Postgame Quotes

Jan. 17, 2012

Recap | Final Stats | Notes |

Kansas 92, Baylor 74
January 16, 2012
Postgame Quotes

Kansas head coach Bill Self
Opening statement:
“We played terrific. That’s the best game we’ve played all year. The energy level was great and we got off to a great start. We kind of went brain dead for a bit. They are so good and talented that you know they are going to make a run. We finished the (first) half so well and got confidence in the second half, even though we didn’t really guard them great. We hung 53 (in the second half) on them and shot 67 percent. You can go down the list: Jeff Withey, awesome; Travis Releford, terrific; Elijah Johnson, solid, good; Conner (Teahan) solid, good; Justin Wesley, good; Naadir (Tharpe) made a shot when he got in there, but in big games your best players have to play. We had the best big man (Thomas Robinson), in my opinion, in the country today and we may have had the best point guard (Tyshawn Taylor) in the country today. I thought those guys were just fabulous. “

On all five Kansas starters scoring in double figures:
“We had balance. We also scored more points. When you score more points, you have more of chance (to have five players score in double figures). When you’re scoring 67 there is less of a chance to get five guys in double figures. For (only having) a 30-minute practice (on Sunday), how well did we execute against their zone? We got it everywhere we wanted it. Even though they played good man-to-man defense, they still want to mix it and do that kind of stuff. We did so well against their zone and getting into the middle. Then we had guys make plays. Tyshawn (Taylor) made so many key plays late and Thomas (Robinson) attacked the rim. He didn’t settle today. They are good. Perry Jones (III) is terrific. Quincy (Miller) is going to be great. Pierre Jackson is fast and he controlled the game for them offensively in the second half. Quincy Acy dunks everything inside. That was a 39-24 (rebounding advantage) against statistically the best rebounding team in the league. That’s pretty impressive.”

On Kansas’ success rebounding against statistically-better rebounding teams (Kansas State and Baylor):
“We just went after the ball. Iowa State out-rebounded us by eight. Statistically, they are not one of the better rebounding teams in our league. (When we play) the teams that really go after the ball hard, we make (going after the ball) an emphasis. That’s the way we have to play all the time. I wish we could bottle it and you would know when guys are going to play with that intensity and that magic level every game. I think the building means so much to that. When you play in juiced buildings like this, even when you’re on the road in a juiced building, it just adds so much energy and enthusiasm to your team. Certainly, tonight the building was incredible. It was incredible. We need it to be this way every night. This team is good and we’re getting better, but it’s not one of those things you can take for granted that we’re going to show up and have success. I thought the building played a huge role in our success tonight.”

On Kansas being in first place in the Big 12 heading to Texas on Saturday:
“We’re five games in and we have 13 games left. It would have been a big deal if we hadn’t won today and Baylor had a leg up on us. I watched Missouri today; they are terrific. Baylor is terrific. There are a bunch of teams, Texas being one, that can come into our building and have success, but also there are not any guaranteed wins in this league on the road. We are going to have to play as well on Saturday as we did today to go get a win in Austin. It was a good start and I’m proud of our guys and I think we are getting better, but this is not a group that you can be nice to. This is not a group you can pat on the back and tell them how great they are. We did that after the Ohio State game and then Davidson beat us. We have to stay focused and keep working.”

Senior guard Tyshawn Taylor
On the play of his team:
“I said it yesterday during my interview with (ESPN’s) Holly Rowe, when she asked about how we were going to work against the zone. I told her the game was going to come down to the best players on each team making plays and that is what happened. We came out ready to attack, and we kept it on them (Baylor) the whole game. T-Rob (Thomas Robinson) started us off and then I kind of helped him out a little bit. Jeff (Withey) played amazing, Travis (Releford) played well, Elijah (Johnson) played great and (Conner) Teahan came in and made a big three, so it was a collective effort.”

On his team’s 13-0 run to end the first half:
“I think the last game (vs. Iowa State), helped us learn how to fight back a little bit. Coach (Self) always says that it is a game of runs, and they are going to go on a run. They made their run, we countered with ours and they could not get over that hump to fight back and get another run because we were focused tonight defensively.”

