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Marla Ridenour on Sports

Quotes from Ohio State's 64-61 victory over Notre Dame

By Marla Ridenour Published: December 21, 2013

OHIO STATE COACH THAD MATTA

"We weren’t talking, we weren’t communicating, we were giving them layups in the post. It was really odd. We came out (in the second half) and had no juice, not only to keep the lead, but to win the basketball game.

"We got drastically confused a couple times with the NBA 3-point line."

On the defensive instincts of the team: "We had told them what to do, but we didn't tell them how to do it. To their credit, they did a tremendous job with that. I'll be honest, we were confused one time and Aaron save the day when he saw we were out of position he influenced a guy to go the other way. That's the type of thing he does. I think sometimes it's hard when you get into the Big Ten season to press that caliber of basketball team 18 times. Let's face it, Notre Dame was trying to protect the lead. It wasn't like they were trying to break the press and dunk at the other end."

OHIO STATE’S AARON CRAFT

On the game: "Hopefully we can learn from it. We can enjoy this Obviously we have a long way to go. We have one game left before the Big Ten season starts."

On the defensive pressure: "It’s kind of what we should have been doing the whole game. Not so much the full-court trapping, but just the intensity. Guys made big plays and the ball rolled our way a couple times, too."

On you sealing the win by knocking the ball off Grant’s thigh: "For this team to be the best we can be, we have to hang our hat on defense. We’re going to have nights where we shoot the ball well, we’re going to knock down shots, but if we want to beat great teams and make a run in the Big Ten season, we have to play defense. The best part is these guys have been around, they’ve seen what it takes. Our coaches do a great job of putting us in the right positions."

OHIO STATE’S LENZELLE SMITH JR.

"We’re fighters, we’re never going to give up, we’re never going to stop believing in this team. As you can see we can do some pretty good stuff if we trust our system and keep our composure.

"This is the first time I will say as a senior on this team that I was really happy with our poise at the end of the game. I hate to say it but this reminded me so much of the Wichita State game that we lost to go to the final four. This time we made the proper adjustments. People didn’t panic, didn’t freak out. We made our free throws down the stretch and we were able to turn them over. That was something we were supposed to do the whole game but better late than never.”

NOTRE DAME COACH MIKE BREY

"That’s just so thoroughly disappointing. We had a chance to win that thing. Obviously not having Eric (Atkins) in at the end didn’t help, but we have some other guys who are pretty good with the ball. We just put ourselves in some really tough positions. It would have been such a great win for us. I loved how my team played I the second half, giving ourselves a chance against a really good team in what was a road atmosphere. I didn’t seem much blue and gold, but I did see a lot of red and white even though it’s kind of a Notre Dame town, I think. Hard one to live with.

"They turned the heat up and flustered us."

On OSU: "They’ve got a lot of different guys who come at you and they really are long and strong defensively. The first half was hard. They are physical, they’re men. It’s a veteran group that has won a lot together."

"You’re never going to be out of the woods against a team like that."

NOTRE DAME’S JERIAN GRANT

"Give them credit, they made the winning plays and we didn’t."

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