Postgame Quotes

Dec. 10, 2011

Recap | Final Stats | Notes |

December 10, 2011
Postgame Quotes

Kansas head coach Bill Self
On performance against Ohio State:
“Don’t put an asterisk next to this. We beat Ohio State. Without (Jared Sullinger), they are a top five team, and with him, they are a top two team. They are that good. They are well-coached. We did a great job on (William) Buford, and we caught (Deshaun) Thomas on a day where he was spectacular. He’s made seven threes on the year, and he comes out and makes three against us, all in the first half. We had a chance to crack it several times and just couldn’t sustain our good fortune by turning it over. It was a great win. We caught a break (with Sullinger not playing) just like we caught a break when Blake Griffin didn’t play at OU. We still went down there and outscored them 60-25 in a stretch. They were still a good team without him, and we won that game. We’re not going to apologize for winning this one in any way, shape or form. I hope (Sullinger) gets back. I hope we get to play them again because that means we probably would have advanced in the NCAA tournament. That’s a terrific win, and the crowd was unbelievable.”

On contributions from Elijah Johnson and Kevin Young:
“We came out the second half with a couple of bone-headed plays, and Elijah’s three-point shooting kept us with the lead. We did a lot of good things. Travis (Releford) wasn’t aggressive, but when the game is on the line, he comes away with plays. I thought Conner (Teahan) and (Releford) both did a terrific job on Buford. Buford made some hard shots. Thomas (Robinson) got going a little bit in the second half. Jeff (Withey) did some good things even though he didn’t play as much. Kevin Young was just fabulous. Kevin really bailed us out. I thought he was just terrific. That’s the Kevin Young we thought we recruited. Maybe this will give him the confidence moving forward. We could use another weapon.”

On if the game for Elijah was a confidence boost:
“I thought it was great. His dad came in to watch the game today, and he doesn’t get a chance to come in very often, so Elijah was really excited about that. He needed that. I could get critical, but that was a great win. If we could just tighten up a few things, we could be a really good basketball team. If we don’t, then there will be some form of illness that falls upon the head coach, with some form of heart condition soon. I don’t know if I can take this 30 more games. You have the lead and the game, and you end up trying to find a way to make it interesting. One thing about it is the kids do guard, and they do compete. This was the first time we haven’t done a good job on the defensive boards and still we win the rebounding battle. There are a lot of good things still going on.”

On eight days of rest until Davidson game:
“We said (Tyshawn Taylor) tweaked his knee, but he tore his meniscus. He could have had surgery last Tuesday. He said there was no way he was going to miss these two games, so he’s going to have surgery tomorrow. (I don’t know) how long he’ll be out, two to three weeks. Maybe if everything goes perfect, it’ll be sooner than that. I can get on Tyshawn for turning it over. I can get onto him for not making some plays, which I think is conducive to being an extension of the head coach, but I can’t get on him for toughness. He’s been hurt, and he goes out there and gives his body up. We don’t beat Long Beach State without him, and we certainly don’t win this game without him. I think our fans should really appreciate him playing nicked up, and we’ll do surgery tomorrow.”

Junior forward Kevin Young
On what the key was for him in today’s game:
“I think it just came together. I had some open shots thanks to my teammates and they were falling today.”

On how much he works on his shooting:
“Every day, it’s like a job because you have to go in every day and try and get better.”

On what he was most proud of today:
“Setting screens to get my teammates open. I don’t think many players view setting screens as an important part of the game. Not only did it help my teammates get open, but it helped me get open as well.”

On what he can do to build on this performance:
“I have to keep working hard in practice and focus on the little things. I have to get a little bit better on defense and try to make my teammates as good as they can be.

Junior forward Thomas Robinson
On when he found out Jared Sullinger wasn’t going to play:
“The first time we ran out on the floor. I saw that he wasn’t warming up and he was in street clothes. I was excited to go against him, but what it all comes down to is, Kansas versus Ohio State. It’s not Thomas Robinson versus Jared Sullinger. I know it would have been fun for everybody to watch, but it comes down to my team versus their team.”

On his play late in the game:
“I had some up-and-down moments in the game as far as dealing with frustration. I give Elijah (Johnson) a lot of props because he is always good at coming to me and telling me, `you’re good, we’re coming to you. Now go finish this game for us.’ It was the same thing today. My teammates just kept talking to me and telling me to finish the game and that’s what happened.”

On if they thought they were supposed to win with Sullinger out:
“No, not really. We don’t fight that mentality because you still have to go out there and play. Ohio State is still a good team with or without Jared Sullinger. The big fella (Sullinger) didn’t play today and it probably would have made the game turn out differently, but we were prepared to face them.”

On if he focused on the three big non-conference matchups before the season:
“I want to go after every team the same way I do for Kentucky, Ohio State and Duke. Nationally, as far as exposure and big games, yes because those games can’t help but standout. I go into every game with the same mentality and I just want to win no matter who it is against.”

