Selden, Jayhawks Rally to Top Florida, 71-65
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas used 21 points from Wayne Selden and a 17-0 scoring run to erase an 18-point, second half deficit – one less than the largest ever overcome at Allen Fieldhouse – while sending the Florida Gators home with a 71-65 loss in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge presented by Sonic Friday night.
Selden, who couldn’t find a basket in a 0-for-10 effort during KU’s Orlando Classic Championship win over Michigan State the last time out, scored four field goals in a row at one point while rallying Kansas (6-1). It was Selden who gave Kansas its first lead in nearly 27 minutes with a long range jumper at the top of key, bringing the Jayhawks out of a dark stretch of futility.
Kansas made its own mess in the first half, closing the first 20 minutes by hitting just 3-of-14 shot attempts and adding nine turnovers while Florida (3-4) shot 53.6 percent and carved up the paint. The Jayhawks then cleaned it up slowly after the break and turned the tables in the game’s final 15 minutes.
“We were as good the second half as we were bad the first half,” Kansas head coach Bill Self said.
KU trailed by 15 points at the break, its largest halftime deficit of the year, but reduced the turnovers and turned up the defense on the Gators to out-shoot Florida 48 percent to 34.5 percent in the second half. Similar to KU’s skid, Florida made just 3-of-21 field goals during a 15-minute span that saw the Jayhawks take control. Three Jayhawks joined Selden in double figures – Frank Mason (12), Cliff Alexander (12) and Perry Ellis (10) – but it was Selden who provided the heart when KU needed it most.
“It was one of the best games he’s played since he’s been here,” Self said of Selden, who logged the fourth, 20-point game of his career. “He’s been laboring, needed something good to happen. He got a layup to begin the game and that took the lid off.”
Wayne Selden poured in a season-high 21 points.There was no shortage of contact at the outset as eight fouls were called in the first four minutes while both teams refused to allow uncontested baskets. In the early going, Kansas very much played the part of the aggressor inside but when Landen Lucas – who drew a foul and swatted a shot during the opening surge – was forced to leave with two quick fouls, the advantaged reversed.
Still, Kansas used a pair of three pointers to jump out to an 11-5 lead while making four of its first eight shot attempts, before going cold on offense.
That’s also when Florida found a hole in KU’s defense, turning a flurry of dribble penetration hand-offs into high-percentage baskets and sprinkled in a steady barrage of three-point attempts – 13 in the first half.
A step-back jumper by Devin Robinson tied the game at 14-14 forced a KU timeout with 12:27 to play, then Kasey Hill gave the Gators their first lead at 16-14, nearly a minute later. It didn’t stop there as Florida rattled off 14 unanswered points while Kansas tallied nine first half turnovers – eight in the first 12 minutes.
Even the bunnies wouldn’t fall for Kansas late in the opening stanza as a finger roll by Selden hit everywhere but the bottom of the net and an open Ellis midrange jumper clanged off the rim. Florida nearly doubled up Kansas with a 35-18 advantage – the largest lead of the half – but Selden slashed, twisted and floated one in to pull Kansas within 15, the eventual margin at the break.
Mason bounced a three off the front of the rim, then watched it float up and through to bring Kansas within 13 nearly five minutes into the second half, then Selden muscled a drive to make it an 11 point ballgame. Defensively, Lucas clogged the lane and grabbed a then-game-high sixth rebound in just six minutes of play. Mason converted a layup to bring Kansas within single digits at 45-36 with 14:26 to play and sent the raucous crowd into a frenzy.
Chris Walker, one of four Gators in double figures, pushed the lead back to 11 with a jumper but Florida couldn’t keep Kansas at bay for long. The teams traded buckets back and forth then Kansas started its second half surge at the 10:19 mark when Alexander laid in a bucket off a feed from Graham to make it 49-41. Mason intercepted a pass on the next Florida possession and led a fast break the other way, only to be called for a charge, but on the other end Florida couldn’t take advantage.
