Postgame Quotes

Nov. 25, 2007

Recap | Box Score | Notes |

Kansas 76, Arizona 72 (OT)
Nov. 25, 2007
Postgame Quotes

Kansas Head Coach Bill Self
On the game:
“(Arizona) played well. They played well and we had a chance to crack them in the first half and made about five or six mental mistakes in a row that cost us points or gave the ball right back to them and then defensively made mental mistakes. Unbelievable. We were flying around and then guys beat us and forced help and we were not sound. We let them think they could play with us, and you know what, they can. (Chase) Budinger was fabulous and (Jerryd) Bayless is good, and we were fortunate to win tonight.”

“Darrell (Arthur) scored the ball well. He had too many turnovers, but he did some good things offensively and defensively. We need to get Sasha (Kaun) going. He is just not reacting to the ball and he’s got to rebound it. And Russell (Robinson) probably had as bad a night tonight as he has had since he was a freshman. He didn’t have any games like that the last two years. It was just one of those nights where we were fortunate to win because we didn’t really play the way we felt we should play and are capable of playing, and then we get nicked up. We had to fight through some adversity. But Rod (Rodrick Stewart) was really good, Mario (Chalmers) made some big free-throws tonight and competed hard, and I thought (Rush), to play that well considering what he has been through, was remarkable.”

“I know one thing, (Rush) is getting the day off tomorrow. They all are. It was kind of a weird game — had a weird feel to it. We had a chance to crack it open and let them off the hook. It is a great lesson for us to learn. When you let good players get comfortable, which we did, anything can happen. There a lot of things we can tighten up, and I think we will. We’ve got to get our big guys rebounding the ball. They are just not going after the ball like they should.”

On Brandon Rush:
“Our game plan was to play him 20 (minutes). Our medical staff kept checking him. When Tyrel (Reed) went down and Russell (Robinson) picked up the two foolish fouls to end the half to give him three, and then Rod (Rodrick Stewart) got a touch foul to give him three, we didn’t have any bodies. I thought Jeremy (Case) came in and gave us some minutes there, but I am glad we won. Trust me, I’m glad we won. We will look back on this as a good win, because they are definitely an NCAA Tournament team, but (we had) so many mental mistakes and we made the game hard on ourselves in the first 35 minutes. We didn’t do what we were supposed to do. We were scared to throw the ball inside when the guys were wide open. We made some bone-head plays, but the last five minutes and overtime, I thought we played pretty well. We executed pretty well and took care of the ball.”

Kansas Junior Guard Brandon Rush

On the near-miss from 50 feet to end regulation:
“I thought it was going to go in. I was praying that it was just going to drop.”

On playing in a big game against a name opponent:
“It felt good. The energy was there. The whole crowd was into it. We made some stupid plays at the beginning and end of the game, so we had to come through. We had to win somehow, it was a grind-out game.”

On guarding Arizona player Chase Budinger:
“I was getting tired from going around those screens. They set tons and tons of screens, and every time that he was open he would make on me. I was getting kind of upset about that.”

Kansas Junior Guard Mario Chalmers
On grinding out the victory:
“The three-ball was not really falling for us tonight. We did not have a lot of open looks and when we did, we just did not make it. So we knew that we had to get easy buckets a different way and that is what we did.”

On not allowing many fast break points:
“That was big for us because we knew that most of their offense was from the fast break. We practiced all week on getting back on defense and it paid off today for us.”

On playing a close game:
“It gives us confidence knowing that we can pull one out in the end. Arizona is a great team and we were fortunate to come out with the victory.”

On having Brandon Rush play a large number of minutes:
“We needed Brandon tonight. He was big for us. He came in and gave us some great minutes, great points and great production. We really needed that from him and I think he needed that for himself.”

Kansas Sophomore Forward Darrell Arthur
On the game:
“We had the game under control in the first half and led 20-9, but we let them loose. They came back and made some nice plays. Chase (Budinger) got hot. (Arizona guard Jerryd) Bayless got hot. They were just making plays. I thought we did a good job on offense and defense in overtime. I thought we controlled the game in overtime.”

On Brandon Rush’s health:
“He’s got his legs back. His knee has not been bothering him and he’s been playing pretty well in practice lately, too. He’s really explosive right now.”