Junior guard Elijah Johnson
On his shot:
“I really try not to pay my shot any mind because when you think about your shot, that’s when it can go downhill for you. I never worried about my shot. I know I can shoot the ball and I’m pretty sure everyone in Kansas knows I can shoot the ball. It just hasn’t been falling. I try to focus on guarding because I feel like it loosens you up. Today, I felt like I shot the ball like I had the last couple games and today they were falling.”

On what the team was able to do to give him open looks:
“I felt like (Ohio State) started to scramble. They got confused and started to panic a little bit and we fed off of it. We ran some plays to throw them off and make them think twice about what was going on and we were able to capitalize on them.”

On how much confidence this win gives the team:
“It’s the game we needed. We knew we wouldn’t fail three times in-a-row. We had to go to New York and we had to meet Duke in Maui, but no one comes in the Fieldhouse and beats us. We just had to go through with the plan and that’s what we did.”

On if he feels more comfortable as a shooting guard:
“I feel comfortable at any position because in my eyes, it’s all the same thing. When you have the ball you might start off doing something different, but it’s the same job regardless of what you do. I can get the same shots whether or not I start with the ball or not.”

On the possibility of playing the next couple games without Tyshawn Taylor:
“First off, I hope his surgery goes well. I hope he gets better as soon as he can and not just for basketball. This means a lot more to Naadir (Tharpe) and not to me because I’m playing 30-35 minutes regardless. I feel like Naadir can help pick up some of the slack and help us bring the ball up and not turn the ball over like we have been.”

Ohio State Head Coach Thad Matta

Opening statement:
“I think, from our perspective, it’s something we talked about going into the game that Kansas is so good that they will make you pay for making mistakes. We made some key mistakes, but obviously (Kansas junior forward) Kevin Young gets the game ball. He was the difference in the game, and he was 2-for-3 (from three-point range). I thought our guys competed, but we made some mistakes offensively down the stretch. We had a couple of turnovers and we came up with some empty possessions. As I told our guys, we lost to a great, great basketball team in a phenomenal environment. My hat goes off to the people in this building. The Kansas fans were tremendous today.”

On when he knew sophomore forward Jared Sullinger would not play:
“This morning; we were gauging him, but we didn’t really have a good feel about it. He was trying as hard as he could to convince us (to let him play), but I think in this profession, I’m looking out for my players’ best interest and I’m looking out for our program’s best interest. He’s doing much better, but we just want to see how he feels the next day after he practices. I’m never going to jeopardize one of my players’ futures.”

On the impact of Sullinger not playing:
“I think (it hurt most) from the standpoint of what he means to our team. DeShaun Thomas played all 40 minutes today, and he wouldn’t have had to (if Sullinger had played).”

On the team defense:
“The way (Kansas) structures what they do is very similar to Duke. Especially in the first half, we were slow to get to the rotation to get support. We were holding a little too long, therefore we were slow on the trail because they were trying to get the ball to (Kansas forward) Thomas Robinson on the left block. In the second half, I didn’t think we were playing as hard because we had to do two things at one time at a high level, and we just weren’t there the way we needed to be.”

Ohio State sophomore Aaron Craft
On if he is upset about the loss:
“Anytime you lose, you’re going to be upset. I do think we have a young team, but that’s not an excuse at all. Give Kansas all the credit. We continued to fight back today, being down 10 or 11 two or three times during the game. Kansas is a great team and they made us pay for our mistakes.”

On Kansas shooting 65 percent in the first half:
“We had confidence in ourselves to come out and shoot in the second half. We came in not shooting very well and were not playing our best up to that point.”

On when he knew sophomore Jared Sullinger wasn’t going to play:
“We probably knew he wasn’t going to play all week and we took that as a challenge. We needed some guys to step up; the guys that don’t play and the ones that don’t play a lot.”

Ohio State sophomore Deshaun Thomas
On his team wanting him to shoot down the stretch:
“I came into the game hitting shots and coach (Thad Matta) said to put the ball in the basket and to always be ready. I figured since Jared (Sullinger) wasn’t playing, somebody had to make up for those points. So I just kept my head in and knocked down some big three’s in the first half.”

On what the team learns from this loss:
“We learned a lot from this game. We have a whole season left and we’re a great team, with or without Jared, so we just take this as a loss, move on to the next game and keep getting better in practice.”

On if they can take any positives from this game:
“We competed. We’re a competitive team and that’s a positive. Without Jared, we came out and competed without him. We’re a great team with him, don’t get me wrong, but we came out and competed and that’s one thing that coach noticed.”

Ohio State senior William Buford
On being without Sullinger:
“It’s a tremendous change (without him) because he’s the best big man in the country; maybe the best player in the country. When you’re missing out on that, you’re going to have difficulties and have to make some adjustments.

On if he is proud of how this team fought:
“Absolutely. We’re a young squad and we came in here and fought, I mean, they’re pretty decent. At the end of the game we got careless with the ball and they got the possession on defense.”

On if they could have been blown out without Sullinger:
“Not at all, we’re still a good team without Jared and we’re a great team with him. Just because he doesn’t play, doesn’t mean we aren’t going to play well or fight just because he’s not here. He’s a great player but we’re still a great basketball team.”