Selden wrapped four straight field goals for Kansas around four free throws from Alexander to bring the Jayhawks within one, then Ellis tied the contest at 52-52 with a free throw at 6:18. The Roxbury, Mass., native’s next bucket gave Kansas a 54-52 lead then he turned the keys to the offense over to his teammates.
Alexander hit two more free throws to push KU’s lead to 56-52 and Devonte’ Graham was fouled taking it to the basket then drilled both free throws to push the Jayhawk run to 15-0. Ellis hit a turnaround jumper after two more missed shot by Florida and pushed the streak to 17 unanswered.
A free throw by Walker snapped the skid, but did little to turn the tide. Kansas led by as many as 11 in the waning minutes but a flurry of Florida buckets settled the final margin at six.
The comeback win marked KU’s largest rally since overcoming a 19-point, second half deficit to Missouri in Allen Fieldhouse during the 2012 season.
Alexander grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds to notch his first career double-double.
Kansas travels to the nation’s capital to take on Georgetown next Wednesday (Dec. 10) on Fox Sports 1, before returning to defend Kansas City’s Sprint Center against Utah in the KC Shootout presented by Aetna, Saturday, Dec. 13.
Kansas Starters (Season/Career Starts): So. G Frank Mason, III (7/10), So. G Wayne Selden, Jr. (7/42), Fr. G Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk (5/5), Jr. F Perry Ellis (7/44), So. F Landen Lucas (5/5)
Series Info: Kansas leads 4-2
Attendance: 16,300 (215th-consecutive sellout)
- Made Kansas 6-1 or better for the third-straight season and 10th time in Bill Self’s 12 seasons at KU.
- Gave Kansas a 1-1 record in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge with both games against Florida.
- Made Kansas 4-2 all-time versus Florida.
- Made Kansas 3-0 in Allen Fieldhouse this season, 178-9 in AFH under Self and 717-109 all-time in the venue.
- Improved Self to 331-70 while at Kansas, 538-175 overall and 2-1 all-time against Florida.
- Made KU 2,132-823 all-time.
- The Jayhawks’ 18-point deficit was their largest overcome in a victory since Kansas worked its way back after trailing Missouri by 19 points in Lawrence on Feb. 25, 2012.
- Florida’s 15-point lead at the intermission marked the largest halftime deficit for a Jayhawk squad inside Allen Fieldhouse in the Bill Self era (since 2003).
- Kansas started 4-of-8 from the field to build an early six-point (11-5) lead less than five minutes into the game; however, Kansas connected on just 4-of-15 of its attempts the remainder of the first half while the Gators shot 58.3 percent (14-of-24) in that same span.
- The Jayhawks saw Florida shoot 53.5 percent (15-of-28) from the field in the first half, the best shooting percentage by a KU opponent in a half this year.
- Kansas outscored Florida 47-26 in the second half with the help of 21 second-half free throws.
- The Jayhawks converted 21-of-24 (87.5 percent) of their second-half free throws and 27-of-32 (84.4 percent) for the game, marking the squad’s best percentage from the charity stripe this year.
- The Florida shooters cooled off in the second half hitting just 10-of-29 (34.5 percent) of their field goal tries.
- The Jayhawk defense held the Gators to just one field goal from the 11:33 mark to the 1:07 mark in the second half, a 10:22 span. KU outscored UF 28-8 in that time.
- The bucket at the south end of Allen Fieldhouse was unkind to the team heading in its direction Friday night. Neither team was able to shoot better than 35 percent in the halves in which they were attacking that goal. Kansas was 8-of-23 (34.8 percent) at the south end goal in the first half, while Florida shot 10-of-29 (34.5 percent) on that same bucket in the second half.
- After being outrebounded 18 to 11 in the first half, Kansas responded in a big way by beating Florida on the boards, 24 to 9, over the final 20 minutes.
