March 21, 2009

 

THE MODERATOR:  Joining us this evening are student athletes Ryan Rossiter, Ronald Moore and Kenny Hasbrouck.  Coach, an opening statement, please.
 
COACH McCAFFERY:  I want to begin by congratulating Ohio State on an unbelievably hard fought game and a great season.  I thought Thad did a phenomenal job getting them ready for this game.  Obviously it took everything we had.  I felt we obviously struggled shooting the basketball in the first half.  But I thought defensively it's about as well as we played all year.
 
We rebounded the ball and defended them and got after their key personnel, and it kept us in it.  They were ahead most of the game, but they never got away from us because of how hard we played defensively and it's just a credit to the character of our team.
 
THE MODERATOR:  Questions for the student athletes only.

 
Q.  Ronald, could you talk about the two 3 pointers, the one at the end of the first overtime and then the one to win it, what was set up on both those plays?
 
RONALD MOORE:  It wasn't really nothing set up specifically.  Really, just wanted to drive the ball and find an opening, and I felt as though that even though I was off I was still going to take the shot, and I was open and they went in for me.
 
COACH McCAFFERY:  Actually, we had something set up.  It broke down.  They defended perfectly what we had set up.  And Ronald made the decision, because he was to deliver the ball to one of the two people who were covered.  So then he had to make a play.  So it was a great play by him.  But we had something set up.

 
Q.  Ryan, could you talk about how you were able to really establish some dominance on the boards when a lot of the talk going in was the fact that Ohio State was bigger?
 
RYAN ROSSITER:  I mean, I knew we were going to have a shot to get a lot of offensive rebounds tonight.  And Alex played great and all our guys crashed the glass and it wasn't keying on one guy.  It was a lot of tipped rebounds we were able to get, and getting inside position on their bigs was helpful and also box them in and get those rebounds.

 
Q.  Kenny, did it flash through your mind at all during the game that this could possibly be your last game, or were you just sort of wrapped up in the moment?
 
KENNY HASBROUCK:  Yeah, I thought about it a couple times.  I said, "This can't be it."  We've worked so hard last couple of years, and just to end on this note, I think it would have been horrible.  And we just kept battling and nobody wanted it to end, even though like me and Josh are the only seniors, but nobody wanted the season to be over.

 
Q.  Ronald, you said you were off, you missed your first four 3 pointers.  While Kenny was out playing a good game, he hit the big 3 pointer at the end of regulation, you guys just keep shooting it even when you're off, where does the confidence come from?  Where do you draw from that?
 
RONALD MOORE:  Coach does a good job having us go through situations and practices.  We practiced in situations like this and been in situations like this fighting back.  Goes to show how much heart that we got, 1 through 5 and even guys on the bench.  Even when shots, balls wasn't falling and things weren't going our way, we always try to stay positive and that's what we did.

 
Q.  Kenny, I think you had the guard on Evan Turner on the last play of the game.  Can you walk us through that?
 
KENNY HASBROUCK:  I was trying my hardest not to foul him.  He's an attack guy.  I thought he was going to try to spin but he tried to fake it and he pulled up for a jump, and I prayed he missed.  I was praying basically the whole game.  That shot I was pleased it didn't go in because I couldn't go into another overtime.  He missed it.  And I want everybody to note that we messed up Obama's bracket, and I'm a DC native, so I'm kind of upset he did pick Ohio State over us. (Laughter).

 
Q.  Ryan, how much did the early season, out of conference games help prepare you for this and last year's tournament experience?
 
RYAN ROSSITER:  I think last year's tournament experience really helped.  We only lost one player from that roster and we've all been here, and Coach does a good job putting us in tough situations.  We played at Kansas and this was a home game for Ohio State, we knew it was going to be a crazy environment and the fans would be crazy, and we kept our composure.  It's something we've done all year and it's a credit to coach keeping us controlled.

