end of the season
“They’re getting contributions from a lot of guys. I think they’re starting to connect a little bit and play together. They’re a good basketball team.”

On differences in Illinois’ defense
“It was similar to Game One in terms of how we played screens and some different things. One of the things we tried to do differently was double [Deshaun] Thomas. The first two times we did – I’ll give him credit – we weren’t real tough in the trap and we got split. He made a couple of nice passes across the floor.”