- KU found itself with a 13-2 deficit in second-chance points after the opening frame but, with its help of its better effort in the offensive glass in the second half, KU outscored UF 11-0 in second-chance points.
- The Jayhawks’ 11 rebounds in the first half were the team’s fewest since KU grabbed 10 second-half boards against Michigan State on Nov. 13, 2012.
- Coming into the night, Billy Donovan coached teams had a 242-45 record (.840) when four or more players score in double figures. The Jayhawks handed Donovan his 46th loss when his teams have four or more double figure scorers.
- Freshman F Cliff Alexander posted his first-career double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds coming in 19 minutes of action.
- After going 0-of-10 from the field in his last outing against Michigan State (11/30), sophomore G Wayne Selden, Jr., more than redeemed himself by scoring a season-high 21 points on 9-of-15 shooting (60 percent). His nine field goals made were a high by a Jayhawk so far in 2014-15.
- Selden tallied a 2-of-5 clip from beyond the arc, marking the third game this year he has connected on multiple treys.
- Sophomore G Frank Mason III connected on his only attempt from behind the three-point arc, and has made five of his last seven attempts from three-point land. He has now tallied at least one three-pointer in five of his seven outings this season.
- Freshman G Devonte’ Graham went 9-of-10 from the free throw stripe, all coming in the second half. Graham’s nine second-half free throws are the most since Thomas Robinson knocked in 10 in the second half against Texas A&M on Jan. 23, 2012.
- Mason and Graham combined to connect on 13-of-14 free throws over the final five minutes to seal the win for the Jayhawks.
- Graham’s three steals were a season-high and tied the most by a Jayhawk this season.
- Junior F Perry Ellis scored in double-figures for the fifth-straight contest and sixth time this year after scoring 10 points in 34 minutes.
Postgame Quotes – Kansas
COACH SELF: It’s past curfew, so let’s make it quick.
Q. Sometimes in the basketball games you’ll see teams not really aggressive in the first half and kind of not great energy, and then the coach goes yells at them at halftime and they come out a lot more aggressive. Did you ever yell at a team before the game maybe?
COACH SELF: Well, it was a terrible start and our best players were not very good at all in the first half and our bench didn’t give us anything with when they came in, for the most part. Who would have thought Frank cutting the lead at 15 right before halftime would be a big play. But the one thing about this place, if you can just hang around and you don’t have to — there’s no six or eight point plays, just try to win each four minutes. If you’re able to do that, which we were, the crowd will get into it; and once the crowd got into it, we played with so much more energy. But it was a bad team to play in the first half and a terrific Florida team and then the roles reversed the second half. We played very, very well and they missed some shots, but we also defended them so much better.
Q. What was the strategy behind having two short guards for most of the second half?
COACH SELF: I thought we guarded them better, kept them out of the paint. Our plan was going to go under ball screens in the first half on those two little guards, but we really didn’t do it. Our ball screen defense was horrendous. Then we tried switching everything and that didn’t work great. Then they just out hustled us. Even if we would have just played tougher and harder the first half, the game, they would have been ahead, but it would have been eight instead of 15. Or something like that. In the second half, we controlled the glass and our first shot defense was excellent and for the most part we put pressure on them by getting to the free-throw line.
Q. How much do you think a game like Wayne Selden played tonight can help him going forward?
COACH SELF: It should give him confidence. He needed to see the ball go in. And it doesn’t seem like much, but he made a layup to start the game and then he made a three right after that. So, even though he didn’t score a lot in the first half, I don’t know what he had the first half, he may have had close to eight or 10, but he made real points in the second half. Those are real college baskets. When you don’t run good offense and you just jump up and make a shot. So, they weren’t easy points. So, that should give him a lot of confidence.
Q. You said at some point last year you thought that Wayne Selden could be playing, could be a leader, one of the better leaders you ever had. What’s he do that kind of has helped this team?