 
Q.  After trailing pretty much all of regulation, how big was it to get the lead for both of the overtimes?
 
KENNY HASBROUCK:  It was a relief.  We were working so hard to get it.  We tied a couple times but we couldn't get the lead for anything.  We finally got it.  And honestly I thought I messed the game up because I went in for the reach and Diebler hit another 3, and we kept battling even though they got the lead right back, it was like a relief and it gave us so much energy when we finally got that lead, and ever since that point we just refused to give it up.

 
Q.  What are you guys going to have to do to recover from this and get ready for Sunday?
 
RONALD MOORE:  Definitely rest.  A lot of fluids.  Stretch.  Mainly just resting up, getting some sleep.  We've got Louisville on Sunday.  Definitely a tough opponent.  We know Coach is going to get us ready for it.  Even though we've only got a day, we have to buckle down and focus on personnel for them.

 
Q.  Kenny, Ryan had mentioned that it was almost like a home game for Ohio State.  Did it feel like you guys were playing on the road?
 
KENNY HASBROUCK:  It felt like we were playing on the road, but at the same time we had a ton of fans here.  They outnumbered, doubled or tripled us, whatever they did.  Our fans were loud the whole game.  Every time we made a shot they went crazy.  We were playing real good defense.  We didn't let Ohio State's crowd really get involved in the game.  That was a credit to the team, and we just knew how it is in these type of atmospheres, and we worked against it and we played great defense, so it didn't really feel like it at the end of the game.
 
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you, guys.  Questions for Coach.

Q.  Coach, was there a concern over the course of the game that the tempo seemed to be to the liking of Ohio State, that it felt like a Big Ten game, there was grinding?

COACH McCAFFERY:  We were pushing the ball.  We were attacking the rim on makes and misses.  We were not having as much success as we do a lot of the times.  You've seen us play a lot.
 
I think they had prepared to get their defense back and get into the matchup.  The other thing is when a team plays a matchup zone, there's going to be longer possessions.  There has to be.
 
If we come down and quick shoot the ball against a matchup zone, we're going to lose by 25.  And that's the other reason why the rebounding numbers are what they are.  Their bigs are flying to the corner.  They're overloaded when we run shooters and overload a side, Lauderdale is going to be flying his shooter in the corner or playing his shooter in the corner and they're going to be all stretched out.
 
So you pick your poison.  If you play the matchup, they held us to a low number percentage wise and they got after our really good shooters and held them below their normal percentages.
 
But then you give up offensive rebounding opportunities.  And we're athletic and we're powerful and we go get it.  And we recognize that we had to continue to do that based on the way we were shooting the basketball.

 
Q.  I don't know if you had a chance to really look at the box score, but there are a lot of numbers on there that probably say we should have lost this game.  The turnovers, the shooting percentage.  You mentioned the offensive rebounding, was there something maybe not as obvious, you think, that tipped the scales in the final balance?
 
COACH McCAFFERY:  I think continuing to play the kind of defense that we played kept us close enough.  I really think once we got the lead and once we established that we were going to be right there, I think it was harder for them.  They were sort of playing not to lose, it seemed like.  Because it seemed like they had the game won a couple times.
 
But I think our 1 2 2 defense gave them some problems.  And I think the zone bothered them.  It limited Turner's space.  You play a lot of man to man against him.  He can carve you up all by himself.  And when we were in the zone I thought we did a good job on Diebler in particular.
 
So you look at Diebler's numbers, and Turner was great, but we did limit him.  And we outrebounded them.  So you look at our shooting numbers and you say how did we win, you look at turnover numbers.  They're very uncharacteristic for us.  I think the way the game unfolded was part of the reason why Ohio State struggled the way they did offensively down the stretch.
 
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you, Coach.
 
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THE MODERATOR:  Joining us this evening are Ohio State student athletes Evan Turner and Jon Diebler.  Coach, an opening statement, please.
 
