Kansas Postgame Quotes-vs. SE Missouri State

Nov. 9, 2012

Recap | Box Score | Notes |

Kansas 74, Southeast Missouri State 55

Nov. 9, 2012

Postgame Quotes

Kansas Head Coach Bill Self

On the game overall:
I thought we did some good things tonight consideringthey only shot 29 percent and we out rebounded them, we only turned it over 13 times and we go 24-of-28 from the free throw line, that (typically) is going to be a 40-point game. There is no way you can’t win that game by 30 or 40 unless you go 2-of-21 from three. Perry made a 12-footer and no other person made anything other than a layup. Miserable shooting and obviously the offense gets stagnant when that happens. We guarded pretty good. We just missed shots. Not great, but not awful, you make a couple shots and this looks a lot better.”

On the play of Jeff Withey and Perry Ellis:
“It was good to see the ball go in the basket for those two. Jeff definitely needed it. This is going be a process and Michigan State is not going let you get to three feet (from the basket). You’re going have to do something to get to three feet and based on what I have seen so far, we are just not aggressive. We are so much better with Elijah (Johnson) and he was not a big factor, but at least he was more aggressive.”

On being aggressive:
“It’s just the mindset of being aggressive at all times. It blows my mind that we are not an aggressive group. We are a passive group right now and we have to pick it up. I’ll keep saying it and I’m not going to back off of it. We are going to play against real guys real soon and those guys think that this piece of meat may be the last piece of meat on earth and they play like it. So, if we don’t play like it, we will get our butts handed to us.”

Kansas senior center Jeff Withey
On how he evaluated his play tonight:

“I still have a lot of things to work on. I’m definitely getting more confident and more comfortable with the new guys. It’s a process and it’s still early, but I’m getting better every game.”

On how the absence of Thomas Robinson has affected him:
“It’s pretty tough, but I think Perry (Ellis) doing a pretty good job so far. He is a freshman. He’s doing what he needs to do to get points and he’s taking a lot of pressure off me. Whenever he catches the ball in the post, he can make moves and that’s what we need from him. We’re missing Thomas but we have young guys that definitely can fill his spot.”

Kansas sophomore guard Naadir Tharpe
On whether or not the team has needed him more from him tonight:

“I figured once (Elijah Johnson) had his fourth foul, I was going to have to go back in the game for a while. I tried to get my mind right once I went in. I tried to lead the team the best I could and Ben (McLemore) played outstanding at the end of the second half, as well as Travis (Releford), Jeff (Withey) and the rest of the team. We all kind of pulled together as one to finish the game right. “

On why no shots were falling from the perimeter:
“That’s just basketball. Everybody has days where the ball doesn’t fall, but nobody took any bad shots. We’re going to make those shots as the year goes on as long as we keep being confident enough to shoot them. That’s all that matters.”

Kansas freshman forward Perry Ellis
On how he felt about his first official start as a Jayhawk:

“It was great getting my first game under my belt. Just listening to (my teammates) and the seniors really just motivates me day in and day out. They really help me a lot.”

On becoming a go-to scorer:
“I’m just trying to play through the system and just post when I can and score when they need me to. I just try to do what’s best for the team.”

On confidence gained from the game:
“The first game was a different environment for me. It’s a lot different from high school, but yes, I could say it gave me confidence. Practice day in and day out really helps too.”

Southeast Missouri State head coach Dickey Nutt
Opening statement:

“We’re glad to be here. This was a special game for us because of the tradition the University of Kansas has. What an atmosphere. And I commend you for that. I was really proud of our guys tonight. We played hard. In the first half, we really pressed a lot. We were nervous. I think we were star-struck, but I thought we bore down in the second half. We calmed down a little bit. We did a better job in the second half of slowing them down a little bit. We tried to throw different defenses at them, zone in particular, and dared them to beat us from the outside. At the end, they did. They’re big and strong, and we certainly have a lot of respect for them, but I was proud of our team.”

On Jeff Withey’s defense:
“He’s big. What he does is he makes them a very good defensive team because you can put so much pressure on the ball, and if they get around you, you have a shot-blocker in there that really creates a lot of problems. His stats don’t really show what he does. He alters a lot of other shots, and he scares a lot of the plays going toward him just because of his size. He’s very mobile, and he’s very good at it. The reason I say that is because he doesn’t foul. He’s not a foul-prone type guy, or he certainly wasn’t tonight. He’s good at it. He’s a finesse-type shot blocker that creates a lot of problems, especially with a team like ours. Again, we just couldn’t hold the gate, but I thought, for us, we played good enough just to try to keep it competitive. We had our chances with a three that could have cut it to five at one time, but he’s an outstanding player.”