COACH SELF: I think, first of all, if you’re going to be a leader you got to have a presence. And he’s got a presence. But even more importantly than just having a presence, he’s got a physical presence. So, I think that kind of gives him a leg up on some guys that maybe don’t have that physical presence. But he’s an alpha male and he just hasn’t had anything go right for him, for the most part, the first four or five games of the season and it was nice to see that lid come off.
Q. Did you talk to Wayne Selden about his shooting at all prior to this game?
COACH SELF: There haven’t been a lot of talks, because I think the more you talk about things, sometimes you magnify the situation. What I tried to convince him to do was worry about making basketball plays as opposed to scoring. If you’re a shooter and you think you’re going to come out if you miss and then you’re going to miss. But if you’re a shooter and all you care about is jumping ball screens and hitting a man on rotation, rebounding, and things like that, then you don’t put so much pressure on your shot. I thought that was probably the case with him.
Q. Billy Donovan said Wayne Selden’s mid-range jumper really effected the game in the second half. Would you agree with that?
COACH SELF: I don’t know. Most people would say — I don’t know what context Billy said it, but most people would say don’t let them shoot threes and don’t let them shoot layups, make them shoot mid range shots. But that would be everybody’s defensive strategy. So, we haven’t shot the ball very well behind the arc and it’s amazing to me how Florida put so much pressure on us by driving to pass. In the second half, I don’t know if we drove to pass as much, but we drove it hard. And of course nobody drives it better than Wayne Seldon when he puts his head down, because he’s so strong.
Q. What was your message to the team at halftime?
COACH SELF: Those things are so overblown. We changed how we guarded ball screens a little bit, but not a lot. But if the truth be told, halftime was, I don’t know if I’m going to play him again tonight and I don’t know if I’m going to play him again tonight. You know that was more my thinking. And then I said okay, let’s just go back to being who we are and try to win the first four minutes and then the second four minutes. And what we did in the second half, we were polar opposites of the first half. We outrebounded them 24-9 in the second half and they outrebounded us 18-11 in the first half. They didn’t get stuff in transition in the second half and we got some stuff. It was just like Jekyll and Hyde almost the second half compared to the first.
Q. Talk about Cliff Alexander’s performance for the free throw line?
COACH SELF: Everybody shot them great. Of course nobody shot them better than Cliff, but everybody shot their free throws great. Of course, we needed them tonight.
Q. What did you learn about the mental makeup of your team, not only after that Kentucky game, but especially in the second half tonight?
COACH SELF: Well, that they’re totally different. Everybody keeps referring back to that game, but I didn’t learn much that night at all, other than the fact that we weren’t ready for that stage. Tonight, we learned that — because we’ll draw from this again — we learned that, hey, no matter what the situation is, it’s a long game. And the guys did play it like it was a long game. They played a pretty smart second half. So, I’ll never give them credit for being as tough as they need to be, but we’re probably a little tougher than what I thought we were going into the game, because the first half I thought we were an extremely soft team and not a real competitive team. But they definitely changed it in the second half.
Q. Is Frank Mason okay? Looked like he didn’t have any intention of not being on the floor there.
COACH SELF: I think he turned it pretty good. He was hobbling pretty good. But I don’t know exactly where he is and I won’t have any idea. But he’s a tough kid. He’ll play. Unless there’s something really, really wrong where it takes a few days. But he may miss a practice or two, but he’ll be out there.
Q. Coach Billy Donovan said that the first half was, their height advantage maybe got to you guys. How did you adjust to that in the second half?
COACH SELF: I think we tried to – (assistant coach) Norm Roberts did a great job with the scout, but the whole deal is, with the scout — and Billy’s right, we blocked off some and then they were able to back tap the ball or go over us, because we were soft. In the second half I thought we did a much better job of going after the ball. But they played harder than us the first half. Their whole team did. There was several plays that kind of showed everybody that that was the case, that they had more balance and more energy. And then we kind of felt sorry for ourself and let one bad play become two or two become four and next thing you know we’re not in the game. But the second half, it was just totally different. I thought that we played much tougher the second half. We were 24-9 against that team, that’s dominating the glass, I mean that was pretty good the second half.