On his aggressive play of late:
“I definitely want to go out there and be a threat, because I don’t want to feel like I am just another player on the court. I want the defender that is guarding me to feel like when I have the ball that I can make something happen. I just want to keep being aggressive and being in attack mode, so that is what I am going to continue to do. I have been shooting the ball pretty well and I am just going to keep trying to shoot open shots and hopefully they keep falling.”

On the impact of tonight’s victory:
“I think we made a big statement tonight and I told my teammates with about 11:00 left that we had to make a statement. I am not saying people are sleeping on us, but I think people did not know really what to expect, coming from this team. They did not know really what we had or what we could do, and I think the last few games we showed them that we can be the best team in this conference if we play the way we have been playing.”

Junior forward Thomas Robinson
On matching up with a team like Baylor:
“You have to be in attack mode the whole time. I knew that their zone could be a problem, but I knew also if I was the one to deliver the first punch then hopefully I would get the upper hand over them.”

On his dunk early on in the first half:
“It would go right up there with the lob that I caught at Arizona (2009). I don’t know how to explain it though; I just jumped and caught the elevator to the top stairs.”

Junior guard Elijah Johnson
On his team’s defensive effort:
“We were in tune and knew what we were supposed to do. We listened to Coach’s (Bill Self’s) tips the day before and actually thought about it during the game. It just comes down to being focused.”

On junior center Jeff Withey’s impact on a game with his shot-blocking abilities:
“It changes the team a lot because we turn into a Baylor-type team and there is height everywhere. T-Rob (Thomas Robinson) will bring the strength because he is going to muscle everything through for us and intimidate people. If you make that pass, you still have to go over a seven-footer, who is athletic and can do just about anything. So when we get Jeff going, it really gets a lot of us going, and a lot of people don’t know that. Jeff is a key player to our team, especially with getting us started. When he is on track, it can be a long night for some teams.”

Baylor Head Coach Scott Drew
Opening statement:
“To start with, Thomas Robinson showed why he’s a player of the year candidate tonight. Tyshawn Taylor was outstanding and (Jeff) Withey was a monster on the boards. Early on we didn’t have some success in the paint and got away from it. I really credit their defense and from there we couldn’t stop them on the offensive end. All year long we’ve defended and rebounded much better. We’re looking forward to watching tape and getting better. The great thing is, you play everyone twice, so you have a chance to play better the next time.”

On if he was satisfied with the way his offense was attacking during Kansas’ run before halftime:
“When you score 74 points, it gives you a good enough chance to win, but obviously defensively, again all year long we’ve been good on defense and rebounding the ball, but tonight we weren’t. We’ll have to find a better way to go about things.”

On Tyshawn Taylor’s play:
“He’s gotten better each and every year. I know when he got in the league (Big 12) he was an outstanding defender and his offensive game has gotten better each year. He always has the toughness and the leadership. I think Kansas is one of those teams early on, they were good, but now they are even better and I think the nation saw how tough they are. Night in and night out you are going to face good teams and if you don’t play well and they play well, you have no chance.”

On if he thought his team got away from attacking inside:
“I thought all night we got away from attacking inside. It started at the beginning of the game when we had a couple shots point-blank. After we missed those, I think we got away from what we do. Again, credit Kansas for their defense because obviously that had a lot to do with it. The next time we play them (Kansas) we have to find a better way of attacking them.”

On what he hopes his players take away from the game tonight:
“It’s one game. If you let it affect you and affect the next game then you have no chance of being successful in the league. They defended home court. They did what you are supposed to do – win your home games. Give them credit for doing that.”

Baylor Sophomore forward Perry Jones III
On Thomas Robinson:
“He is an All-American. He played like he is supposed to play, he played like an upperclassman. He is a tough guy who delivered for his team.”

On if the atmosphere affected them:
“I’m not sure, to be honest. It was loud, it was the loudest place we have ever played in and their fans really got into the game. We tried our best to stay together as a team and not let the noise affect us.”