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March 21, 2015

Thad Matta

Shannon Scott



THE MODERATOR: We're joined by Ohio State head coach and student-athletes. We'll begin with a statement from Coach Matta.

COACH MATTA: You know, got beat by a great basketball team today. We were in the position we wanted to be in at halftime. They had that little run on us there. We fouled, allegedly, at the half a couple of times and put them on the line. But I thought we were in pretty good shape. They came out, made some great plays. Obviously the rebounding was a big key.

THE MODERATOR: Questions for the student-athletes.

Q. Shannon, how well do you think your guys' zone defense was working in the first half? What kind of changed there in the second half?
SHANNON SCOTT: I mean, it worked great for us. Got like 26 points in the first half or something like that. I think in the second half we kind of got out of shape, got into the middle a little too much and then York had a hell of a half really. He hit about four threes, and that really just opened it up for them.

THE MODERATOR: Gentlemen, thank you. Questions for Coach Matta.

Q. What were they doing on Russell throughout the game that was giving him trouble?
COACH MATTA: You know, they had great length out there. Obviously they were committing two guys to him off the ball screen and did a really nice job. You know, with that length, it was a little bit difficult to see around. But I thought he had some great looks at the basket. Unfortunately it was kind of one of those days for him in terms of the shots not going down. But as I told him, hey, he's got to keep shooting. We were hoping, as he's done so many times this year, he's kind of caught fire and put us on his back. It was unfortunately one of those games. The size may have had a little to do with it.

Q. Good defensive job, but York got off. Did he surprise you with what he did?
COACH MATTA: No. Obviously he was in there to do one thing and one thing only. In the first half they had a couple decent looks that didn't go down for them. Once he got going, and we made a couple of big-time mistakes in terms of our rotations, you know, that was kind of the difference in the game. They got into double-digits there. We were telling our guys, Hey, they got one guy out there that's looking to shoot the basketball. The MVP for Arizona was McConnell. That kid was unbelievable both offensively and defensively today. Just did a great, great job. I kind of like coaching because he's out there having the time of his life.

Q. You know Sean Miller well. You've seen his teams. Where would you put this Arizona team?
COACH MATTA: You know, I think this is probably, without a doubt, maybe his best team. You know, we were talking about it the other day, probably 15 years ago to the day, I think I was a 10 seed and Arizona was a 2 seed with Gardner, Arenas, Jefferson, Wright and Woods with like nine All-Americans on the bench. That was a heck of a basketball team, too. I think Sean is doing a tremendous job when you watch him and you really zone in, preparation. You watch him during the year, I'm watching late-night TV, but when you start studying him, I mean, Sean is doing a heck of a job putting those guys in position to be successful. Quite honestly, we had to sort of pick our poison in terms of what we wanted to do today defensively because they can hurt you in so many different ways.

Q. Are you okay losing like that, you said the zone was okay?
COACH MATTA: When you sit down to prepare, they're a team, I don't know how many they shot today, 19 threes. The most I think they had taken was 21. They wanted to go inside on us. I thought we did a pretty good job with our interior defense. Like I said, we had to choose sort of one or the other. Once you hit a couple, we got out of it. They got us a little inside. I think when you're playing a team the caliber of Arizona, you need a little bit of luck, you need him to miss a couple of those. But, you know, with that said, to do over again, I would have done the exact same thing that we did.

THE MODERATOR: Coach, thank you. Appreciate it.

COACH MATTA: Thank you.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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