Q. How well do you know the new football coach, David Beaty?
COACH SELF: Not great. But I know David. And really happy for him and happy for Clint (Bowen). I hope it’s going to be great marriage for KU and for the staff, but obviously exciting hire and I spoke with him yesterday, last night, late, and he was excited. I thought I was excited when I took the job here, he blew me away with how fired up he was. I’m going to come see his press conference on Monday, just so I can maybe have some of that have juice rub off on me. Because that is an excited guy and he’s fired up about the staff possibilities and everything else going on. So, congratulations to our department and our administration for hiring him, but, more importantly, I think it will be a good fit. I really do. We need to have some guys with some juice and energy and I think he’ll hire a staff that’s got that. I think it’s really good for us.
Q. On finally getting shots to fall:
WAYNE SELDEN: You’ve got to stick with it and need to keep playing through it, even when you’re missing shots.
Q. On the way the game changed in the second half from the first for Kansas:
WAYNE SELDEN: We have been at that point before in this season, as you know, we didn’t handle it well. But we were able to do the total opposite thing, whatever we did at half time that last time (against Kentucky), and then tried to do the total opposite thing and come out and really switch it. And we did a good job with it.
Q. Is it tough to be patient when you can’t make anything? How do you guys stay so focused?
CLIFF ALEXANDER: It’s just chipping away. The TV timeouts, just going to try to win that four minutes and just chip away at it. There’s no 18-point plays or 10-point plays. We’ve just got to stay persistent.
Q. On Wayne Selden, Jr., stepping up this game:
DEVONTE’ GRAHAM: We need him every game. He’s a big part of the team, of course, one of the best players. So we feed off of him and you saw what happened — the way he played and shot the ball. And we just fed off of it on the defensive end and it helped us a lot.
Q. On the change of the game in the second half:
DEVONTE’ GRAHAM: We were able to pressure their two small guards, because they have two quick guards as well, and it really takes the pressure off of us — me, Brannen (Grenne) and Kelly Oubre, Jr.). When you have two point guards, and either one of them can bring it up, I can bring it up, it just really helps us.
Q. On his pull-up jump shooting:
WAYNE SELDEN: (I’m) Just working on it. You’re not going to make them every night. You have to stay persistent; your hard work’s going to pay off. You have got to just keep shooting the ball.
Q. How much does this help your confidence going forward? Is that something that’s maybe wavered over the last couple of weeks?
WAYNE SELDEN: At times I would get lose confidence last year, but there’s no reason to not be confident when you have confidence in your coach and your teammates. So you’ve just got to stay with it.
Q. What were you missing in the first half?
CLIFF ALEXANDER: I think the first half, we gave up too many offensive rebounds and they are maybe more athletic than us and got to the offensive glass every time. We just couldn’t make any shots and they were just going in the first half for them.
Q. On the mentality being down 18 points:
CLIFF ALEXANDER: (We) Just kept telling the team on the bench that we’ve got to keep fighting. We’re not going to lose at home.
Q. What about you, Wayne?
WAYNE SELDEN: Definitely. It’s hard for them (the opponent) when you got 16,300 people going crazy like they did tonight. So it’s not really like they’re playing against the five on the court, they’re playing against 16,305. And so that’s really credit to the fans and they really brought to us this win.
Q. Cliff, how did you adjust to Florida’s size in the second half?
CLIFF ALEXANDER: We’ve got to play more aggressive and be able to do what I usually do, just rebound the ball and send me to the line and just make consistent free throws.
Q. Is that something you’ve improved on, your free throw shooting?
CLIFF ALEXANDER: Yeah, I work on it every day in practice.
