Postgame Quotes - American

Dec. 29, 2012

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Kansas 89, American 57
Dec. 29, 2012
Postgame Quotes

Kansas Head Coach Bill Self
Opening statement:
We played pretty good tonight. Of course, we shot the ball unbelievable. We’ve shot it better here about the last three or four weeks, but tonight we were on fire from behind the arc. They kind of played contain defense. Our defensive pressure was actually pretty good even though we didn’t turn them over a lot. We shared the ball and it was good to get guys a lot of minutes. Certainly some of our bench guys made the most of it.”

On Naadir Tharpe:
“He’s getting better. He’s getting more confident and getting more aggressive. He can really shoot the basketball and he’s learned how to facilitate more. The guys that played the six-most minutes, if I’m not mistaken, had 23 assists and two turnovers, which is pretty good. I haven’t heard stats like that ever. Of course, Travis (Releford) was on fire, and Elijah (Johnson) was the one who needed to see the ball go in the hole, and it did. Ben (McClemore) got a couple fouls so he was never really a factor, but a lot of good things happened. We shared it. We’ve got eight days now. When you’re playing pretty well you want to keep playing, but we’ve got eight days to try to tighten some things up. The next 19 games in the regular season will be big games because you have 18 in the league and Temple is plenty good enough to beat us here if we’re not ready. We’re looking forward to trying to get better.”

On Temple:
“They’re good. They’ve got a kid named (Khalif) Wyatt who can really score.”

On the big ovation for Aaron Miles and other alumni being back at Allen Fieldhouse:
“He deserves it. (Christian) Moody was back, and I saw Steven Vinson behind the bench. Calvin Thompson was in the house, so there were some guys that were here that I haven’t seen in a while. It was a good game and a fun game, but you can’t get too excited about it. We need to focus in and get better in practice.”

On the players having eight days without a game or classes:
“It’s the worst time for a student-athlete to be up here with no students and go practice. We won’t practice twice every day, but we’ll practice twice a lot of days. We’ll get a chance to get in some stuff. We definitely need to get a secondary defense in. We need to work on situations, especially late-game (scenarios) after the way we finished the game a couple of times against Michigan State and Ohio State. We have to try to tighten some things up before we get into a lot of close games.”

Kansas sophomore guard Naadir Tharpe
On his performance tonight:
“I have just been trying to stay focused as much as I can during practice and be prepared for every game no matter who we are playing. Everyone was knocking down shots today and everyone seemed like they were in tune, which helped me get my 12 assists. I definitely feel like I can build off of my performance tonight with the help of my teammates.”

On his progression since last season:
“It’s been a process from the start. No one just comes to Kansas and automatically is a superstar. So I’ve been trying to work hard in practice so I can be out on the floor and help my team win.”

Kansas senior guard Travis Releford
On reaching a career high in three-pointers:
“I think the momentum started this week in practice. Coach (Self) told me that I need to look for my shot more and my teammates also tell me that I pass up a lot of shots. My teammates always look for me on the floor and guide me open, so I just stepped up and made shots tonight. During the game I don’t think about passing up shots, but everyone comes up to me after the game and tells me that I need to shoot the ball more.”

On Ben McLemore’s early foul trouble:
“We have practiced with different players in the game, so Ben getting into foul trouble early didn’t throw things off. We knew that Naadir had to step up and make plays for the team. With Ben being on the bench, I don’t think it really changed anything on what we had to do on the offensive end.”

Kansas senior center Jeff Withey
On Tharpe’s performance:
“It’s awesome because Naadir gets into the paint a lot. He knows how to make shots and he showed it today. We are getting more comfortable with him and he’s doing a great job helping us out off of the bench. For bigs, we love playing with guards that can drive and make a basket. Today he helped me get a dunk, so it’s fun playing with guards like that.”

American head coach Jeff Jones
Opening statement:
“They were pretty good tonight. We came in really feeling we had to guard them inside and out because (Jeff) Withey is such a factor. The way they were shooting the ball we were obviously not able to get out to their shooters. You have to give (Nadir) Tharpe credit because of the twelve assists – that’s a great a number. We were facing an uphill battle, but the way they were shooting the ball we had no chance.”

On Tharpe and Johnson:
“With Tharpe in particular, he was getting into the lane. If you’re playing good defense you react to that penetration. In an ideal world we would have done a better job at containing their dribblers because (Kansas) does not have very many of them. It’s (Elijah) Johnson or Tharpe that are the only two dribblers. The other guys are what we refer to as straight-line drivers, but Johnson and Tharpe were able to drive the ball into the paint and they did a great job at finding shooters. If Kansas can shoot like that every game, it takes them to a whole other level. Prior to watching their game film, I had not seen Kansas play, but they are as good as anybody in the country.”

American senior forward Stephen Lumpkins
On playing at Allen Field House:
“It’s tough when you’re playing against a team like Kansas obviously, but the environment was fun to play in. The game didn’t go well for us but they are obviously a really good team.”

On American’s game plan:
“Going in we had been struggling a bit, and we were more focused on us and getting better as a team. We wanted to take away the inside first, but they made a lot of threes tonight. They are such a good team on the inside and that is why we wanted to take that away.”

On defending the Kansas three-point shots:
“It was tough to defend them. We really tried to focus on protecting the rim and not letting them to get a bunch of easy dunks. However, it’s tough when a team gets going like Kansas did when they were shooting threes.”