Two days after Ohio State defeated Michigan at the Crisler Center, coach Thad Matta held his weekly call-in show. Here are the highlights:
*The show was pre-recorded earlier Monday because Matta was out of town recruiting.
*C.J. Jackson replaced an injured JaQuan Lyle in the starting lineup against the Wolverines.
“I thought C.J. was tremendous in terms of running the basketball team, having a great understanding of what needed to be done and when it needed to be done,” Matta said. “Didn’t play perfect, but you always know what you’re going to get and that’s everything he’s got. That becomes contagious. He’s on the floor diving, taking charges – even though it wasn’t called – (and) he’s got his hands on balls.”
Lyle came up with a few steals on cross-court passes.
“Those are the ones that you want to get against a team like that because of their spacing,” Matta said. “Early in the game they got us a couple times where we stayed and helped too long but it was great to see Quan making those reads. Those are the game-type preparations you have to take forward.”
*Freshman Micah Potter hit an early three-pointer and added some solid minutes off the bench for the Buckeyes. Matta said he’s fine with the freshman squaring up from three.
“You sort of play the percentages,” Matta said. “He’s shooting the three at a pretty high clip. He had a couple that were open in the second half that didn’t go down. Was it too quick in the shot clock? Maybe it was, but if he makes it, you love it.
“I really liked how Micah played. Defensively, he’s getting better. He’s understanding the ball-screen angles better. That’s a great thing. The kid works hard and you want him to play well.”
*With Keita Bates-Diop out for the season, Lyle limited last week with the ankle injury and former walk-on Joey Lane out after having “his bell rung,” as Matta put it, the Buckeyes have had to get creative in practice.
“Coach (Greg) Paulus and coach (Chris) Jent were practicing last week leading into the game,” Matta said. “We’re down on numbers. Fortunately those two are in good enough shape to where they can practice.”
On the injury report, Matta said Lyle rolled his ankle early Thursday.
“That thing swelled up and he sent me a picture Thursday night of how big that thing was,” Matta said. “He didn’t look 100 percent out there. He was a little bit gimpy, more so on the defensive end than the offensive end, but I thought that was one of the things that happen throughout the course of the season. Fortunately the other guys did a great job of being ready.
“It’s that time of the year. Everybody’s got their bumps and bruises. C.J. got hit the other day and had a black eye. His eye swelled up. I think that was Tuesday.”
As for Bates-Diop, Matta said, they’ll start rehab today. He saw the team leave Friday for Michigan.
*Matta said Thompson was checking in and nearly tripped Matta. He looked at Jae’Sean Tate and joked, “If it was anyone on the team, it was going to be him, wasn’t it?”
*On the top of watching film, “D’Angelo (Russell) was unbelievable in the film room. He wanted to know how and why. Aaron Craft was that way. He’d study film just because he wanted every single advantage he possibly could have.”
With this team, Matta said the Buckeyes usually watch film first and then practice.
*After the Michigan game, Matta said he told his players to think about some of the good things they did and the feeling of walking off the court victorious.
*Matta said he got a text from Larry Brown after the game that said, “That Tate kid makes me smile.”
*Asked about Andre Wesson, Matta reiterated his belief that the freshman is going to be a great player at Ohio State.
“He’s got both feet in,” Matta said. “He comes to work and does his job every single day. Good things happen to guys like that. There’s a lot of things he can do. A lot of it doesn’t show up on the stat sheet, but defensively he’s really getting better in terms of guarding the basketball and rotations.
“Watching Andre at Westerville south and the job coach Ed Calo does, he’s a winner. That makes you a little bit more cerebral when you’re thinking winning thoughts. That’s something Andre does a great job of.”
As a result, Matta said the Buckeyes aren’t too concerned when Wesson gets switched onto a new defender.
*Senior Marc Loving had some key points during the final minutes against Michigan.
“Marc, I thought he was tremendous the other night in terms of how efficient he was,” Matta said.” It was so good to see him shoot a 2-foot jump hook in the paint. For years I’ve asked him to do that instead of the one-legged slither through there. He’s shooting the ball well and he’s got great leg drive.
“I remember his freshman year begging him to shoot the basketball. I think he’s playing with a high level of confidence in himself and his teammates. That’s something good to see.”
*Michigan wasn’t the best defensive game for Kam Williams, and Matta said he apologized to his teammates during the first timeout. He also drove the basket with success, and Matta joked that the two were related.
“He was watching the guy he was guarding drive around him so he said, ‘I’ll do that,’ ” Matta said. “He struggled defensively early and he knew it. He did a great job of attacking the basket. People are trying to run him off the line and he’s done a much better job of finding the creases and getting inside the defense.”
Matta said Williams’ defensive issues were a combination of footwork and needing to just lock down and guard the ball.
*Asked about the controversial St. Bonaventure-VCU ending, Matta said in a similar situation, “I’d have yelled, ‘Fire!’ and pulled the fire alarm.”