Q. Devonte’, what was Coach Self’s halftime message, his main message and what was the tone?
DEVONTE’ GRAHAM: It wasn’t good. But, it was just we had to be aggressive. In the first half, we were too passive, taking a lot of jump shots. He got on, me, Wayne and Frank (Mason III) for not getting in the paint and making plays. We were being just so soft and not attacking it. So, it (the message) was just come out and go play by play by play and get a stop and get a basket and run the offense and do what we had to do.
Q. Were you surprised how quick their guards were in the first half?
DEVONTE’ GRAHAM: (We were) Not surprised because we watched them on film, we go over scouting reports. So, we know basically everything about them. I don’t think we were ready to play at the beginning of the game.
Q. What were the thoughts in the locker room at halftime?
WAYNE SELDEN: (There was) A lot of energy in the locker room, from the coaches’ standpoint. We just had to just keep it together, that was the biggest thing. We knew that we just can’t let what happened — that what had already happened (getting behind by 18 points), happen again. We were just trying to build. We know we’re nowhere near where we’re going to be and we’re just trying to fight until we get there.
Q. What kind of confidence does it give to you play those 15 minutes in the second half when you guys made that run?
DEVONTE’ GRAHAM: It’s a confidence booster knowing that Coach (Self) trusts me through a stretch like that. The whole team and coaching staff have confidence in me, so I’m not really low on confidence, but it’s a good confidence booster being in there at the end of the game like that.
Q. What does it mean to get a comeback victory like that for you guys?
DEVONTE’ GRAHAM: Well, it’s a good teaching experience, a good learning experience. But we shouldn’t have been down like that anyway, at home especially. But like Wayne said, in the second half, the crowd definitely helped us win this game tonight.
Postgame Quotes – Florida
Q. In the first half you guys moved the ball really well and in the second half it seemed a little more difficult.
COACH DONOVAN: I don’t know if we were necessarily rushed. I didn’t think the ball moved like it did in the first half. Probably give them (Kansas) some credit. They tried to pressure us in the first half and we did a good job of moving the ball and keeping the ball ahead of their defense. Then I thought in the second half, we did not do a very good job of that. You’ve probably got to give them some credit for getting out and pressuring. And we didn’t respond well to it.
Q. Was there anything more you did on Wayne Selden, Jr., in the first half? Or was he just making tough shots?
COACH DONOVAN: He had a very good game and he made some big shots for them. But the shots he would get, and was taking, were long pull-up two-point jump shots. And that’s better than a lot of threes, (of which) he made a few. But he wasn’t necessarily all of the problem. I think there was a stretch where they maybe scored nine straight times down the floor, and then we certainly fouled too much to start the second half, putting them in the bonus. But he played well and — I thought (Cliff) Alexander played well in the second half.
Q. What did you do well to open up the 18-point lead?
COACH DONOVAN: Again, I don’t want to comment on Bill’s (Self’s) team. I’m sure Bill wasn’t too happy with his team’s performance in the first half. I think for us, we moved the ball very well, we kept it ahead of their defense, we had penetration, we were playing inside and out. And, certainly, there was a clear size advantage that they had against us in the front court. And I thought the biggest thing that helped us was we didn’t foul a whole lot in the first half. We eliminated second-chance opportunities for them. I think they had four offensive rebounds in the first half; that enabled us to get out on the break. The game was very, very fast in the first half and the game got slowed in the second half. Again, I don’t know, Bill maybe feels his team didn’t play great in the first half, but I thought our ball movement and the things that we did offensively and defensively were good. I thought we started the second half okay. They’re down 15 at home; I knew they were going to come out and at least try to turn up the heat and we responded pretty well. And then we had a stretch in the middle of the half there where they went on a 17-0 run, or whatever it was, and basically took the lead. We had our opportunities, we had our chances, we had some shots, I thought (Jon) Horford had two or three wide-open threes in the first half. He didn’t make any. Dorian (Finney-Smith) had some drives he couldn’t finish. Kasey Hill got to the rim, he couldn’t finish. Frazier (Michael Frazier III) had an open three he missed. Coupled with the fact we had some turnovers and some empty possessions, just the way we ran our offense and they were certainly more efficient in the second half.
