Postgame Quotes

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March 2, 2013

Recap | Final Stats | Notes |

Kansas head coach Bill Self

On the game overall:
“We really put things together today. Especially after the second or third TV timeout when they were still ahead. We played pretty well until the end of the first half and then of course putted around a little bit the first four minutes of the second half. Then we started to play about as efficient offensively as we have played in a while. We shared the ball. We had 29 assists and 34 baskets (FG made for the game). Jeff (Withey) was great and Elijah (Johnson) and Naadir (Tharpe) were really good. Naadir. Travis (Releford) and Kevin (Young) were also solid. The big thing was we had one guy off the charts today. Elijah was off the charts against Iowa State, but today was Ben’s (McLemore) time to be off the charts.”

On Elijah Johnson’s performance:
“Elijah is playing so much better. When he’s locked in and thinking about the right things such as being aggressive, that kind of stuff, as opposed to thinking too much and reacting slow (he’s great). I thought he was aggressive today.”

On Ben McLemore’s performance:
“Ben was great. It’s good to see because Ben has labored lately and he’s been a different guy for us most nights and certainly, we look forward to hopefully having an aggressive McLemore the rest of the way.”

On Jeff Withey’s performance:
“He had nine blocks, and I know they called the last one a foul, but that was a weak one. I wish we could go back and recount it. It sure seemed to me like he had more than nine, but he was terrific again.”

On Monday’s upcoming Senior Night:
“It will be great. You think the day will never come and then it gets here, and it comes so fast. We’ve got four guys who have won an awful lot of games and have given themselves to this place and represented this place in a first-class way. I certainly believe, and hope, that our fans will turn out and send these guys off right. Senior Night is fun, but we have an important job ahead of us. We need to take care of business and keep our conference championship hopes intact. I’m really looking forward to it. I know our guys will be a little tired; we won’t be able to practice long tomorrow, but they will be ready. The big goal is to take care of business Monday. Our goal is to win out in the conference and get the best seed we can for the NCAA tournament.”

Kansas senior center Jeff Withey

On his blocks tonight:
“I was one away from 10 and I felt pretty good about that. Nine is a lot and I did a lot of work for that. As long as we get the win I’m usually happy. I help my teammates not have to work a lot on defense and let them worry about offense.”

On Monday night’s game against Texas Tech:
“We’re excited for Monday night. It’s going to be an emotional game and one that we will remember for a long time. We’re ready for it, but at the same time we don’t want it to come because it is our last home game. We know that we have to win the rest of our games in order to win the conference (title) and in order to get into our groove for the tournament.”

Kansas senior guard Elijah Johnson

On Ben McLemore breaking Danny Manning’s freshman single-game scoring record:
“I told Ben when he was walking off the court when I was going in to get him. When he made that three-pointer it dawned on me when coach told me to go get him. I figured I would send him to the bench in better spirits. I honestly think that Ben is a person that deserves to break the record out of anybody that I have ever played with. I am happy for them.”

On blocking West Virginia’s Jabarie Hinds layup:
“I felt like Tyshawn (Taylor). That’s all I could think of when I was trailing him. We fed off of that. Not too much credit to me because at the end of the day I put Travis (Releford) in a tough situation to make that pass, but if that’s what led to us getting on a role like that I really don’t mind.”

On playing with McLemore:
“I love this kid. I can honestly say that I have learned a lot from him. He’s a hard worker. He is a calm cool guy on and off the court. He doesn’t change his personality, he’s always happy and he’s always trying to pump energy in the room. He’s just a good guy.”

Kansas freshman Ben McLemore

On his teammates:
“I just want to thank my teammates, especially Elijah for creating things for me and helping me get my shots open. Elijah is a great player because he can see when I get on a role and he wants to keep feeding me.”

On whether Elijah’s performance at Iowa State gave him motivation for the game:
“It did a little. He’s a great player, and a great teammate. Watching him doing that just helped me be better as a player, it definitely inspired me.”

On their last home game this season:
“We just have to focus on what is in front of us right now. Our focus is just to go out there and play ball. We make our seniors happy and have them leave with a great year.”

On his impressions of Danny Manning:
“He’s a great player. One of the best players to play at the University of Kansas. Just breaking the record and knowing I did something great for the University just makes me happy. Right now I just want to enjoy this win with my teammates, and I want to give a lot of thanks to my teammates.”

West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins

On Kansas senior center Jeff Withey:
“He makes it hard for everybody to score inside. He is the best shot blocker in the country.”

On the key to Kansas pulling away:
“We threw the ball to them. We were up two or up four (points), we had a breakaway and they make a block and they go down and score off of that. Then for a reason unbeknownst to me, we give it to them again, they score. Then we throw it in the post and throw it out of bounds and they score again. We just can’t overcome those things. We’re not good enough to get down by 10 or 12 or 14 to a team as good as they are and be able to come back. We don’t have enough offensive firepower to be able to come back. We have to keep the game within reach and it’s hard to do that when we commit unforced errors.”

On West Virginia’s transition defense:
“When you throw the ball to them or continually shoot the ball of the front of the rim, it’s like throwing an outlet pass. We continually fired shots off the front of the rim that bounce out to 15 or 17 feet and everybody is off to the races and we are trying to rebound it. So they’ve got numbers right away because we fire it off the front of the rim and (committed) live ball turnovers. We just can’t do it.”

West Virginia freshman guard Eron Harris

On how the team responded to the Jayhawks’ early run:
“There is always something you can do to stop a run. The question is can we do it? Can we, as a team, come together and get the stops we need? Tonight we proved that we can’t.”

On Kansas’ Ben McLemore:
“He really didn’t do anything one-on-one. He hit a lot of free throws and he hit wide open jump shots. They were setting screens and he was getting wide open looks. As far as that goes we need to play better team defense. We shouldn’t always have to defend a person by ourselves. If you have a screen coming, you need to talk and if the guy gets screened, you need to help out a little bit.”

West Virginia freshman guard Terry Henderson

On the Mountaineers’ team effort:
“I don’t want to say it but everyone saw how we responded to them (Kansas) making shots. We simply just didn’t have the same energy that they did. That’s all.”

On the turning point in the game:
“The fans saw Elijah Johnson run down and make a block. That gave the crowd energy and then on the very next play another player got a block (Jeff Withey) which gave the crowd even more energy, which then led to pumping the team up. From that point forward they had all the momentum. That’s hard to stop when we can’t execute.”

On their team as a whole:
“We are the type of team that doesn’t really have a stand-out superstar that we can throw the ball to and get a bucket. We all have to play together as one team for all 40 minutes. That is something that we just didn’t do tonight.”