Postgame Quotes

KANSAS STATE POSTGAME QUOTES

Head Coach Bruce Weber
Opening statement…
“Obviously after last week this is a huge win for our guys. I just asked them to forget about what happened before and not worry about what is going to happen in the future – just worry about today and be in the moment. I talked a lot about tonight’s game being special. Last year DJ (Johnson) and Will Spradling had special moments that helped us win. I had them watch some of the highlights before our shootaround today so they could see the crowd that came out on the big scoreboard. For me, it was emotional and I hope it was for them. I said they could have a special memory of their own, but we will have to fight and battle them. We had to have some guys be special. Obviously, Nigel had the game of his career and Nino (Williams) was the one that locked it down in the stretch and made some big baskets and free throws, but there were some other guys that did big things too. I thought Wesley (Iwundu) in the first half was active and pushed it. We just said let’s just get it and go and push it in transition. We got some baskets and some fouls. Jevon (Thomas) got us going with his energy and Thomas Gipson was very solid. Stephen Hurt had a big basket when we were struggling. They all rose up to the occasion and it was a big win against a very good team. If we played like we did at their place and just let them play then they are going to kick your butt. They have a lot of talent. I think Perry might be the MVP of the league, especially if they win the conference. I told Nino that it was not about them playing against each other, it was about K-State against Kansas and they were just playing each other and they cannot just get into an individual game of basketball. I thought the important thing was to go at them and battle for passes. They are one of the better offensive teams and I think they are one of the best three-point shooting teams in the league. They have some good defenders and some big guys and we fought them and I thought we had something special and used the energy of the crowd. It was an unbelievable atmosphere. I am happy for these guys, but I am really happy for K-State because I know how important of a night this is.”

On bouncing back after last week…
“We talked a lot. A week ago we played Oklahoma here and tonight’s effort might have matched it or we might have played a little bit better today, but we just said we have got to come together.  You are going to regret it in the future if you do not and the opportunities are slipping away. I have talked all year about not dwelling on the past and not dreaming of the future but focusing on today. I think that they focused on today and how they could be successful.”

On the play hard chart…
“I thought we were up at half but they controlled it the start of the second half and set the tone. I thought we came back down the stretch. The whole thing was fighting them and battling them and playing hard. Nino was on the floor and Jevon was battling them and we fought for passes. You cannot just let them get in rhythm and routine, you have got to battle them and I thought our guys did that.”

Forward Nino Williams
On team improving play…
“I think with the Baylor zone, just good playing in the zone. We had a couple unforced turnovers. But coach yesterday just harped on us, somebody be special. Tonight Nigel (Johnson) was special. It was a good team win.”

On finding a way to win…
“I think we played hard down the stretch during the first eight possessions. We came back against TCU after we dug a hole. I think in today’s game, we went at them. We know they have confidence. We told ourselves to come out and play and coach harped on us about someone being special. It was (Nigel) Johnson who was special.”

Guard Nigel Johnson
On his confidence…
““It helped a lot especially after the first shots went in. Confidence is key in shooting. In the second half, I came out hot so I was just trying to be aggressive."

On the atmosphere…
“The environment was great and it was easy to come out and get over-excited, and I just tried to stay calm. Then, after I saw a couple shots go in, I was just playing basketball and I just tried to go from there.”

KANSAS POSTGAME QUOTES

Head Coach Bill Self
On Perry Ellis…
“He was playing to get the open man going early in the game, but he was going to be aggressive playing K-State. He likes to play K-State. It obviously means a lot to him. We did a really good job about getting him the ball and he finished for us. In the second half, we did a good job early on by getting him the ball and then he kind of disappeared in the last 10 minutes. They did a good job on him and we could not get the ball to him as well. Perry played well.”

On defensive play…
“I thought we would have to play great to win. We actually played pretty well early in the game. We were up six multiple times. We just could not make plays and they made all the plays when they had to. (Thomas) Gipson got off to a great start. Nino (Williams) was cold the first half. We did a good job in the first half on (Marcus) Foster, and Nino and we were still behind one. In the second half, Thomas ended up with 12. He only got four the second half, and they were four-in-a-row that were big plays. Nino made every shot. He just picked and popped and made every shot late when they had to have it.”

On final stretch of regular season…
“We have two out of the three at home. Iowa State has a hard schedule left, but they are playing really well now. It would not surprise me at all for them to run the table. I know they come here Saturday – hopefully K-State will play like they did tonight. We are going to have to win at home and then go win at Oklahoma – that is the bottom line. Oklahoma is as talented as anybody in our league. We put ourselves in a tough position, but the league is a monster. It is not embarrassing to lose on the road. We have a pretty good team, but we also do not have a margin for error to not be our best when we are playing other good teams. It is not surprising to lose some games in a league this competitive. Now with the league race, there are basically four teams that are still in it. The team that plays the best in the last two weeks will have the best chance and we have not played well in the last couple of weeks. We need to spend this week getting better before we play Texas.”

Forward Perry Ellis
On struggles of game…
“We did not take care of the ball. We said that was a key thing. We were just not attacking the rim. We needed to get in the lane and try and get drop offs, but we did not.”

On closing out the game…
“We were up by six at one point, but we did not get stops. They went on a run and we could not get many. They just moved the ball well. It was just us not getting the stops that we needed to get and that was the key thing.”

Guard Kelly Oubre, Jr.
On Nigel Johnson’s performance…
“He (Nigel Johnson) definitely hit shots tonight. He did not hit that many on the year. I guess tonight was one of his best games. I would expect that from a Kansas State team to bring their best game.”

On Perry Ellis’s performance…
“He (Perry Ellis) came out on fire. I wish we had fed him more in the second half. It would have been a different outcome. He stepped up big for us tonight. He was our leader and he showed that on the court.”