Postgame Quotes

Kansas State Head coach Bruce Weber
On the game... 
“First, congratulations to Coach Smith on his honor. What an achievement award. You can’t have a better person and a great coach; just a great representative of our coaching profession. He’s [Tubby] done a great job with this group this year. We beat them pretty soundly a couple months ago. They get a guy hurt (Norense Odiase) and go small ball. The guys step up and figure out their roles. They [Tech] play at a high level.  Coach Huggins, Coach Self and Coach Smith are probably your leading candidates for Coach of the Year. I’m sure that will be a tough call because each one has done a great job in their own right. I was kind of surprised how well we played early. I told our people we practiced unbelievable on Monday and Tuesday. That’s why we played so well at TCU. Now, we came back yesterday, and it was just awful. I was afraid we’d be a disaster, but our guys came out … Then, they [Tech] turned it up. We just didn’t deal with it very well. They got aggressive on defense. They got some turnovers; got some easy baskets. Then, we let them get to the basket too much. Too many easy layups. Our radio guys said it was the best field goal percentage against us all year: 59 percent, which is just way too many layups. You go on to Kansas City now. We’ve been there and played two games there already this season. We’ve got Oklahoma State.”

On what he’d like to see from his point guards…
“If somebody’s open, throw it to them. I thought we did that in the beginning. I think that would be the one thing. We’ve struggled with turnovers all year. We didn’t have many turnovers in the start of the game. We moved the ball, and we got it to people. Then, they picked up the pressure and Zach [Smith] started trapping a little bit. We just panicked a little bit, went a little fast and tried to force some things that probably weren’t there.”

On the highs and lows all season in games…
“I don’t know if I’ve had a team like this, but the consistency is a big key … We’re playing freshmen. We’re the only ones with freshman playing. You’d have Kam (Kamau Stokes) out there too, and he’d be a big part of it. Even the other guys; D.J. (Johnson) hasn’t played for a long time. Wes (Wesley Iwundu) has kind of had to change positions…I don’t think we have a go-to guy. You know, when it gets tough and they pick it up. [Keenan] Evans made plays for them [Tech]. They beat Baylor; I’m watching the game, Evans makes plays. Another game, [Toddrick] Gotcher makes plays. Tonight, [Devaugntah] Williams jumps up and goes 6-for-9. I think just that consistency and that experience…The one thing we’ve gotten is experience. Hopefully that will be a positive factor for us a year from now.”

Of if games are getting repetitive …
“One, we don’t have a true point guard. That’s just a fact of life. Our guys have done an adequate job and filled in. They do some really good things at times. It’s given Wes [Iwundu] great experience and opportunities to do some stuff. I think he’s feeling more confident; he’s seeing more things. Once in a while he over does it a bit. You’ve got to give our kids credit for keeping coming back and fighting…I told the guys, I know they [Kansas State] want it. They’ve showed that. I think at times they don’t believe in themselves. Then, you’ve got to go do it and that means executing the little things, but the big thing I tell is belief. I think they believe before the game, but the key is in the middle of the game. When the going gets tough, do you still believe? Is someone going to step up and make plays? We broke down a little bit…I think Tubby’s done a great job, but the difference between their tam and our team is three or four possessions.  They won the overtimes and the close games. They had guys step up and you know we didn’t. Those possessions make a difference. Now, you’ve got 19 wins. Now, you’re talking about us in the NCAA Tournament, but I think they should be a lock for the tournament.  If they don’t make it, I’m going to be very disappointed. Our league’s too good.” 

Forward D.J. Johnson
On why Kansas State has had many highs and lows in the same game …
“I guess how Justin said. Come out, punch somebody in the mouth. They kept fighting and fighting and we let them back in it. That’s what happened.”

On why Kansas State keeps having to fight back in second half …
“I’m not exactly sure. Maybe we get satisfied. Think that’s the best way to put it.” 

Guard Justin Edwards
On what happened after the team’s quick start … 
“I feel like we just became too complacent with getting off to a great start. We didn’t keep the pressure on them like we should’ve. When they turned up the screws, we just didn’t fight back how we should’ve.”

On playing without Kamau Stokes … 
“It’s been tough because we kind of got used to playing with him for the first half of the season. Coach always says it sucks to not have him, but we’ve got to move on. We’ve just got to find a way to do things that Kam (Stokes) helped us do. We’ve just got to keep moving forward. Hopefully, make a run in the Big 12 tournament.”

On the biggest changes Kansas State made in the second half…
“We just started doing twist ball screens because they tried trapping us off of every ball screen we set. We just tried to focus on getting the ball up quick. When they screen, just throw it back as soon as you can before getting trapped. I feel like we took too long to realize that could work for us, but when we did we got a lot of easy buckets…so we just took too long to figure it out.”

