home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


March 13, 2009

Jon Diebler

Thad Matta

Evan Turner


Ohio State – 61
Wisconsin - 57

THE MODERATOR: We'll have Coach Matta make a couple of opening comments and then we'll take questions for Evan or Jon and then we'll finish up with questions for Coach.
COACH MATTA: Just I think two great teams going at it. We felt like going in this game it was going to come down to the wire.
I think the difference for us, we did a better job from Game 1 taking care of the basketball, and I thought our execution was much better. And that was the big thing we sold our guys on.
And then rebounding. We did a pretty good job rebounding the basketball. It appeared, I don't know, about the 12-minute mark in the second half, and I told these guys Wisconsin right now has all the juice. They've got all the energy. And the last eight minutes somehow someway we've got to get that back, and both of these guys made a couple of big plays.
And we were fortunate to come out on the top side today.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for the players.

Q. Evan, could you talk about what it's like playing with fouls down the stretch there and still taking the ball to the basket and fighting for the rebounds? Did you put the fouls out of your mind or did you have to just forget about them at that point?
EVAN TURNER: I just forgot about them. I saw the game was a winnable game, and, you know, just kind of played with risk. If I was going to go out, I was going to go out fighting, and just trying to help the team get the rebounds needed. I wasn't too really worried about getting fouls, I was worried about attacking and trying to win the game.

Q. Evan, it appeared in the second half that you guys went almost exclusively to taking the ball to the basket and taking it inside. And when you do that, obviously you're going to get to the free throw line a lot, and was there talk about that at halftime that you may have to win this game at the free throw line, and especially the way you guys shot it from the line in the first half, was there talk about making a few more in the second?
EVAN TURNER: I think our mentality is just being aggressive, giving what the defense gave us.
And we were just attacking. The lanes were open. And we were all fortunate enough to get to the basket, get a couple of fouls here and there. And just executing and making free throws. And I think we just took advantage of what they gave us.

Q. Jon, you didn't have a whole lot of looks in the game, but take us through the possession where you hit the 3 that I think put you guys ahead during the game-closing run and what you saw and how it felt.
JON DIEBLER: It was just a great read by Evan. I think what set it up was how aggressive he was the last like five or six possessions going to the basket.
And when he's being aggressive, you know, it gives the defense a choice. And he made the right read and I was just thankful for knocking it down.

Q. Evan, with a minute or whatever to go there when you guys called the timeout and you came out, could you talk about what you were doing? Were you just going to wait until you run the clock down and then take it to the basket or what?
EVAN TURNER: The plan was just for me to come off the screen and just make a play like I've been doing.
I don't know what I was really thinking, I was thinking of winning. However they were going to give it to me I was going to take it. I was thinking about taking a basket or making a play.

Q. Regarding what Thad said about when he mentioned that Wisconsin had all the juice and all the energy and somehow you were going to have to find a way to win the game, what did you think about -- what came to mind as far as how you were going to find a way to win that game?
JON DIEBLER: Just getting stops. I think the start of the second half they scored three, four times in a row, I think.
And, again, Coach was right, we didn't come out with the intensity we needed to. There's been times like that throughout the season where we've done -- I think tonight we took a step in the right direction. We came together as a group on the floor and said we need to pick up our intensity because we were getting good looks on offense, and we knew defense was going to win the game.
EVAN TURNER: And also we just knew the tougher team's going to win. We knew we had to pick up our toughness and come together and get the stops we needed to get and we knew we could score any time we wanted to. So it's just to get defensive stops was really a plus.

Q. You guys closed the game on a 14-3 run. Did the game feel similar to the one in Madison because it was kind of touch and go in that one, too, and what was the difference for you guys down the stretch this time to be able to close like you did as opposed to up there?
JON DIEBLER: I think today I think we finished possessions a lot better than what we did when we played at Wisconsin. I'm not sure how many offensive rebounds we had. But I think we did a lot better job this game than the last game. We knew Wisconsin was going to go to the glass, and they send four guys to the glass, and they're big.
So I think the first half especially we did a really good job. I think that's kind of why we had the lead going into halftime because we rebounded a lot better than we did over in Madison.
EVAN TURNER: I think also just like in Madison it's for us to take. Up in Madison we didn't take the plays or do the easy things we needed to do in the last couple of minutes to win the game, and Wisconsin pretty much just sat there in Madison and, wow, they gave us the game. Here we just drew the lines. Just got rebounds and made the plays we needed to. So pretty much this is in our hands win or lose it, we felt like.

Q. I'm curious, you looked like you were in pretty good shape as far as the NCAA goes coming in here, but does this make you breathe a little easier? Looks like now you almost certainly should be in.
EVAN TURNER: Makes us breathe a little easier, simple fact that we want to keep playing. First game is over and we want to get ready to get focused for tomorrow. Not really worry about the tournament. There's some good teams here. This is a prestigious tournament. We want to represent well and get to the title game and play some good tomorrow hopefully and do what we came to do.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you. Finish up with questions for Coach.

