Postgame Quotes vs. Lehigh

March 19, 2010

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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 studentathletes.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Lehigh Quotes

THE MODERATOR: Start out with quick statement by Coach Reed and question for the student-athletes.

COACH REED: First of all, I’d like to give credit to our seniors who made a terrific run throughout the entire course of this season. They did a wonderful job of representing our program, doing so with class, molding and forming a team into a family and, then obviously a number of other student-athletes within our program that represented us with class as well, with character, and gave us a wonderful year and certainly one to be proud of. The game tonight was going to require an absolutely champion effort in order to dethrone Kansas. I’m proud of our hustle and determination, and I’m proud of our fight. Unfortunately, we came through on the wrong side and didn’t quite have enough, didn’t quite have enough miracle plays in order to pull off a tremendous upset, but, nonetheless, we will not hang our heads. We will move forward with pride. I felt we represented Lehigh University and the Patriot League with a great deal of class.

Q. Zahir and J.C., both of you guys, when you got up 12 to 4, what was the thought there? Was the thought, “Hey, this could be our night”?

ZAHIR CARRINGTON: We really didn’t think too much about it. We know the game is 40 minutes long. With a team as strong and deep as Kansas, that ain’t really going to cut it for the whole 40 minutes. You know, I think that it was more shocking to other people in the building who realize we came to play and kind of shocked them. We knew they were going to come back with a run and tied it at 12 right before the next media. So maybe it woke them up a little bit. We didn’t feel any particular, you know, joy or cheer. We knew it was a long game and that was the kind of effort we were going to need throughout. I was proud of the defense that we were playing at that time. I think we held them to four points going into like the second media segment or something like that. I knew that was the kind of defense we needed to be playing, but, you know, it was a long game, and at that point we were trying to sustain that effort.

C.J. McCOLLUM: I’ll go along with what he said. We expected to come out with a lot of a intensity. We knew if we got up, it wouldn’t matter. Coach Bill Self was going to get into them. We expected to get a lead at the beginning, but we were trying to sustain throughout.

Q. Any of the players, just when they got into gear, why weren’t you guys able to stay in the game and continue the Cinderella run?

ZAHIR CARRINGTON: Their size and length kind of worried at us as the game went on. They out rebounded us and beat us up on the offensive glass pretty good and getting a lot of second-chance opportunities that way. Also, you know, I think in the second half they started to go on a bit of a run because they had their main guys back in. Aldrich was in some foul trouble in the first half, a big difference when the lane is opened up and guys can get in there and make some better finishes and get our hands on a couple more balls and rebounds and stuff like that. I think, you know, with their starting five back in, beating up the glass like they were, I think that was the biggest difference for us in that game. We also had some shots. They caught us on a off night shooting-wise. We missed some shots that we normally make. I think that would have kept the game a little more interesting if we had a couple more shots fall.

Q. Zahir, can you tell me what the difference is what you saw differently from Marcus Morris in high school and what you saw from him today?

ZAHIR CARRINGTON: His game has grown a lot, to be honest with you. Playing him in high school, they were, first of all, they weren’t as bulky. They put on some size and weight. His game has expand as far as being able to shoot the ball. Before he was a decent shooter, but now I think with that and his game at his height, that allows him to stretch the floor and stuff. But today I can’t really say he did like too, too much. A lot of his damage came on offensive rebounds and tipins. He made some quick moves to the basket. Pretty much anybody can do that kind stuff. He had a good game. Congratulations to him.

Q. Zahir and Marquis, you guys never gave up, and couple times they moved out to double digits and you kept cutting into it until the last ten minutes. What was it that was working for you guys to stay in the game until the last ten?

MARQUIS HALL: I think it was just our team attitude in general. You know, when we were coming back, basketball is a game of runs, and they were making their runs and we were coming to the huddle during the media segment or timeout. We would say now it’s time to make our run. It’s the attitude of our team in never giving up. We play the full 40 minutes, no matter what happens.

ZAHIR CARRINGTON: There’s no quit in any of us by any means. We knew it was going to be a fight, whether or not we were going to be up or down, to take out an opponent as good as Kansas. So we knew it was going to take a 40- minute effort, up, down, or whatever. We’re a tough, hard-nosed team.

Q. Zahir, you had a dunk, you had like three blocks. And you had pretty good moments in the paint. Can you talk about the memories of your performance tonight and will it last for a lifetime?

ZAHIR CARRINGTON: I mean, I was just playing my game, to be honest, you know. Nothing really stands out too much to me because we just lost the game. I think a little bit more things would have stood out had we been walking away from here with a W, but I was doing whatever I could to help my team to win. I wish I could have did a little more.

THE MODERATOR: Any more questions for the Lehigh student-athletes? Thank you, guys. Questions for Coach Reed.

Q. When you’re in the second half and it’s still close, do you ever let yourself think that, hey, maybe we can do this? Or are you just so wrapped up in what’s going on that you

don’t really notice it?

COACH REED: Our mental approach to the entire game was that we could do it through every media. Through every media I felt we could do it. Even when they made a run, I still felt we could do it because I know the character, I know the talent that we have in our program, and certainly proud of their effort. So even when things looked a little bleak and Kansas made a few runs, at no point did I really lose a lot of confidence or faith in our ability to build a run ourselves. Unfortunately, the quality of their play, their players, their program, not only did they really impose their will offensively, but they also did so defensively with a number of key blocks in critical situations.

Q. Coach, Tyrel Reed got loose like he tends to do quite a bit, hit some big 3s in the second half. Is he kind of the secret weapon/dagger off the bench they’ve got that really kind of makes them a really good team?

COACH REED: Well, he was a significant factor in this game tonight, without a doubt. We were trying to patrol the interior and provide as much help as we could because we were outsized in our front-court positions. It was a constant battle. And when you require other people to come over for help or change some of your defensive schemes, occasionally you let somebody loose on the perimeter. Reed was really able to capitalize on each of those shots in that type of situation, really helps them build so much momentum. It makes us stretch out so much more, and it’s really difficult when you can surround that type of talent, people who can create off the dribble, the amount of size they had on the interior, with someone who can stretch the defense and shoot as well as Reed did.

Q. Coach, was there a halftime message down only six points to the No. 1 team in the tournament?

COACH REED: Well, we came through, we tried to look at a few adjustments we could make, couple strategic things, but ultimately the message was we still believe. We still believe. Being down at the half, we knew we had a tough road ahead of us. But looking at it, we didn’t feel like we played anywhere near one of our top offensive performances, and to be able to hold Kansas to 35 points and put ourselves in that position, really felt in that second 20 minutes, if we could maintain our composure, our poise, and really keep that confidence level high, we may be able to close that gap even more and put this game in the situation where it becomes even more pressure, even a heightened sense of reality that we came to play.