Head Coach Tubby Smith
Opening Statement
“I’m really happy for our seniors, Toddrick Gotcher and Devaugntah Williams. Senior Day is anbemotional day especially for Toddrick, being here as long as he has and what he’s gone through in helping to restore pride back to our program. I’m proud of Devaugntah Williams for making the commitment to come here and for stepping up coming off the bench and for starting today – I was really impressed. I was impressed with Kansas State. They’re as good as any 16‐15 team
in this country and as tough as any team we’ve played. We knew they’d come ready to play so I want to commend them on the great job that they did. Bruce Weber’s teams never give up. They never quit, and they didn’t today. We’re happy to get the win and pleased that we’re 9‐9 (in the Big 12) and have a winning record overall.”

On Norense Odiase’s return from injury …  
“This was his first game in 6‐to‐8 weeks. He looked well and healed. He gave us a real presence. I was more impressed with him diving on the floor and taking charges – things we’ve missed that he does. He really protects the rim well. When he knocked down those two jumpers, we were behind. He tied it up with one of them. That gave us a huge momentum boost. I could sense and feel the energy level pick up.”

On the keys to the run at the end of the first half …  
“We picked up our defensive pressure. I thought we started doing some things defensively. We started trapping the pick‐and‐rolls. We were getting burned whenever they would pick‐and‐roll to the basket. We were sagging and helping too much. Barry Brown and Justin Edwards knocked down some threes because we were helping inside. Since we weren’t guarding them the right way, we started doubling the ball to try to get them to speed up, since we were playing from
behind. I think that made a big difference. We got some turnovers out of it and were able to capitalize and score on the other end.”

On the Big 12 Tournament …
“We have to win. I know we open up against TCU in the Big 12 Tournament. The only lock (for the NCAA tournament) is the tournament champion – that’s the only one who gets an automatic bid. That’s been our goal from day one. We know how tough this league is. We know how tough that tournament is. We have to take it one practice at a time. We’ve done some good things this year, which gives us a legitimate chance at making the NCAA Tournament. We can’t leave things
to chance. We have to keep playing well. We have to play better than we played today. Even though we shot well today, 59 percent, we had some problems rebounding the ball. They beat us by about 20 on the boards up in West Virginia, and today we got beat by 10. We’re really struggling in that area. If you’re going to win and advance in the tournament, you have to rebound the ball. We’ve got to really work on that, but I like our chances of getting to the NCAA
tournament right now.”

On players accepting roles and excelling in those roles …
“All of them think they’re better than they are, which is what you’ve got to do. You have to have confidence in yourself. You have to believe in your abilities. We don’t ever want to take that away form our guys. If you’re too overconfident and believe you’ve already arrived, then you won’t improve. We have to constantly remind them that they can be better and have to improve. When you talk about roles – we play a lot of guys. Our freshmen haven’t played much, but they’re freshmen. They need to get stronger and get better. If you’re going to win in any league at this level, those boys have to become men. They have to be more physical. I tell them everyday that they have to lift more and do the things they need to do to get better. It’s a matter of just defining what they do, not necessarily limiting what they do. We tell them ‘this is your job. Do your job.’ It’s hard for players to accept. There are a lot of different ways they can get into the game if they do their job to perfection. Nobody does it perfectly, but they have to do it to the best of their ability. I’m the guy that has to decide how many minutes they play, and
they earn it every day in practice. Those guys that are starting – they earn it. Toddrick Gotcher comes to work every day. He’d better or else we’ll play C.J. Williamson, or Justin Gray, or Jordan Jackson. That’s how we operate. That’s how I’ve always coached. I think that’s the only way you can improve. They really have accepted their roles. That’s why we’ve been able to play with some consistency and win.”

Guard Devaugntah Williams
On what changed at the end of the first half to gain momentum ...
"We upped our energy and was more focused on defense. We knew we were supposed to be running them off the three line but they were hitting them early, so coach just had us regroup and lock in on that part of the game."

On the emotions of Senior Day ...
"It's been just a regular day. All of the extra activities are over, but we are just looking to getting back on the practice court and get ready for the tournament."

Guard Toddrick Gotcher
On his emotions the last 12 hours ...
"It's a lot. Hopefully, the win is a lock for the NCAA tournament. The proposal and Senior Day ‐ there's been a lot of things going through my head. I'm just happy for my team and excited for the future."

On his plans for proposing postgame to his girlfriend...
"I didn't have a backup plan so I was afraid she would say no. It's great that she said 'yes' because if not I would have looked crazy out there."

On what sparked the late first half turn around...
"I think it was the live ball turnovers. We were trapping ball screens and forcing the tempo. We got a lot of deflections that led to easy stills and then got some layups."

On how it feels to possibly lock up a NCAA Tournament bid on Senior Day...
"This is what I envisioned the day I stepped on campus. It didn't go the way I wanted it to the first four years, but this year has been the best year of my life. I'm glad Coach Smith, my teammates and Texas Tech fans around here who believed in us. They picked us to finish last in the Big 12. Now, we're going to the NCAA tournament so that's really big for us."