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NCAA MEN'S 2ND & 3RD ROUNDS: PITTSBURGH


March 15, 2012


Thad Matta

Jared Sullinger

Deshaun Thomas


PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA

Ohio State テや 78
Loyola of Maryland テや 59


THE MODERATOR:テつ We're joined by Ohio State.
Coach.
COACH MATTA:テつ Well, obviously this tournament is about advancing, and that's what we did tonight.テつ I don't think we played at the level we need to.テつ Our guys know that.テつ Give Loyola a ton of credit for that.テつ They came at us.テつ We had some chances.
We did some things that were very uncharacteristic of how we played the last couple weeks, which were probably more mental.テつ We shot the ball great in the second half, but our turnovers were detrimental to the flow of our offense.
We had the one segment we went four or five turnovers.テつ A lot of them were unforced.テつ We got to get ourselves ready to go.テつ Obviously with what Gonzaga did tonight, we got another great challenge on Saturday.
THE MODERATOR:テつ We'll take questions for the student‑athletes.

Q.テつ Jared, could you have won this game without Deshaun Thomas' performance tonight?
JARED SULLINGER:テつ I don't think so.テつ I mean, Deshaun was excellent on the boards and also scoring the basketball.テつ He pretty much carried this team.
I don't think we would have won it without him.

Q.テつ Deshaun, in the first half it looked like, as Thad mentioned, you got back into some things that you were doing earlier that he didn't like to see.テつ Second half, you really looked to be wanting to get to the basket both off the dribble and off the cut.テつ Was that discussed at halftime?テつ Also talk about what kind of flow you were in when you scored 13 in a row.
DESHAUN THOMAS:テつ I mean, I was just trying to get in the right spots at the right time, run a play, run with pace like coach always tells us.
Then I was just knocking 'em down.テつ I was just feeling it a little bit.
But, yeah, we kind of went back to the last games at the beginning of the season.テつ Coach didn't really like it.テつ But now we got it turned around, watch film, then do what coach say.

Q.テつ Jared, you were on a roll coming into here.テつ Do you feel like this was a step back?
JARED SULLINGER:テつ Uhm, I think it was kind of NCAA jitters.テつ You know, everybody is kind of nervous about playing.テつ But, I mean, I think there is a wake‑up call.テつ After what Gonzaga did to West Virginia, they're going to look to do the same thing against us.
Honestly, if we come out the way we played today, or should I say yesterday, since it's 12:00, and play the way we played, we're definitely going to be packing our bags and going home for sure.
I think it was a big‑time wake‑up call.

Q.テつ Jared, early in the game, maybe the first eight minutes you looked to be having your way pretty much.テつ After that did they bring more people to you?
JARED SULLINGER:テつ It was a little bit of both.テつ But I think, like Coach Matta said, it was more mental than physical.テつ I think I should have just read the defense a little bit better.テつ There were a lot of times I was trying to force a shot, that all I had to do was take the first one.テつ But I was trying to get closer to the basket.
But they did a pretty good job of just containing me and just try to keep a lot of bodies on me.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Gentlemen, thank you very much.テつ We'll continue with questions for Coach Matta.

Q.テつ I think Boeheim earlier said that this is what happens a lot of times with the first game in the tournament, especially to the high seed.テつ You referenced that when you said surviving and advancing is what it's all about in this tournament.テつ Did you have any indication it was going to be this way or did you just have a hunch?
COACH MATTA:テつ Well, I think what I saw, I'll look at it again, we made our runs and then we relaxed.テつ We'd make our runs again, then we would relax.テつ I mean, some of the turnovers we had there were just, you know, uncharacteristic.
I thought at times, like starting the second half defensively, we were as good as we could possibly be.テつ The pressure was up, we were tipping, deflecting.テつ Then we kind of let down.テつ Jared opens up with our first six points maybe and then he kind of relaxed.
Fortunately for us, DT kept his foot on the gas offensively.テつ But what coach was referencing, you know, we didn't have that toughness.テつ We did some very, very good things in the game, but it wasn't the consistency.テつ I don't know if I've ever said this about this team this season, but we're striving for 40 minutes of consistency.テつ I don't know if you've heard that.テつ That's definitely where the key was tonight.

Q.テつ Are you concerned about Jared at all?テつ Do you think when he relaxed a little bit it was a product of the flow of the game?
COACH MATTA:テつ Yeah, I think so.テつ No, I'm not worried about him.テつ Walking down here he knows there's things he can do and will do.テつ Jared will be Jared.テつ Without a doubt I think that he'll be ready to go on Saturday.

Q.テつ When you've had some of your bad games, you said you haven't had good weeks of practice.テつ Were they that way this week?
COACH MATTA:テつ We were pretty good.テつ We were pretty good.テつ It would be Tuesday and then yesterday.テつ Yesterday is always a tough day because you practice at an off‑site campus, then you come back in here for 40 minutes.テつ I don't think I've figured that one out yet.テつ I'm still going to play with that, what I want to do with that.テつ I guess every team's different.
But, no, I felt like coming into it we were in pretty good shape in terms of exactly what you asked, how the practices had been.テつ Tuesday before we left, we were really sharp.

Q.テつ Talk about getting to the free‑throw line and being able to convert on the opportunities from the line.
COACH MATTA:テつ Yeah, that was something, because we shot so poorly in the first half, 34%, whatever it was, 15‑18 from the line, that was good.テつ Then second half we started making shots, we just didn't take care of the ball.
But foul shooting is always going to be important at this level.

Q.テつ The difference in your field goal percentage from the first half to the second half, was it just telling the guys, Don't get good shots, get great shots?
COACH MATTA:テつ I think Deshaun had the big play, the good shot in the corner, threw it to Will in the first half, got a great shot.テつ Those were the things that we were attempting to get, making them guard us, with the changing defenses, what they were trying to do, recognizing.
We had a stretch there where Deshaun shot one quick in transition, 17 on the shot clock, three in the corner, out of bounds.テつ We talked about those in the timeouts like, Okay, hold up here.

Q.テつ Have you had any chance at all to see Gonzaga, the first game, what your thoughts are?
COACH MATTA:テつ Yeah, I did.テつ I've watched a little bit of them.テつ Spent today watching both West Virginia and Gonzaga.テつ I mean, they were as good as I've seen in terms of what they were doing today, making shots.テつ They had great size.テつ Pangos at the point is heady and he'll run Stockton in there, and two guards.
You know, they're playing, with what I saw tonight, as well as any team I've seen all year.

Q.テつ Is this a good thing that you don't come out and look great the first game?
COACH MATTA:テつ Yeah, I hope.テつ You know, I think last year in the 1‑16 game, San Antonio held the ball on us.テつ A few years ago we were a 1 seed, played Central Connecticut State.テつ It was a lot like this game.テつ You know, I think, as Jared said, I don't know if we were nervous or what it was, but you got two guys that started in the NCAA tournament last year.
I don't know.テつ We've got to get it ready.テつ I think our guys know we didn't play as well as we wanted to play, so hopefully it heightens our awareness.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Thank you, coach.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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