Ohio State's Holtmann Not a Fan of Turgeon Whine

Bruce Hooley

Chris Holtmann seemed surprised by Maryland coach Mark Turgeon's post-game description of OSU's Kaleb Wesson as a, "bully," in a win over the Terrapins on Sunday.

Now that Holtmann has had several days to think about it, he's no longer surprised.

He's upset.

The OSU coach went out of his way Wednesday at the end of his weekly press availability to calmly, but firmly and repeatedly, take issue with Turgeon's charge that Wesson took unfair advantage of 6-10 Jalen Smith in the Buckeyes ' 79-72 victory.

"I thought the whole characterization of his game was wrong and out of place," Holtmann said.

Smith had a streak of nine straight double-figure scoring and rebounding performances end, along with Maryland's nine-game winning streak, on Sunday.

Wesson had 15 points and nine rebounds in 37 minutes.

Smith sat out nine minutes of the first half with two personals and finished with eight points and seven boards.

Afterward, Turgeon complained that the 6-10, 250-pound Wesson was allowed to physically dominate the 6-10, 225-pound Smith, who goes by the nickname, Sticks.

"He was allowed to be the bully," Turgeon said. "He stuck his forearm right in Sticks' chest twice. I guess you're allowed to do that in this building."

That's kinda-sorta the life of post play in the Big Ten, which Turgeon surely knows from manhandling opponents as recently as last year with 6-9, 240-pound center Bruno Fernando, who made first-team all-league and first-team all-defense.

Turgeon doesn't have a physical presence like Fernando this year. He instead has the more willowly Smith, who roams the perimeter more and isn't as equipped to hold up defensively in the post.

Wesson, who's lost 35 pounds since last season, took advantage of that and Turgeon seems fixated on it in advance of a possible third meeting with Ohio State either in the Big Ten or NCAA Tournament.

Since losing to OSU four days ago, Turgeon has since voiced the same complaint about Wesson twice more -- once when asked if he would appeal to the Big Ten about Wesson's play and again in an ESPN podcast with former coaches Dan Dakich and Seth Greenberg.

"Complaining [in any official capacity] is a waste of time for me," Turgeon told the Washington Post. "It doesn't do me any good. But it was really like the big brother picking on the little brother, and the parents were just letting him do it."

Holtmann completed his answers to all questions asked of him Wednesday, then said he wanted to re-address "the continued dialogue" Turgeon has offered.

The OSU coach took more than 10 seconds to get rolling, but once he did, he made clear his disapproval of Turgeon's painting Wesson a bully.

"I continue to take issue with the way he characterized Kaleb's play," Holtmann said. "I think it's inappropriate. I've never seen this much conversation after a loss. I understand there's probably some maneuvering in terms of the next game that they play, but no one is scrutinized in terms of officiating more than Kaleb Wesson. And he's had to adjust. He's had to adjust.

". ..When we played in College Park (in January), they flopped a couple of times and it was called and we shot a technical on it, and we showed that that could be the case again.

"He has gotten his fair share of calls against him. He's adjusted....He's scrutinized as much as anyone in this league when it comes to officiating and he's had to adjust. And he's going to have to continue to adjust. And I thought that, you know, those comments afterward were just, were, quite honestly, a little bit out of place."

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Comments (1)

I was surprised when the Terpins coach said this. Seems like a pretty soft response and the refs made the right calls. In no way were there super flagrant fouls or any bullying.