Q. Thad, the question I asked Evan about the strategy in the second half, just seemed like you went to the basket a lot even when the ball wasn't in his hands. Somebody was taking it to the basket. What was your thought there playing that way in the second half?
COACH MATTA: You know, it wasn't like a conservative, like this is, boom, what we're going to do. I think a lot of things presented itself well. Our spacing allowed those. Evan, I think he missed two layups to start the second half. Had the ball right at the rim and then to convert them.
Really seemed to lead off of that, and William was stretching the defense and when Wisconsin plays us, one thing they've done it two times now, they don't let us shoot 3s. I think they kind of do that to everybody.
And they really lock on Jon as much as they possibly can, and I thought we were just much more patient in letting things happen for us.

Q. You talked about trying to take back the energy later in the second half. Was part of that picking up the pressure defensively and pressure them more?
COACH MATTA: Yeah, felt like when we started the second half, we were just kind of out there. And Wisconsin had the ability to do really whatever they wanted to do. And our pressure points weren't what they needed to be, and they're so well disciplined to kind of pick you apart.
And we were kind of at their mercy, I felt like. And they did a couple of things that Coach Ryan obviously saw and we had to adjust on the fly there.
But I think that was probably the biggest thing for us, just extending and getting our hands up and trying to tip and deflect the balls.

Q. You've talked all year about the development of this team. I'm just wondering, to close a game that was close 14-3 down the stretch, which, you know, similar game to the one in Madison, if you feel like this was a sign of where these guys have come over the last month or whatever?
COACH MATTA: We've had enough practice throughout the course of the Big Ten season, that's for sure. No, I think that hopefully this team is continuing to grow. I mean, the one thing I've said all along about this season is in my mind I think we've gotten a lot better.
The problem is this league, you don't get to see it, because every game -- I mean, you don't ever see the light at the end of the tunnel. Congratulations, we beat a great team in Wisconsin. You've got Michigan State tomorrow. It's sort of been that way.
But for us to come from behind and make the plays that we had to make, couldn't be prouder of these guys. And, like I said, I think we've gotten a lot, lot better. In my mind I think we have. But you don't get to see it when you go out and play the games because the competition is so good.

Q. Along those same lines, last year your team got really good at the end, you ended up in the NIT and winning the NIT, which is obviously not where you want to be, but do you see that here? As I was asking the players, you obviously want to get in the NCAA tournament. You've got young players who are getting better. Is this a plus that way? Nothing's ever certain, I guess.
COACH MATTA: It's funny, because it's like I've said, I told somebody before the game with this basketball team, every day with the youthfulness of it has been kind of like a new adventure. And from explaining to a couple of guys and we laughed about it yesterday, how the Big Ten Tournament works and where it is, they didn't know where it was, and all that stuff, and you try to keep in your mind, hey, we could have this team back next year, and a lot of the guys the following year.
I think all the lessons, as they continue to play better, is very exciting for our staff and hopefully our program. And as we keep moving through this, you know, I just hope we keep getting better.
And I think they have. I love this team from the standpoint -- somebody asked me the other day, a media person, they said this appears to be the most challenging year you've ever had. And I said it's been challenging because the stretch through the Big Ten.
But this has been -- I love this team. These guys come in. They go to work every single day. They don't know any different. We've probably practiced this team harder than any team we've ever practiced. And they just keep coming at us.

Q. Somebody came up to me in the closing minutes and said does every game end the same way for Ohio State, and they were talking about Evan running the point. And I said I guess the strategy is until somebody stops it, keep on running. Is that your attitude towards what you're doing with him at the close of games?
COACH MATTA: Yeah, a lot of it is really predicated on what the defense is going to do and he had -- the biggest thing, he set himself up in the first half to be successful in the second half by what he was doing. And I think that's one of the big lessons Evan's got to continue to learn. He had a couple of assists there and was moving better without the basketball, some things we've been asking him to do.
And he saw the rewards of it today.

Q. The contributions you got from Jeremie, P.J. and Dallas, there was a stretch where Evan was on the bench a lot at the end of the first half. And you guys hung in there, actually took the lead. How big was that stretch in the contributions of everybody up and down the roster?
COACH MATTA: Very important. We had Jon and Evan sitting; those are our 40-minute guys. And both guys had two fouls in the first half. We ran the risk, put Jon back in, and fortunately I think he got a bucket, if I'm not mistaken.
But, no, those three guys did a great job. Kyle Madsen did a great job on the defensive end. He wishes he had that pass back. But they sparked us in and Will's shot there at the end of the half gave us a little jolt of energy because I didn't think we had played particularly well and we had to weather a lot of storms, and I think that excited the locker room there at halftime.

Q. Do you view this in any way as an NCAA elimination game or do you think one or maybe both teams have done enough?
COACH MATTA: Honestly, I viewed this game coming into this game both teams were in. Maybe you can help yourself with a seed. We're probably right around there. But I mean, Wisconsin, obviously with what they've done all year and what we've done, the biggest thing is for us and Wisconsin, who finished fourth and fifth, are tied, whatever it was, and the discrepancy to second and third is one game in the No. 2 league in the country.
For us, this shouldn't have come down to a one-game season. Both teams did enough from November all the way through in finishing 10 and 8 in this league, both teams are in great shape.

Q. Is that what you told the players, though?
COACH MATTA: No, no. No, I told them we've got a lot of work still to do.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach.

End of FastScripts

About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297