On trying to neutralize Withey in the second half:
“We did a better job. What we tried to do in the second half was adjust a little bit and try to really three-quarter front versus front. With the front, because he pushes you out, their techniques are so good, and with the off-side action that they have, you don’t really have a natural help side. What we tried to do is adjust, tried to go to a little match-up zone and really stay matched up with people. But more than that, try to push him off the block, three-quarter and make him score over us. We did a decent job with that, but I think when Nino (Johnson) got in foul trouble, then we really got soft inside. That hurt us.”

On Elijah Johnson:
“The thing about those guys, they may not be playing to their best right now, but they have won a lot of games. They’ve been in a lot of big games. He’s naturally a good player, but I thought we did a good job of controlling him. I thought Lucas (Nutt) did a good job of handling the basketball against him. Our turnovers were low. We did a good job with him, but I think when he started to hurt us was when he really ducked his head and went to the basket. When he did that, then we got on our heels and we got worried. When he started to do that more, we got concerned. When we did, they became a better team when that happened. I think that’s probably exactly what Coach Self told him to do. We did a decent job. I don’t have any complaints about our team with that.”

On his relationship with Bill Self:
“We were together with Leonard Hamilton (at Oklahoma State). We all started with Leonard Hamilton. We were together then and best of friends. We’ve known each other for 30 years. Let me tell you, we (Hamilton and I) knew then that he (Self) was special. Now, we didn’t like it, and we envied it. We were mad at him most of the time, but he had a great start with Larry Brown. He came in with so many ideas. He’s such a basketball mind, but let me tell you what I love about Bill Self. Bill Self never forgets where he comes from. He’s, if not the best, one of the best coaches in the country and he still knows where he comes from. That makes him special. Not to mention, his body of work speaks for itself. Here’s a guy that can really coach, and I certainly have a lot of respect for him. We (our team) enjoyed it. We had a good night, and our guys were excited about it. I thought we played hard. We’ll build on that and get back to our league. I think we’re going to have a chance to be good.”

On how the team builds on this game:
“It does tremendous (things) for us. It really does. This is a night that we can take and we can build off that. We can grow because we feel like we were competitive. We felt like we weren’t worried. We felt like we played hard. Defensively, we did a good job. Offensively, we took some bad shots. The thing that I told them afterward is, ‘Here’s what you can build on. You can build on what you can hang your hat defensively. We didn’t have any gamble plays where we gave up easy baskets – maybe three or four at most. We have to play these types of games. We have to play two or three a year. Do we want to start out here? No, we don’t, but it’s just the way it is. I understand that, but if we’re going to do it and we -have to play these games, why not play the best? Kansas is the best, so we’re going to build off this. I do feel like our guys will walk away with just a little more confidence that we can play if we put together and do the things that we’re supposed to do.”

Southeast Missouri State senior guard Nick Niemczyk
On the difference in momentum between the first and second halves:

“Our focus in the second half was mainly defense. Rebounding was a big factor for us. We needed to make sure we were boxing out well. The zone that we played really helped us out.”

On neutralizing Jeff Withey in the second half:
“We have some good wings, especially A.J. Jones. Our wings are very good about getting in the lane and looking for the open man. Lucas Nutt does a very good job of getting in the lane as well.”

On playing against KU’s defense:
“I’ve never played against any defense like that. That’s the best team I’ve ever played with in my life and it was just a great experience all around.”

Southeast Missouri State sophomore guard Sydney Crafton
On reducing Jeff Withey’s defensive dominance in the second half:

“He’s a seven-footer so he covers up almost all of the paint. We had to get him out of there in order for our guards to attack and get to the line in the second half.”

On getting within six points in the second half:
“We had it. We felt like we had it. It was the little things that got us. We felt the referees made some unfair calls. We can’t blame the refs though because our defense was key. We let them score a couple quick transition buckets that pushed the lead further.”

KUAthletics.com: The official online source for Kansas Athletics, Williams Education Fund contributions, tickets, merchandise, multimedia, photos and much, much more.