On playing a close game:
“I feel pretty good about the way we responded. I thought Budinger was a beast, and he knocked down some big shots in the end, but we were able to contain him. I thought we played pretty good down the stretch.”

On if this was his best game he has played this season:
“This has been my best game. I thought I played pretty well down low, but I missed some bunnies down low and had a couple turnovers.”

On why the game changed in overtime:
“We turned it up defensively. We were more intense and we were talking more. We were hungry and I think we wanted it more. They responded, but we just wanted it more.”

Arizona Head Coach Kevin O’Neill
On the game:
“I thought we played a lot better in the second half defensively. In overtime I thought we just ran out of gas. In the first half we didn’t defend like we should. Their size got us. They are very good. I am taking nothing away from Kansas, they played a heck of a basketball game. We had our chances.”

On the last play of regulation:
“We certainly did not want Bret Brielmaier to take the last shot of the game. We wanted Chase (Budinger) to take it. It was supposed to be a double-pin down play for him. We didn’t get the ball reversed and when that happens we ended up with the ball to Bret. He had an open look. He wouldn’t be my choice to take the last shot. I love him to death. We just didn’t execute the last play and when you do that on the road, against a good team, it is not going to end well for you.”

On the team’s improvement:
“I think that we have gotten better. We were terrible against Northern Arizona, better against Virginia. We were so-so against UMKC and Adams State, but I thought we stepped up and played well on the road. We still need to make some strides on the defensive end. In the second half we manned up and did what we are supposed to do. We have had two games that have come right down the stretch and we just haven’t come through. That is unfortunate.”

On the offense:
“We ran a lot of stuff for Chase, but the turnovers really haunted us. Jerryd (Bayless) had seven turnovers at the point and that really hurts. Overall 25 turnovers hurts. If you would have told me that we would come into Kansas, turn the ball over 25 times, and still have a chance to win on the last possession, I would have told you that you were all nuts. But unfortunately we didn’t win it. There are no morale victories and there is nothing about this that feels good. I feel bad for our players because they played hard. Playing hard doesn’t guarantee that you are going to win, it just gives you a chance to win down the stretch. We had a chance to win down the stretch and we didn’t finish it.”

Sophomore Forward Chase Budinger
On his performance:
“I try to be an all-around player and do a little bit of everything. I try not to be one-dimensional but be able to do everything. I felt the shots that I took were good shots. I may have forced a few shots that I should not have taken. But most of the shots that I took felt good and they were good looking shots.”

On the difference in overtime:
“They executed their offense and they got key stops. We were lazy with the ball and gave up too many turnovers.”

On playing in Allen Fieldhouse:
“I love playing on the road. Personally, I like playing on the road better than I do at home. The crowds from other teams get me excited and get me hyped.”

On the team:
“A lot of people doubt this team, but I think tonight’s performance shows that we can play with anybody in the country. As you can see, our team has become better each game and we are continuing to improve. If we keep improving and keep practicing, I think we will be a pretty tough team.”

Freshman Guard Jerryd Bayless
His thoughts on the game:
“I think we need to come out and play like this everyday. If we do, we can definitely stay in games and hopefully win some. We had this game, but we let it go in the end. We had our shot to win this game but we turned it over and we just need to take care of that problem”.

On playing with teammate Chase Budinger:
“Chase is a great player. He can make plays for us so we can stay in games. I definitely need to do that, too. We need to stick together out there on the court and make plays so we can stay close and stay in games.”

On playing in Allen Fieldhouse:
“We were in the game, so I think we definitely responded to (the atmosphere) well. But there were some uncharacteristic turnovers and we definitely need to take care of that problem. The difference in overtime was that they just made plays. We turned it over a couple of times and they got a couple of dunks. We can’t let them do that, especially in a place like this where they feed off the crowd.”

Senior Center Kirk Walters
On teammate Chase Budinger:
“He is huge for us because he is such a good shooter and he can get his shot off over people. He’s a big part of our team and it’s good to have someone who can get up and down the floor and be athletic and make shots.”

On Brandon Rush’s recovery from offseason ACL surgery:
“It’s really amazing what doctors can do. You can see results in four or five months. He (Brandon Rush) is out there running around and it looks like he is jumping good and moving good.”