Holtmann addresses team’s struggles


Amid a month-long slide that includes losses in five of its last six games, Ohio State’s season is getting late early as the calendar turns to February. Speaking with the media on Monday, head coach Chris Holtmann addressed what he feels his team needs to do to begin digging out of its hole as the stretch run approaches.

“I think that’s the challenge in front of us right now, and an exciting one at that, just figuring out how to really maximize our time as we do have short turnarounds and playing teams that have different strengths and being ready for that,” Holtmann said of what can improve since just days after the 25-point loss to Northwestern. “But at the same time, it’s keeping our focus on what we have done well and obviously needing to do that better. What were some of the strengths of this group here when we’ve been playing well and getting back to performing better in those areas.”

Despite the team’s struggles, Holtmann said his players have maintained the appropriate mentality that will be required if Ohio State is to turn the season around.

“I feel good about them,” he said of his players. “I think anytime you go through a difficult stretch, there’s certainly going to be a confidence thing (present). Guys need to see success and experience that, and build their confidence through that, so I think you’re always aware of that as a coach. But I feel good about this group’s approach (on Sunday) in practice, and we’ll see how it is today.”

For Ohio State to get back to winning games, it must regain its touch from the three-point line. In each of its last five losses, Ohio State has shot 35% or less from three, and three of those losses featured efforts below 30%. Asked about the lack of shot-making from his team, Holtmann identified multiple issues that are leading to the poor shooting displays.

“I think the ball has to move a little bit more, and we’re trying to put a little more shooting on the floor which will hopefully provide more spacing because right now, as you get into league play, the floor gets really compressed if you can’t make shots,” he said. “That jams up your entire offensive flow, and I think we’ve seen some of that with our inability to make open shots. So we need to add more shooting on the floor and perhaps a more skilled (shooting) group than what we currently have.”

Whatever it might take for Ohio State to find another win, Holtmann said his team isn’t dwelling on last Saturday’s blowout or what’s been a rough month overall. Rather, they are simply focused on learning from their shortcomings and getting better each day in preparation for what’s next on the schedule.

“So much of athletics is about how you respond, and we have an opportunity to respond. That’s something I’m excited about,” he said.

Reach Dillon Davis at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @DillonDavis56.

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