Kansas Postgame Quotes - NCAA Tournament First Round

March 18, 2010

An interview with:

THE MODERATOR: Being joined in the interview room by the Kansas Jayhawks Coach Bill Self; student-athletes Tyrel Reed and Marcus Morris.
If Coach Self could make an opening statement, followed by questions for the student-athletes. COACH SELF: We’re happy we won. I don’t think we played great. I think Lehigh played very, very well. I think we played tight early and the lid came off the basket. I thought Lehigh played very hard and they got a terrific player, and fortunately these two guys to my right stepped up and had really big games for us offensively.
THE MODERATOR: Thanks, Coach. Questions for the student-athletes first so we can cut those guys loose.

Q. Tyrel, are you disappointed looking for nothing but 3s? If you get an open 2 do you even want it, or are you just looking for 3s?

Tyrel Reed: Basketball is not played to just be at the 3-point line all the time. I mean that’s what been open lately. I’m sure guys will start closing out, and that’s when you got to pump fake and take it to the basket or pull up. So I mean, it’s not like I’m strictly a 3-point shooter, but those have been open lately, and that’s what I’ve been taking.

Q. Marcus, seemed like tonight from the beginning, you were really going after boards, you were really active. Was that — as far as helping your team, you guys struggled early. What did you think about your role tonight?

Marcus Morris: I just tried to stay aggressive and not just scoring, trying to keep the possessions and offensive rebounds, mainly, just try to put the ball in the hole, because our bigs got in early foul trouble, and we had to have a low post presence, so I just tried to score.
THE MODERATOR: More questions for the Jayhawk players?

Q. Marcus, were you guys at all concerned as the game went on because you guys had — got out to a double digit lead, cut it back and kind of kept coming back. Were you at all worried out there during the game?

Marcus Morris: At a point they were playing very well, and I felt as though we were kind of letting it slip away, but we surely didn’t because we won the game. But I think they scored too many points, and I think we didn’t defend well. But they have a couple of great players on their team that shot the ball pretty well, but we’ll just take the win.
THE MODERATOR: More questions for the student-athletes? Okay, guys. Thank you. Questions for Coach Self.

Q. Bill, I know coaches worry about everything. What was your mindset when you guys would build a lead and then they kind of kept coming back until the last ten minutes of the game?

COACH SELF: We definitely didn’t ever put them away. We had numerous opportunities, I thought, to make it very difficult for them to get back in the game, but we didn’t — we never got that three, four stops in a row to let us really stretch it.
I thought our defense was not very good at all, and I thought, you know, we offensively the first half we were pretty stale and didn’t shoot it very good. The second half offense’s efficiently was very good. But we gave up 45 points. I never felt in the second half after we started playing that we were in jeopardy of losing the game, but I did feel like we just didn’t put them away. And I think that give them credit on that as much as anything else. They kept making some plays.

Q. Can you talk about Tyrel’s 3s, first three particularly seemed pretty big?

COACH SELF: I thought they were all big. The last one, of course, the game was over, but I thought that he made some big shots and — you know, one thing about Lehigh, they didn’t come in here holding the ball. They were wanting to push it and play. They did a real good job of attacking us, but defensively we were able to get some good looks the second half and — I mean, offensively.
And I thought that Brady and Tyrel made back-to-back 3s, which gave us a little bit of cushion very similar to the K-State game last Saturday and then — but Tyrel was probably the most efficient player we had in the game offensively because his shots came at big times, which really kind of kept the game, the distance great enough where we never really felt threatened. THE MODERATOR: More questions?

Q. Bill, Marcus and Cole had pretty good efficiency also as far as scoring particularly Marcus. Did y’all think you would have that kind of edge up front to be able to score inside?

COACH SELF: We’re bigger than they are. You know, I look at there we had 52 points in the paint to 18, if this stat is accurate — and I always wonder about these stats at the bottom of the page — but we were plus 34, if this is true in the paint, and a lot of that was second-chance opportunities and a lot of it was just throwing it inside, but that’s something that we have to take advantage of.
We shot it good from the perimeter the second half. We need to score inside, out. I thought we did do a good job of that.

Q. Coach, could you comment just generally, does it feel good to get out of the gate? Everyone has been saying the No. 1 — the team has been ranked No. 1 one so much of the season that this ranking wasn’t going to be a big deal. Does it feel good to get this one out of way and get out of the gate?

COACH SELF: It probably does. I’m not leaving out of here totally fired up right now, because I know that if we defend like that, then it will be very difficult, very, very difficult anyway, to beat Northern Iowa, and that would certainly make it a real tough challenge, because we’ve got to be better than that defensively.
We got — Cole has got to be a presence inside, and we need to handle the ball a little bit better. We’ve got to do a lot of things better. We’re really a loose team. Anybody been around us knows we’re loose, but we were tight to start the game, and I think, if I’m not mistaken, Marcus Morris kind of scored a couple of baskets there early, and once we got the score at 12-12 — doesn’t sound like much at the under 12 timeout, that I felt like we controlled the game even though we didn’t really distance ourself at all.
But it always feeds good to win in the NCAA Tournament, and we’ll go back and by later on tonight, we’ll be strictly focused and excited about Saturday. THE MODERATOR: Last couple of questions for Coach Self.

Q. Coach, not to take any of the attention away from your team. You have Oklahoma ties. Talk what it was like to tip off the tournament here and what the atmosphere was like here in the arena tonight?

COACH SELF: I really didn’t enjoy it that much the first eight minutes. No, I’m joking. It’s always good to come home. It’s good to come home, but, you know, we haven’t played great in my home state. We’re 1-3 in Stillwater, and since I’ve been at KU and I think we’re 2-1 at Norman. We played one good weekend here and two bad ones.
I don’t look at it as I’m going home or playing in front of friends or family that much. I don’t look at it that much differently, but it would be — it would be very special to come down here and win two games, because there’s been so many people that’s played a role in my success, little bit I’ve had, and I’d like to be able to — our team to do well because I think they kind of take a small part in what’s going on.
THE MODERATOR: Anyone else? Thanks, Coach.
COACH SELF: Thank you very much.