Jan. 5, 2014
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LAWRENCE, Kansas -
Postgame quotes following the San Diego State-Kansas men's basketball game on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2014.
San Diego State Head Coach Steve Fisher
On SDSU's strategy against Kansas:
"My biggest concern coming in was, 'How are we going to defend them in the post?' Because they are so good at hi-low, throwing it over the top, moving up the lane. I thought we were sensational with our post-defense. When they got it down low I thought we did a good job of getting in to the double team and when they threw it out we got out of it."
On the determining factor in the game:
"We have a goal to rebound half of our misses. And that's exactly what we did, we had 19 offensive rebounds and I believe we had 38 misses. We made some crucial second-chance point opportunities. It was Skylar Spencer, Josh Davis and JJ O'Brien that were relentless on the glass."
On countering Kansas' comeback:
"They punched us. But that's college basketball. Runs are going to happen and Kansas can get on those runs and the crowd can get them going and then all of a sudden they can get 15 in a row. We didn't let that happen. We found a way to sneak out a victory, and we're happy about that."
On what the victory over Kansas means:
"To come in here against a really good team and win is a wonderful victory for our program. If we would have come in here and not won, we still would have a good program, and we're proud of that fact. To come in here and give Bill Self his ninth home loss, that's pretty neat to be able to do that. This was a really good win for us, I think this win will get people East of the Mississippi talking about us."
San Diego State sophomore forward Skylar Spencer
On double-teaming the post:
"It's something we've been working on all week. We wanted to contain the post because we know their offense works from the inside out. I could tell they were not as aggressive (on offense) as they were against some other teams, so I think we were pretty effective."
On the significance of winning on Allen Fieldhouse:
"This is a real big win. We have been thinking about it all year, but we have been taking it one game at a time and we are just glad to come out with a win."
On his early foul trouble in the second half:
"It was coach's choice, but I wanted to stay in the game because I was having a pretty good game and we had a flow going. I guess coach wanted me to come out for a little bit and go right back in."
On if the foul trouble changed his approach to the game:
"Sort of. Normally, I would go for a few more blocks but I just had to play straight up. For the most part, I felt like everything went in my favor and I was still able to play aggressively."
San Diego State senior guard Xavier Thames
On the significance of winning on Allen Fieldhouse:
"This is a great win for us. A lot of teams don't come in here (Allen Fieldhouse) and get victories since Bill Self has been here. I am just blessed to be a part of this with my teammates. It was a great win for us."
On how he maintained his poise when KU pulled within one point:
"First of all, our coach (Steve Fisher) never gets rattled. He is even-keeled regardless of whether we are up 20 points or if it's a close game. Every time after a timeout, Coach Fisher tells us, 'take a good thought out of this timeout with you,' and I think that is how we maintained our poise and got this win."
On what those good thoughts are:
"Coach Fisher tells us to think of something positive, take a deep breath. Whatever it is, basketball, family or whatever, he tells us to think positive and I believe it helps us."
San Diego State sophomore forward Winston Shepard
On the team's focus on the offensive glass:
"It was a focal point for us, and the game just started flowing that way. Skylar (Spencer) came up big for us. We are used to seeing Josh Davis get 14 or 15 offensive boards a game, but Skylar did a great job against their NBA frontline."
Kansas head coach Bill Self
On missing shots early but having a chance at the end:
"There was definitely a lid (on the basket) - the biggest lid was they really guard. They contest shots at the rim and they're explosive off their feet. They trap the post and of course we struggled with that early and then we had a huge turnover late when they did that.
"They did a good job, good team and Thames controlled the game, but the biggest thing is they beat us on toughness plays and they killed us on the glass down the stretch - that's how they won the game. Our first shot defense was actually the best it's been in a while. They ended up shooting 37 percent for the game but I bet they shot 25 percent or less on first shot defense. We couldn't secure without a rotation rebounding, guards didn't help clean up and that kind of stuff. Defensively we were actually pretty good. Rebounding we were obviously god awful and they whipped us physically - they were more athletic than us and more aggressive than us.
