Athens, GA (Mar 28, 2009) - In Sweet Sixteen action from the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball tournament on Friday, Kansas to Michigan State 67-62 despite having a five point lead with about three minutes to go. This is the transcript of the University of Kansas post-game press conference as provided by the NCAA and ASAP Sports.
BILL BENNER: We'll take an opening statement from Coach Self, then
we'll go to the student athletes for questions.
COACH SELF: Well, I thought it was it's obviously a hard fought
game. I thought we played really hard. I thought State played really
hard. Even though we never had control of the game totally, we were up
five with three plus left and they made all the plays down the
But certainly proud of my guys. I mean, a bunch of young kids came
in here and competed hard and wasn't in awe of the atmosphere and the
stakes. You know, we gave 'em a run. We just didn't finish the game.
BILL BENNER: We'll take questions for the student athletes.
Q. Tyrel, talk about your shot late to hit that big shot. Did you
think that was going to put you over the edge when you regained the
TYREL REED: I mean, it was a big shot. But I think it put us up
three. You know, felt like we were confident going into the last few
minutes. But we just didn't make plays down the stretch.
So it was a big shot at the time, but not enough.
BILL BENNER: We will dismiss the student athletes. Thank you. We'll
continue with questions for Coach Self.
Q. When Lucas was driving in the lane, everybody cleared out, it was
kind of the game on the line, what were you thinking there? Seems like
the best players come up big.
COACH SELF: Well, the best players need to make plays with the game
on the line. We've had a couple of guys make a lot of plays for us
when the game on the line. But if you go back and look at that
possession, I could be off a little bit, they went flat, which
basically let Lucas take the ball and try to beat his man to create
for himself in the lane.
You know, when he started going flat, there was about six or seven
seconds left. We defended the entire clock. Then he left Sherron.
After he lifted him, we would have been better off just fouling the
crap out of him rather than giving him the easy one. He stepped to the
line and made his free throws.
Even with that, we come down and make our free throws to get it back
to 63 62. Then we didn't mean to foul after that. But certainly when
the ball was kind of being dribbled up the sideline, opposite the
benches, we didn't mean to foul there, but we did. Then they made the
free throws. Then we missed the front end after that, which kind of
put the game away for them.
Q. Can you just reflect back on the season and talk about the team's
growth, how you think the guys finished out.
COACH SELF: Yeah, I'm probably not really feeling like reflecting
right now. But I do think this. We weren't a very good basketball team
early. The guys really came together. They gave us a chance to be
good. We had players step up all year long and really became a good
team. We got tougher, as evidenced by us winning the rebound advantage
tonight. We became a tougher basketball team.
We were never, I don't think, as efficient as what we could have
been on both ends. But still the guys really, really did well. I'm
really proud of 'em. It was a great group to coach, and I told them in
there afterwards, you know, when you're in the game, you know,
oftentimes it hurts the way it ends, because ultimately there's just
gonna be one team that's really ecstatic leaving the season. So, you
know, when you're in the game, it hurts, but can we learn from it in
the future? If we're able to keep these guys together, I believe this
can be a special group based on how much they improved over the course
of this season.
Q. A lot was made about the other guys needing to step up here. How
did they play tonight?
COACH SELF: We're up five against a great basketball team with three
minutes left. So I thought they did good.
Cole and Sherron is going to lead us in scoring. When you say 'step
up' you shouldn't think we're going to have guys take their place from
a point production standpoint. But we did better. We still didn't make
shots. You know, we I think we were 1 for 7, those guys shooting the
ball behind the arc.
But the biggest thing is we turned the ball over. I mean, Michigan
State plays great defense. But they're not a pressure defensive team.
They play, you know, from step out beyond the three point line, and
they really do a good job clogging things up. They really took
Sherron's driving ability away because they shadowed him the whole
night. We had so many unforced errors at crucial times which led to
baskets for them. Of course, they can say the same thing. We got a lot
of uncontested baskets in the first half off their errors.
I thought they did fine. There's no reason to say we didn't produce
in this area or whatever because when you go back and look at it, hey,
we're up five with three minutes left with a bunch of young kids in a
big time game, so they obviously played pretty well.
Q. Speak to how difficult it was for you offensively there down the
stretch in those last three minutes.
COACH SELF: Well, I don't know the exact situation on the time. But,
yeah, we didn't get good looks. We had a couple well, I know we had
one turnover that was really a bad turnover. We tried to call a set
and we had a bad turnover.
But, you know, we got some fouls called, made our free throws,
except for the last one. And it was tough. But you expect it to be
tough. They're a good defensive team and they're strong. The biggest
thing for us, when you go back and look at it, and I can't remember
every possession right now, but free throw block out, the one free
throw they miss, they come away with three points. Those are the
things that are differences in the games.
We just didn't take advantage of the opportunities we had. I thought
we tried really hard, though. And we played tough. We just didn't get
enough done down the stretch.
Q. Cole Aldrich, he played an amazing first half, and he had some
troubles in the second half. Which kind of learning experience might
he have had by playing against Suton?
COACH SELF: I think every time you lace 'em up in these type
situations, you learn. He's never been in this situation before. So he
can't help but get better from it.
You know, he made a couple plays that he wish he had back. But
overall I thought Cole played very well. It's a great rebounding team,
and he was by far the best rebounder in the game, so that shows me
something right there.
BILL BENNER: Thank you, coach.
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