COACH MATTA:  Well, it was an odd    we were never    I didn't feel we were ever mentally out of 50 minutes in the game the way we needed to be tonight.
 
And I don't know if it was    I'm not sure what it was.  We never had a flow going even up 11 points.  We didn't handle pressure well.  We didn't rebound the ball well.  I give us credit.  We kept playing, but obviously Siena made some huge plays down the stretch.  A couple of big shots.
 
We didn't do what we were supposed to do, and that's what happens when it comes down to possession by possession.  Give them credit, their guys made the plays.
 
THE MODERATOR:  Questions for the student athletes only, please.

 
Q.  Evan, talk a little bit about the last possession.  I know you guys didn't have a lot of time, what you were trying to get and how it felt coming off, if you thought maybe you had a shot there.
 
EVAN TURNER:  They were just taking the ball to pass it in, so I could get a full head of speed and try to drive it to the rack.  But I was driving, somebody got in my way, I had to go to the left a little bit.  And I saw the clock, and it was still at one so I tried to put up a three.  It felt good.  I probably didn't follow through like I should have and it went out.  Shouldn't have come down to that, though.

 
Q.  Jon, their defense was fairly effective all game on you.  Could you talk about what they were doing and what things were bothersome?
 
JON DIEBLER:  I think they just were mostly running guys at Evan, and then trying to stay home with me.  But when I did get open shots I didn't knock them down.  I thought Evan did a great job for creating for guys on the team, but it came down to their guys making shots, and we had open looks that didn't go in.  You have to give them credit, they played pretty good team defense on us and we didn't shoot that good of a percentage.

 
Q.  Evan, Coach McCaffery said sometimes you guys were playing not to lose, did you feel that way?
 
EVAN TURNER:  What do you mean?

 
Q.  I assume he meant being conservatively, not being aggressive, you were ahead and trying to hold them off as opposed to  
 
EVAN TURNER:  I think in certain situations I think he wanted to speed us up and I think we slowed it down in certain situations.  We saw at the end of the game when we took our time and ran our offense, we're scoring pretty much any time we wanted to.
 
I mean, shoot, we shot like 45 percent for the game which was pretty good.  And I mean when you say playing not to lose, sometimes we just made bonehead decisions, turned the ball over when we shouldn't, we gave up 3s.  It was just stuff that didn't help us win.

 
Q.  Jon or Evan, as you look at the stats, what offense rebounds they got and the turnovers you had against their pressure, was it kind of what did you in last night pretty much the same thing that cost you guys throughout the season when you did lose, offensive rebounds and turnovers?
 
JON DIEBLER:  I just don't think we did a good job on the weak side rebounds our wings dropping and sinking, I think knowing our bigs, especially Dallas and B.J., when they go up and challenge shots, and Evan did a nice job challenging shots.  They got in the middle.  I just think we needed to do a better job sinking and trying to get the guys off the glass, but it's been kind of a thing throughout the year we need to do a better job rebounding.  I think it came back and got us tonight.
 
EVAN TURNER:  In all that, they were still chasing us.  They hit a couple of shots to tie the game, take it into overtime.  They hit a wide open 3 where the ball bounced around a couple times and landed in the player's hand and hit a 3.  And it was a wonderful game and they were chasing us and made some big plays.

 
Q.  Could either of you guys talk about how you're going to view this season?  Obviously getting to the tournament a positive but ending in disappointment in the first round?
 
EVAN TURNER:  The season was good, I think.  Young players grew up.  I think Jon Diebler and myself got more experience as far as becoming leaders and trying to lead our team.  It was just a good growing season.  We're glad we got our foot in the door in the NCAA Tournament.  But this is Ohio State basketball.  We've got different standards.  Coming in fifth in the Big Ten and getting an early out in the tournament isn't what we want.
 
So just go back, have some great workouts, be ready for next November and get it cracking.
 
