“Give their coaches and their staff a lot of credit, they had those kids ready and they played hard and played an outstanding game.”
Credit for a swift kick in the backside, perhaps.
OSU's performance was anything but what Ford had imagined when he ran his team out of Gallagher-Iba Monday. The Cowboys' attitude toward an NIT appearance – on Spring Break with the NCAA Tournament opening the same night in Dayton – had been a cause for concern.
And the concern intensified Monday.
“He just kind of said, ‘You guys don't deserve to play. Get out of my gym.' Something like that,” Moses said. “So we're all out of the gym and we're trying to decide, ‘OK, do we go to the locker room? Do we go back and talk to him? If we go back, is he going to yell on us? Do we send the captains to talk to him?'
“We were just trying to decide what to do. We finally just decided to go back out there as a team and show him we were ready to practice. And if he yells, no matter what, show him we're ready to practice.”
They kept on showing against Harvard, co-champions of the Ivy League and at No. 35 the highest-rated RPI team left out of the NCAA bracket.
“A lot of times this time of year,” Ford said, “you have got to do things to motivate guys and kind of bring every trick out of your bag that you can.
“But I wasn't happy. It wasn't anything I planned to do, but I wasn't happy. I just tried to get their attention and make them understand that this Harvard team is legit.”