Dec. 3, 2011
Box Score |
Thad Matta, Head coach
On the team's game
“One of the key things we challenged our guys to this game was defensively to test where their minds were. We came out with great energy on the defensive end, but for some reason we weren't able to put the ball in the basket when we wanted to. We missed three point-blank lay-ups, and it catapulted itself into poor game shooting. However, in the end, we were able to contribute as a team and get a great win."
On Jared Sullinger's absence
“Choosing to not play Jared today was a very precautionary measure. He has an aggravated disk, and what happens is the muscle tightens around that area. Things need to calm down and we will take a look at him Monday to get a sense of how he's doing, but he's feeling better and the muscle is relaxing every day."
On the extent of Sullinger's injury
“I think once we get past this, it will be over. Therapy and stretching can strengthen that area over time. I made the decision not to play him today this past Wednesday. I wanted to give him time to rest knowing we would have another week in between games. There is a decent chance he can play against Kansas, so we'll reevaluate him and see how he is doing."
On adapting the team to playing without Sullinger
“Other guys, such as Amir, were checked in at different times than they do normally. You don't want that to happen, but you have to spin it as positively as you can."
On his 300th career win
“I'm probably more worried about my 301st win and when that is going to come. Like it said in a great book I read... ‘When you see a turtle on a fence post you know it didn't get there by itself’. I've been blessed to have great players and coaches with me. I've been at three great universities that have given me the opportunity to win basketball games. I would really like to get my 301st win next Saturday [against Kansas]."
Evan Ravenel, junior forward
On starting the game
“I found out right before the game. I had no idea Jared (Sullinger) was not going to play. I look at it as an unfortunate opportunity. It was unfortunate that Jared couldn’t play with us for this win, but it was definitely an opportunity to provide extra minutes for me to win.”
On stepping in for injured Jared Sullinger
“I know I’m not Jared Sullinger. Jared and I are two different players. Jared’s very skilled, but we’re two different players with two different mindsets.”
On Jared Sullinger
“I think he’s a huge asset. It’s the biggest asset in the country having Jared out there. Jared’s a tough read; as a person, he’ll smile and he’ll giggle and do his thing. I’m sure as a basketball player and competitor, he wanted to be out there with us."
On Amir Williams
“I think he came along pretty well. Amir’s a heck of a shot blocker and shot changer. I think every time he does get to play you see that. Offensively, he’s getting better every day.”
Deshaun Thomas, sophomore forward
On playing without Jared Sullinger
“It’s normal for me. I do what I do, I play hard, and that’s my role. Jared’s fine, he seems all right to me. We had to go out there as the same team and play how we practice.”
On Texas Pan American’s play
“They weren’t shot blockers. Coach told [Aaron] Craft to get it inside. All we had to do was pump fake and put the ball in the basket.”
Aaron Craft, sophomore guard
On the game
“It reminded me of playing Northwestern. They were running a set more to get us to run out the shot clock to 15 and 10, and then run another set. It was a mental toughness game for us to concentrate for 35 seconds on defense. We were fortunate to make turnovers. I don’t know if we came out with the same intensity and fire as we usually do. That tends to linger on us.”
On the absence of Jared Sullinger
“We have people behind Jared [Sullinger] that are as capable as he is. Our main goal is still to play inside.”
On possible frustration of William Buford
“He might have been a little bit. Will’s a great team player. He’s going to do what he needs to do. He’s going to pass and make the right reads. I think he did a good job of going through the storm and saying ‘tonight’s not my night, so I’m going to help everyone else.’”
Texas-Pan American Head Coach Ryan Marks
On the experience of playing against Ohio State
“Obviously it was a unique experience for our players to play in a game of this nature. I think sometimes as coaches we have to appreciate how special it is for guys like this to play against a team like Ohio State, a team that will have a chance at a national championship and is one of the top teams in the nation.”
On UTPA’s performance
“We did a very good job at sticking to our game plan. We needed to be methodical and an annoyance in this game. We had to make the game very erratic and not let there be a flow. We’re sandwiched between Ohio State playing Duke and Kansis so this game is not one they are probably exuberant about so that alone is an annoyance If we could keep our pace so they couldn’t get out and run away with the lead that was going to be advantageous to us.”
On the caliber of Ohio State
“I was kidding with our guys at halftime that at least we know we’re a little bit better than Duke as they were down 19 points at half and we were only down 17 at half. We understand the caliber of team they are. I think they are very workman like. They did what they needed to get done; they pounded us on the boards. They recognized their ability and as the game went on they went on the loose. I can’t fault our guys for being small, that’s just the type of team we are. They’re a tremendous team. I was proud of our guys, they did very well. Obviously we knew (William) Buford is always a big scorer for them and especially tonight with (Jared) Sullinger out, but I thought we did a good job at slowing him down.”
On the change of the game plan with Jared Sullinger out of the game
“We worked on an eclectic zone in practice standing almost arm to arm in the paint around him. It changed a little bit on what we had been talking about doing to make this a manageable game. I think it was some mixed emotions because I think a lot of our guys would have like to say ‘Hey I played against that guy’, two or three years down the road. Obviously it’s good for them to get him healthy and rested and ready to play against Kansas.”
On what they could have improved upon
“We gave up offensive rebounding a lot. That’s probably an area we weren’t going to have a lot of success in thought because of our size. The most times they got the ball in transition was on turnovers. I thought we did a good job of when the ball was in the air to get back and make the game a half court game to stop momentum.”