"We still had a chance and the crowd tried to help us. We had a chance and didn't make the play. We're down two and Frank's got the ball in transition and just loses it, I don't know how he said it slipped out of his hands. Perry had a chance to make the free throw late but you hate to put it on one free throw or one guy because there are a thousand plays in the game that can help make that, can help change the outcome. Everything is magnified late and we just didn't get it done."
On setting up a late play for Perry despite his struggling performance:
"Perry had an off day. For him that's pretty obvious. There at the end we thought that would be our best chance for him to drive a big and he did exactly what he was supposed to do and got fouled. He went to the line and made the first one and then I think they called timeout and then missed the second one. If I'm not mistaken the ball bounced around or went off our knee or something, I can't remember the exact timing of it but we had chances. The difference is this, and it's something minor, but twice we put two guys on Thames on out of bounds under spot throw-ins and he still caught it. All we had to do was make somebody else catch it and they throw it to their best free-throw shooter and of course he's going to make them because he's clutch. That's the difference, he just wanted the ball and we have to make our guys want the ball like that. That was just young guys playing against old guys and they just knew how to compete better down the stretch."
On San Diego State's second chance points:
"They got them all at the end of the game. I bet you they had eight in the last ten minutes. Lot of rotation rebounding, we went small for a while which actually helped us offensively and our first-shot defense was fine but they hurt us on the glass. The thing about it is, and we've said this all along, if you look at our guys individually: Tarik's pretty aggressive by nature; Jamari is pretty aggressive by nature; but we don't have aggressive guys by nature. We got exposed today which is not a surprise because we were playing a tough team. We played a monster schedule, no excuses, but I wish we may have done it a little different. We know now exactly who we are and where we're at and what we have to do to try and get better.
"I was proud of Naadir. Statistically, he didn't have a great game but he turned his ankle so bad on Wednesday that he hadn't practiced or done anything besides treatment six times a day. He was trying to put himself in a position to where he could play today. He went a little bit half-court yesterday and felt good but even with that you're nicked up and don't have a rhythm. He took a couple ill-advised shots when we had a chance to comeback, tie or take the lead.
"It's a learning process, and certainly one that I'm disappointed in for sure, but hopefully if we're in this situation again we act a little bit better. We're going to play some more games where it comes down to the last three minutes."
On the upcoming Big 12 schedule:
"We go to Oklahoma and then come back and play Kansas State who beat Oklahoma State, and then we go to Ames and they're undefeated. It's a tough setup without question but we can get off to a great start if we do things better.
"Wayne's not plugged into the game at all doing intangible things like he can. We have to get where we can plug guys in and be more effective in what we're trying to do, we're just not quite there yet but hopefully we can get better and certainly I'd like to play Brannen or Conner, but that's not a game in which they're ready to play yet. It was a game in which we never got in rhythm because they guard and it just goes to show, if you defend and rebound on the road you have a great chance to win. It should be a lesson to our guys when we go to someone else's house."
Kansas freshman guard Frank Mason
On chasing down San Diego State's plays:
"Every play we made they seemed to come down and they got something positive out of their next possession, whether it was free throws or a made basket. We just couldn't get the stops that we needed."
On what coach Self is saying about the next half of the season:
"Our first portion of the season was not that good and now in our second portion of the season we need to become a better team, become better on defense, and that basically the regular season is starting now."
On the team's shooting today:
"I was very surprised because most of those shots that we missed aren't usually part of the game for us."
On bouncing back:
"I think we just need to move on as a team and as individuals and not worry about the mistakes we made from this game. We just need to come in everyday for practice before the next game and try to learn as much as we can."
Kansas freshman guard Andrew Wiggins
On the execution of the game:
"We all missed shots that we usually make and that can happen from time to time with a young team. We just need to be able to defend. That's what we need to get better at. They were very aggressive."
On heading into conference games:
"We just need to learn from this game and stay positive."
On how tough San Diego State was:
"They are all athletic. They work hard, they're tough, and they're always going after the ball."
On playing against Josh Davis:
"I didn't really think he was on me. I just missed shots that I usually make."
On being a young team and going into the conference games:
"I think we have learned a lot to help us down the road. We need to make clutch, last second shots and it has always been hard but we are still learning a lot and we are young so that is good."