JON DIEBLER:  Kind of like Evan said.  I think this was a good experience for us because we are such a young team.  And just to use this as motivation, especially in the workouts, because I think last year the guys that came back from last year's team really took going to the NIT and not making tournament motivation and I think we got a lot better.  So I think guys are really going to work hard in the offseason, and like Evan said, we hold ourselves to higher standards and making the tournament, that's our goal, but we just don't want to settle for making the tournament.  We want to make a run in the NCAA Tournament.
 
So again it's going to be motivation for us.
 
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you, guys.  Questions for Coach.

 
Q.  Siena had five players who had two tournament games under their belt from last year and that experience and you didn't have that.  Did that play any part today, do you think?
 
COACH MATTA:  I think it may have.  I think that they were obviously    they never dropped their heads and they just kept coming, which we had seen that in them, and we had seen them down against some teams big and scraping, clawing back into it.
 
I do think the fact of being through it or going through it obviously does help you, and having guys that are on the floor that have been in these situations you know without a doubt it's something that I think is advantageous for the teams that has those guys.

Q.  Thad, you've obviously had lots of big games in your career.  What's your emotion after this game?  Are you angry at all?  Do you feel like you guys let this one get away?  And how does this maybe    have you felt like this very many times in your career?

COACH MATTA:  Yeah, I think that    I haven't really had time to sit down and think about it.  I think as I look at what this basketball team has done this year, I'm extremely, extremely proud of the progress that we've made.  I think from that standpoint, when I look and say what this team, with 22 wins and just the way it's come together, that's exciting to me.

I think that it is disappointing to lose a double overtime game.  I don't care if it's your home opener or NCAA Tournament, because there's so many plays you can go back and look and say had we done this, had we done that, and I think as I get out of here and really sit down, I'm sure I'll get a bit pissed off.

 
Q.  You're up 3 on that last possession of the first overtime when Moore made the 3 to tie it.  Did you think about, were you calling for the foul or what?
 
COACH MATTA:  Yeah.  We were.  And I don't know what honestly what happened.  We had said if we hit 1, we're up 2, do not want to give them a 3.  The ball will be coming off on the second one.
 
If we got up 3, we definitely wanted to    we were going to attempt to foul, make them shoot the free throws it kind of worked out because he kept dribbling around dribbling around.  I was waiting for it but it never happened.

 
Q.  Their rebounding, this is an obvious question, but how disappointing was that?  Beat you 53 37, whatever it was?
 
COACH MATTA:  I don't know.  It seemed like they had four in the first two possessions, I think, and we just    we didn't get the job done, and like Jon said, I think a few on the weak side.  But balls were hitting us in the hands and we weren't coming up with them.  And obviously    obviously something we've got to get better at.

 
Q.  You talked about how, I don't know, didn't look like their heads were in it or whatever.  Why do you think that is?  Is that youth or what is that?
 
COACH MATTA:  No, I don't know.  We didn't    when I say that, we had the attacks down that we wanted to do.  And we were very, very hesitant on the offensive end.  And a few of the turnovers we had, and I don't know, it just never seemed that we were the emotion that we play with and I don't know if we were star struck or    I don't think that was the case, because of what this team has been through.
 
I never ever worried about that coming into this game.  I just don't know.  It just wasn't    from where I was sitting or standing, it just didn't seem like we had it.  Picking our dribbles up, we weren't flowing the way we needed to.

 
Q.  Turner came up big for you guys all season long.  How good of a look do you think he got there at the end of the game?
 
COACH MATTA:  I thought it was a pretty decent look, about as good as you can get in 3.9 seconds and they executed the action to perfection.  I thought it was pretty decent.

 
Q.  Did you talk with regulation about trying to foul out these guys as they're killing you?
 
COACH MATTA:  No, it's easier said than done that we're going to foul this guy out or whatever.  They're a team that doesn't foul a whole lot anyway.  And so that always sounds good, but we don't have the NBA rules in there where you can stand one on one and that sort of thing.
 
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you, Coach.