Kansas State Head coach Bruce Weber
On struggling in the first half this season….
“Coach Lowery and I were talking before the game and said let us get out to a good start today at home. The first thing I wrote on the board was protect our home court, and I think that is going to be so important in the Big 12. So many teams come out at home and jump on people getting up eight-nothing, ten-nothing, and we just do not do that. We have to change that because if we get behind in our league, we could be in trouble. We kept letting them (St. Louis) stay above water instead of putting the foot on the pedal and get to another level. In the second half, we moved the ball, took care of it, had a better shot selection, and made some shots. The easy, good passes are the things that help you get runs and momentum. Our defense has been solid. I did not think they were horrible. They had a bad stretch at the end, but if you look at the numbers, we hold them 33 percent, 17 percent from three, and 47 points which are all pretty good numbers for anybody defensively.”
On trying to get to that next gear…
“That is the one thing I have talked about this past two weeks. I read something about the Warriors and showed our guys about them taking it to the next level, and they are 29-1, or whatever. So I do not know what level they are going to. We definitely need to take it to another level, but we forget we are very new and very young. We finally got Dean’s (Wade) legs back, but he looked like he did in the first exhibition games where he got the fouls. We are going to need everybody to play well as we move forward into the league. Especially Saturday because they (West Virginia) play eleven guys and, they keep getting after you.”
On making a step in the right direction….
“My Christmas wish list when we came back on the 26th was to get your mojo back, your energy, your excitement, your talk, and all of that stuff. We made a little step with that. Obviously we are going to have to have great focus and intensity, and we are going to have to man-up Saturday, Tuesday, next Saturday because the league is so tough. Someone said we might set a record for most non-conference wins for a ten team league. Obviously the league is good, it was good two years ago and got better last year, and maybe it is even better now.”
Freshman Guard Kamau Stokes
On the second half run…
“I thought I played well within the system when coached called plays and we executed. It always feels good when you did what you know are supposed to do out there. Moving forward it definitely helps.
On starting conference play against pressing West Virginia….
“I do not think it will be a test at all. I think it is another game that we have to win. We have to do what we have to do in practice and the gym so we can get out there and play well.”
Junior Guard Wesley Iwundu
On readiness of the team going into Big 12…
“We took a big step today, but we have a few days before it officially starts. These next few days are going to be important. It is going to be getting into the gym and making adjustments. We have to get ready for the press that West Virginia is going to throw at us. Right now we are going in the right direction, but there is always room for improvement.”
On how this year feels compared to last year…
“We have a clear mind. There is not stuff going on off the court away from basketball, but we are focused on basketball. I think it will help this teams focus level moving forward in Big 12 play.”
Saint Louis Head Coach Jim Crews
On slow start to second half…
“We still do not have a mentality for turnovers. That is an Achilles heel of ours. I agree with you. A lot of times to start the second half we are not very effective.”
On Kamau Stokes…
“He looks like a good player to me. He really stretches the floor, and he is quick. He comes off those ball screens well and guys on the team know where he is. I like a lot of their guys, but number 25 (Wesley Iwundu), I like him. ”
On what he likes about Wesley Iwundu…
“He is a really good defensive player, but he puts pressure on you. He cuts well without the basketball, and he is able to get angles. Actually at times, our guys did a pretty good job, but it took a committee. He puts pressure on you, and he really understands angles. I just really like how he is a team guy. I think he really ties things well together for them.”
Junior Center Austin Gillmann
On slow start to second half…
“I think it is just the way we react when things go bad. We have to get a better attitude then and worry about the next play rather than the last one.”
On turnovers late in the game…
“It just kept snowballing until it got out of control. I think we started getting fatigued and kind of gave in to that a little bit. We just have to work hard in practice to fight through that.”