Feb. 5, 2006

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Head Coach Bill Self Postgame Quotes
Kansas 59, Oklahoma 58
Feb. 5, 2006

Kansas Head Coach Bill Self
On the game:

“Teams need to learn how to win when they don’t play well, and we were miserable in the first half. Our guys just hung in there — give the crowd a lot of credit. This reminded me so much of the Georgia Tech game last year. We played bad and labored, and (Oklahoma) controlled the entire game until we got it down to about seven, and that is when we got some key stops. Brandon (Rush) did a great job on (Terrell) Everett at the end. (Down 50-34) we were dead. We were just about dead, but the guys didn’t quit. It was a bunch of young kids battling; not playing well but they kept coming back. You just have to play to win. Mario (Chalmers) had as rough of an outing as he has had since the Cal game. And who makes the shot at the end of the game? Mario Chalmers. I couldn’t be any happier or prouder of our kids. Teams have to learn how to play ugly sometimes, and certainly, we did that today.”

“Brandon (Rush), I don’t know if you guys knew, got poked in the eye early in the game. He had blurred vision the entire game. Guys played well. Sasha (Kaun) and C.J. (Giles) were great. Those two guys played to their size today, even though they didn’t score a lot of points. Taj Gray got 10 offensive rebounds because we trapped the post and forced rotation, but we did a good job on him. We did a good job on (Kevin) Bookout. And of course, Terrell Everett, we did a really good job on him in the second half.”

On the play with 1.6 seconds remaining:
“We talked to our guys and told them that (OU) had the possession arrow, and do not let them tie you up. Oklahoma did a good job of getting in there and tying it up. It wasn’t Brandon (Rush’s) fault. If we would have batted it to half court or anything, we would have won the game right there. They made us sweat. It is a good thing we had a foul to give. We told them that if it was close to foul them before they got into their motion to shoot it. We did a good job on that. I don’t know who fouled Taj (Gray), but it was a great foul.”

On the final play of the game:
“We put C.J. (Giles) on the ball to take away the throw to the rim. That is what they had tried to do the time before. Russell (Robinson) didn’t do a great job on (Michael) Neal on that play. He got off a look. It wasn’t a good look, but he got off a look. We thought they would throw the ball to the basket. Fortunately for us, they threw the ball outside and (Neal) missed.

Freshman Guard Brandon Rush
On the game:

“I was getting down on the team a little bit because they (Oklahoma) kept scoring back-to-back and the lead kept getting higher. We just came together and the shots started falling and we started locking down on defense. The game went our way. As the lead got higher I thought the game was done but we just came back and started to get focused and the shots started falling for us.”

On the Kansas comeback:
“We were taking it one possession at a time, trying to hold them down on the rebound and give them only one chance to score and get the offensive rebounds. The game boiled down to the last play. Mario (Chalmers) came through big time.”

On what the win means:
“I think that we earned some respect today. We still have a couple big games ahead of us and we are still going to try and prove people wrong.”

Freshman Guard Mario Chalmers
On Kansas coming back in the second half:
“They (Oklahoma) kind of tightened up. The biggest thing was that they couldn’t get into their offense like they did in the first half. We were pressuring them and they were missing good open looks.”

On Kansas’ play in the first half:
“We struggled a lot offensively. They played good defense but we missed close shots too and had to force it a little too much.”

On the game:
“It’s a big win for us. People on ESPN have been talking; Kansas can’t win in the close games. Hopefully, they will get off our backs a little bit. I think that we earned a lot of respect by beating one of the toughest teams in the league. It shows that we can finish when it is close and that we belong in the top of the conference.”

On the game’s turning point:
“I think the (biggest) play was where C.J. (Giles) and Brandon (Rush) trapped (Terrell) Everett at half court and I was able to sneak in a get the steal and the lay-up. We just kept running after that.”

On his play to go ahead 59-58:
“My first thought was that Coach (Self) was going to call a time-out and when he didn’t, I just tried to attack the paint. I saw an opening and I was able to get through. (Kevin) Bookout tried to take the charge and when they didn’t call it I was able to get my little floater shot off. And it went in.”

Sophomore Center C.J. Giles
On the game:

“It gives me a lot more confidence about working hard and focusing more on the defensive aspects more than the offensive. In the beginning of the year, I was more worried about being offensive-minded, because Coach (Self) wanted me to score. We didn’t really have any scorers, but now that our guards are playing and our big (men) are playing, I can focus more on my defense and my offense will come.”

On the trap with :01 second left in the game:
“Coach was yelling the whole game, ‘Trap, trap, trap and trap the post’. I knew that was one thing I had to come in a do. One of the little things that we had to do to win the game that we didn’t do in the first half.”

On what the game means:
Hopefully, we earned a little (respect). I know that we have all year to prove that. We have a lot more games to play as well as Texas. That will be a real big challenge for us so we just really need to focus on our next game. It was a good game and we are all real happy but we can’t get to big-headed because of this one.

Freshman Forward Julian Wright
On the game:
“We just want to go out every game and get better. Even in practice. The coaches have done a really good job of keeping us focused and knowing we can play any team regardless of the circumstances.”

Oklahoma Head Coach Kelvin Sampson
On the game:

“Coming into the game, I didn’t know if we could play better for 34 minutes. Everything that we wanted to get, we got — offensively, defensively, rebounding and loose balls, we all got. In the stretch we had three turnovers in four possessions and that’s when you get the crowd into it. We had the crowd out of the game. And then on the offensive end, we had four balls that hung on the rim that did not go in. We just could not handle their crowd. This one is hard to handle because we outplayed them for a long time. They outplayed us in the last six minutes.”

On the final play of the game:
“We actually wanted to jam it in on Taj (Gray) and we looked for they lay-up, but they covered it up.”

Senior Forward, Kevin Bookout
On the final play of the game:

“We were trying to get it to him (Taj Gray) so he could just lay it in. I remember my freshman year, I missed one of those shots versus Texas at home on the same play. It’s worked before but they did a good job of executing their defense. Anytime Michael Neal is open we get him the ball because when he shoots the ball we feel like it’s going in.”

On the difficult task of winning in Allen Fieldhouse:
“I’ve watched a lot of games up here and a lot of close ones, but sooner or later it’s going to happen (Oklahoma breaking the losing streak in Allen Fieldhouse).”

On the game atmosphere:
“We just kind of slowed down. Neither Terrell (Everett) or Taj (Gray) have been in an environment quite like this. This arena has a lot of history, but it can’t play against you. The crowd can only do so much. It was loud, right up there with Gallagher-Iba Arena, but they got into it there in the last seven or eight minutes, and I thought that helped them out. Their younger guys got really energized by that (the crowd) and got rolling.”