Postgame Quotes

Jan. 3, 2009

Recap | Box Score | Notes |

Postgame Quotes

Kansas 92, Tennessee 85

January 3, 2009

Kansas Head Coach Bill Self

On the game:

“We had good games by our 20-year old (Sherron Collins) and our 19-year old (Cole Aldrich). The both played great. When we play high-caliber competition, I know its pressure on them to perform. But our complimentary players played pretty well too. Tennessee is really athletic. We played so well early and took it at them so well. I felt like the only thing that kept us from not really extending the lead in the first half was makeshift lineups. We put Mario (Little) in a spot we have never practiced him in the two days he has practiced. We had makeshift lineups out there, just trying to make it to halftime. They cut it to seven, and we made free-throws late. They shot it about as well behind the arc the last five minutes as they possibly could, and we were still able to win by seven.”

On Tennessee’s pressure:

“They make it hard on you to get (the ball inbounded), but all-in-all we attacked the pressure pretty well except for those five or six times that they (forced turnovers in the press.)”

On Cole Aldrich:

“That was too many minutes (37) for Cole. I think we used to play him 30 at the max. When Marcus and Markeiff (Morris) were in foul trouble and Quintrell (Thomas) was not big enough to play (Wayne) Chism on the post the way Cole can, we just rode him, and he delivered. Tyshawn (Taylor) came in and made some big plays down the stretch too.”

Kansas Player Quotes

Sophomore center Cole Aldrich

On the win against Tennessee:

“It was really big. Regardless of their ranking, they’re a heck of a team. They showed heart throughout the whole game. They started to chip away when we had 10 seconds left. They didn’t give up and I think it puts us back on our feet and builds the momentum for the really tough stretch that we have coming up.”

On his dunks:

“Coach tells us every day to go up and dunk the ball because it gives us momentum, especially at home. The crowd goes nuts and it really helps us.”

On being a leader today:

“I’m only a sophomore and I’m considered a veteran, which is still unreal. A lot of the guys we looked up to last year helped. Sherron (Collins) and I have that extra edge from being in those games last year. Our team has confidence that we will lead them in the right way, that we’ll bring them up when they’re down and just keep on attacking when things aren’t going right. I think Sherron was great today. He played his butt off. He was great.”

Junior guard Mario Little

On his first game back:

“It felt good. Real good.”

On knowing when he was going to play:

“I was playing in practice, full-speed, so I had a feeling this would be the game I would come back in.”

On feeling rusty:

“I felt really rusty. I am not used to the game speed and not getting my shot off in time. They were getting to my shot more quickly than I could get it off.”

On playing in practice:

“Practice is just different than the games. Games are much more intense and there is much more adrenaline.”

Junior Guard Sherron Collins

On the contributions from Collins and Aldrich:

“Today was what we needed to do. Cole did a good job of staying out of foul trouble early and so did I. I thought I just tried to let the game come to me. It shows that when Cole and I are on the court at the same time that we can produce.”

On the rest of the team scoring the first 15 points of the second half:

“That was real important. A lot of times teams key in on Cole and I and we have to trust our younger teammates to make shots. I just tried to get my teammates open to hit shots and they did. Brady (Morningstar), Tyrel (Reed), and Tyshawn (Taylor) all played very well today. I think it was an overall team effort.”

On if this was the best game of his career:

“I think it was because I was able to control the game and get my teammates shots. I didn’t try to go one-on-one, I just let the game come to me.”

On the momentum this game could create going into a tough stretch:

“It was real big for us because we needed a significant win like this. We had lost all the big games preceding this and we just really wanted it. I didn’t get much sleep last night and I was still probably the most energized that I have ever been during a game. That is how bad I wanted this game.”

On how Mario Little will help the team:

“He will help a lot. His scoring, his sense of toughness and his rebounding. When he gets back to 100% his rebounding will increase and he will also score a lot for us. He will bring a sense of urgency and toughness to our team and another perimeter player that we need.”

Tennessee Head Coach Bruce Pearl

On the game overall:

“Kansas played well. Their two best players had terrific games. We really didn’t have an answer for (Sherron) Collins. Collins did whatever he wanted out there. Defensively it didn’t matter what we did, whether it was pressure, zone or man. Zone bothered them in the first half for about 11 possessions, but they shot the ball well. I give them credit and I am not happy with my basketball team. We need to get a lot better at point guard play. We’ve been dominated at that position particularly defensively. Offensively Bobby (Maze) and Josh (Tabb) are fine. They need to lock that position down more defensively.”

On the team getting off to a slow start:

“I take some responsibility for that. The Temple game was a lot about the line-up. We had some situations with guys being late or things I was doing for academic reasons. With the exception of J.P. (Prince), who I did start in the second half, we had our guys out there that had some experience and should have started better. We did not start well; our best players did not start well.”

On the team possibly being rattled:

“I think so. We’re 11 or 12 games in. This is not a surprise to me. The guys that have been around me locally know that this is the way it’s been. That said I’m hoping this one will serve us well. Kansas is an NCAA tournament team. It’s hard to win on the road against NCAA Tournament teams. In our league last year we got a couple of road wins against NCAA Tournament teams late in the season. There’s a difference there.”

On poor shooting from three-point range:

“As far as the three-point shooting is concerned, when you’re 1-for-11 from three in the first half and you’re not making shots, that’s a challenge. We scored 85 points here. Scoring 85 points against Kansas in this place is big.”

Tennessee Player Quotes

Junior Forward Wayne Chism

On his matchup in the post against Cole Aldrich:

“I have to give him props, we battled the whole game. It’s the first time I can say I stayed in the game and battled against a good big man with out getting in foul trouble. He’s a good player, I’ve played against him once and we know each other’s moves. Tonight we played against each other like we should have.”

On what made Kansas so effective:

“Penetration. You can give (Sherron) Collins a lot of credit; he can get into the lane and draw fouls. He’s a good point guard and I think their team fed off him. We would run to him and he could kick it out and get people open shots.”

Junior Forward Tyler Smith

On regrouping and playing better in the second half:

“We wanted this victory, so coming back shows that we have a lot of heart. I don’t think it really matters to me personally though, because we wanted that win really bad. They came out and gave us a great game though.”

On the magnitude of the game for KU:

“They needed the win and they came out and got what they wanted. They played a great game; Sherron (Collins) came out from the start and really played great. Cole Aldrich came out and gave his all too.”

On playing in Allen Fieldhouse:

“It was great coming down here to play on a floor like this. Seeing the national championship banner and all of the little things, like all of the history that has come through this school. We wanted to win, but it was just a great honor to be in this building.”