courtesy of Jack Alden
|Related pages||“It’s a great feeling in that locker room. This is the
kind of moments I really coach for. It’s a great feeling. We needed
one, the kids needed one, the staff needed one, the announcers
needed one… It was a heck of a basketball game. If you enjoy
college basketball, you had to love that game, unless you were
pulling for Tulsa or pulling for Kansas, you had some personal
feelings. But if you just love basketball, that’s a heck of a game in
a heck of an atmosphere. I’m really proud of our team.
“We had a bad last three minutes of the first half. They make a 35-footer at the buzzer. I tell our kids, when somebody does something like that right before the half, most teams would give in. Ours was not gonna give in. We preached a great deal at halftime about patience and doing it as a team, not one guy trying to do it. And I think in the second half we played that way. We probably had more assists in the second half than we’ve had in any game this year. Nick had a great day. He struggled on Saturday against Oregon and felt like he had really cost us the game. But he was big-time for us tonight. Wayne and Keith… Aaron was big for us. And maybe as good a perimeter defense as we’ve played in a long, long time. Not just this year, but in a long time, because those three guys out there shootin’ threes, it’s hard to guard them because they’re just so quick.
“I think the key in the second half is, we made some baskets early; got us right back in the game. Then after that we got great shots. We shot almost 60 percent in the second half. The first half we were 39 percent. But almost 60 percent in the second half, and when we share the ball, and we’re a little more patient than we have been, and take care of the basketball and get shots, we can do that.
“Our game relies on getting the basketball inside, close to the basket. We don’t shoot very many threes. We were 3-11 tonight. I’d like to make a few more than that. But if we’re going to the basket, we’re gonna get fouled more than a team that shoots three-point shots.
“Nick was disappointed Saturday, and we had a little conversation. He was taking it personally, and I just wanted him to go out and play the way I know he can play. Kirk was 2-11, and his back is still bothering him a little bit. But he was key for us at the defensive end. We needed this one, to say the least.”
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