Q. What about the atmosphere, what kind of effect does this have an on a team?
COACH DONOVAN: Our guys have played in really good environments before. Wisconsin last year was great, Kentucky is great, this place is great. So they have been in those places before. I think if it was anything, we would have seen it earlier in the game. But I don’t think our guys were affected by that.
Q. Did you get any positives from seeing Devon Walker’s and Chris Robinson’s confidence?
COACH DONOVAN: We spent a lot of time coming out of the Bahamas working on some things, and it’s been hard the last week because we have had limited numbers in practice. It’s the balance between trying to work and have physical contact and compete against each other. And also the balance of trying to make sure that we don’t come in here totally depleted physically. But we spent a lot of time with those guys and it was good to see Devin Robinson respond like he did. I thought he was a bright spot. I thought Chris Walker had a very, very challenging week this week. I give him credit, he stepped up and responded well and gave us some good minutes.
Q. Why didn’t Eli Carter make the trip? What is his prognosis?
COACH DONOVAN: (It’s an) Ankle. I just left him behind. It’s a school day. (There was no reason) To take him out of school and then have him miss rehab sitting here. We have trainers back there that can work on him, he can do some rehabilitation and today was a class day. I don’t think there’s any reason for him or DeVon Walker to come here with school going on.
Q. You mentioned the shots Wayne Selden, Jr., was making. How does that change the dynamic against a team like KU?
COACH DONOVAN: I think that he’s probably a lot like most young players. I thought he would come off and play well tonight, because I think he was 0-10 his last game. He hadn’t shot the ball well. I think he’s always been a streaky shooter. But the one thing about him is that I think he’s got confidence in himself and believes in himself. I think that’s what really good players do is that when they have the kind of night like he had in their last game, he came back and responded really, really well. He drove it to the basket. But, again he made some tough pull-up jump shots and we’re going to give those up. When I say gave them up, we would like to challenge them. But I felt in a game, the three-point line and their post up game were the two things that we really had to try to take away. And we had to give help in the post and if we were going to settle for anything, it was going to be long twos (two-point field goals). And we tried to cover the basket as best we could, having limited front court depth.
Q. Jon, talk a little bit about the second half and the run they made, when you look back was there anything you guys could have done better on the offensive or defensive end?
Jon Horford: First thing, you have to credit them, they know how to play, they have a lot of passion and did a really good job. In terms of what we could have done better; had more resilience, stayed together more as a team, and continue to run our offense. I feel like we let them speed us up a little bit and take us out of the flow we had in the first half. These are things that there’s no excuse for. We just need to go to work, get better, and hopefully everyone brings the right mentality in practice tomorrow.
Q. It seemed like a lot of shots came up short in the second half. Was fatigue a factor at all?
Horford: No, fatigue is not an excuse anymore, we’re all in shape and we have enough. Everyone’s been like ‘Florida’s been hurt’ and that’s not acceptable anymore.
Q. Chris, can you talk a little bit about your first half, how active you were and how tough it is to have a game where you personally play well but the team loses?
Chris Walker: First of all, it’s all about the team. I had the mindset to come to the game just trying to be active, focus on 95% of me just running the floor, trying to grab rebounds and attack it. We fell short, but we have to credit them, like he said, we need to get better.
Q. What kind of adjustment did you see with their defense, what you guys were doing—you were getting a lot of stuff right at the rim in the first half and not as easy in the second half
Horford: I feel that they picked up their pressure and they picked up their intensity. Instead of attacking as a team, I feel like we kind of backed up and let them dictate which way momentum was going to go. It’s just something we have to get better at going forward. No excuses, they did a really good job.
Q. Chris, did you feel the atmosphere taking control of the game at all, in terms of the crowd?
Walker: I feel like the first half, we had it. But in the second half the crowd got into it, the players started hitting tough shots and we really couldn’t do anything. The crowd helped them out.
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