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BIG 12 CONFERENCE MEN'S TOURNAMENT


March 12, 2015


Buddy Hield

Lon Kruger

TaShawn Thomas


KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI

Oklahoma テや 64
Oklahoma State テや 49


THE MODERATOR:テつ We are ready to begin with the Oklahoma Sooners, Coach Lon Kruger, his student‑athletes in the room tonight, Buddy Hield and Thomas TaShawn.テつ Coach?
COACH KRUGER:テつ Two different halves.テつ Really good win, proud of our guys for hanging in there.
First half we didn't have much going, didn't have much activity on either end of the floor, but I liked our guys' comments.テつ Their attitude and focus at halftime was good, very positive.テつ They were anxious to get back out there and then their play showed that.
Much more active defensively the second half, created some offense from defense, pushed the ball a lot more aggressively and made for plays for each over.テつ Proud of the guys, good win over a good Oklahoma State club.

Q.テつ Buddy, you got off to a slow start, but that stretch you guys scored six straight possessions.テつ You had ten points in that stretch.テつ What got you going during that spree?
BUDDY HIELD:テつ My teammates found me in areas where I'm comfortable scoring the ball.テつ Jordan gave me a line on it and I was able to get boards.
We just stayed positive and Coach did a great job of keeping us calm in the locker room.テつ They got two quick buckets and we scored back to that.テつ I feel like us picking up full court helped us get our energy back and that was good for us.

Q.テつ TaShawn, was it a matter of not being aggressive enough in the first half?テつ And if that was the case, why would you be that way in the first game of postseason?
TaSHAWN THOMAS:テつ I think it was just I was thinking too much.テつ I think it was just like when we got the ball in certain spots that we know we can score where we wanted to.テつ We slowed down and started thinking, What should I do?テつ Doing that kind of caused us not to be aggressive and I just think‑‑ I don't know if it was just jitters or anything, I just felt like everybody on the court was‑‑ well, everybody on the team was playing like that in the first half.

Q.テつ Looks like, Buddy, you went 5 for 15, so struggled to shoot but still finished with 22 points, another night where you find ways to contribute and score despite maybe not having your stroke.
BUDDY HIELD:テつ I was attacked a little bit, got a couple of fouls called and I was able to knock down some free‑throws and focus.テつ I think my free‑throws, making two free‑throws in the early second half helped me make those two threes go down because I felt a good rhythm.テつ I feel a good rhythm, and I'm going to shoot better tomorrow, promise you that.

Q.テつ TaShawn, you get a rematch now with Iowa State, that was a crazy game in Ames a couple of weeks ago.テつ You guys had a big lead, they came back.テつ Thoughts on the match‑up against the Cyclones?
TaSHAWN THOMAS:テつ We're going to have to defend.テつ Niang is going to be a tough match‑up, just like Nash was today.テつ We're going to have to defend him and try to contain him because he gets them going.テつ I feel like if we can defend pretty good, sound, we can come out with a win.

Q.テつ Buddy, you guys struggled so much to shoot in the first half.テつ How conscious were you to get in the lane and try to get to the free‑throw line in the second half?
BUDDY HIELD:テつ You know, our offense was too stagnant the first half.テつ They were denying us, taking us out of our stuff, wasn't getting in a good rhythm.
Coach called some good plays and we were able to execute.テつ TaShawn got some good looks and I got some good looks and we just went off from that.

Q.テつ Buddy, you guys as a team you didn't shoot a good percentage, but from 3‑point you did, 5 out of 11.テつ How important is it when things aren't going well that you're stillnot just ‑‑ you didn't shoot a ton of three pointers and the ones you did take were good shots and you made a good chunk of them.
BUDDY HIELD:テつ It was good for us.テつ We needed a spark.テつ It was said in the locker room, we needed a spark, somebody give us a spark.テつ Jordan did a good job finding us in good open spots.テつ We were able to score the ball.
Ta made some good plays and Isaiah made some good plays and it was a good effort.テつ I like how the team responded to the run they had in the first half and we've got to move on from that, get ready for the next one now.

Q.テつ Can you talk about defending Forte, because I know you scrape off some, TaShawn, and you do some things to help contain him.テつ His numbers were just really poor tonight and they were, I think, earlier in your other games.テつ Can you talk about defending Forte?テつ What you key on?
TaSHAWN THOMAS:テつ In practice Coach tells us it's not just one person guarding him, it's going to be the whole team guarding him because he can get the ball off real quick and make 'em.テつ Whenever he comes off ball screens, the bigs, the guard is trailing so the big has to show out a little bit, just to rattle them a little bit and then make sure the guard gets back in front.テつ So it's really a job for both us and every game we played in, we did a really pretty good job on him.

Q.テつ Buddy, the Commissioner gave you the Player of the Year trophy before the game.テつ Was that strange, out of your routine to get announced before the game with everybody looking at you?
BUDDY HIELD:テつ No.テつ I like people, it's always good to me.テつ I'm always smiling, so it doesn't hurt me a little bit.テつ But it was a good honor.テつ Hats off to my teammates and coaches, they push me every day, from Coach Kruger to Ta and everybody.テつ They push me every day in practice, and I try and be a better player and a better person on and off the court.テつ Hats off to them, they all deserve the award, too.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Okay, congratulations, gentlemen.テつ We will let you go back to the locker room.

Q.テつ Lon, you didn't play Frank Booker until the second half.テつ Was there any specific reason for that or just match‑ups?
COACH KRUGER:テつ Frank didn't practice much this week because of academic requirements.テつ That was basically it, nothing official or formal, just gelled in practice a couple days when Frank hadn't been there.テつ So it was just fair to play those guys that practiced.

Q.テつ Coach, how do you explain the difference between the first half where nothing went in and the second half where you shot pretty well and basically took control?
COACH KRUGER:テつ I think Ta summed it up pretty well, seemed like the first half we were tentative, shooting it quick, shot selection was poor.
Second half was much more downhill, much more in the flow, much more attack, much more in rhythm.テつ Just easier to make shots when you're doing things that you typically do every day in practice.テつ First half we weren't doing that, second half we weren't.

Q.テつ Lon, you survived a really good game by Nash.テつ He had 27 points, 12 rebounds, made a big percentage.テつ What's the key to stopping him and keeping him in check which you didn't necessarily do tonight, but why he was able to go off and how were you able to survive that?
COACH KRUGER:テつ He's a tough player.テつ They got Nash and Forte, they both require extra attention.テつ And when you start doing too much of that, you leave open other good players around them.
But I thought our guys, like I said, did a really good job on Forte, terrific player, terrific shooter.テつ Nash, at halftime, we were talking about he's got too much room and we wanted more congestion and we never did really get that to the degree that we wanted.テつ He's a good player.テつ He's a good player and he had a good night.

Q.テつ You really controlled the glass in the second half, particularly Spangler has 15 rebounds.テつ How huge that was?
COACH KRUGER:テつ That was big.テつ Ryan and Ta assisted him, they were big on the glass.テつ That first half, any loose balls, balls that weren't clean, they were getting them.
And second half, we got them much more aggressively, two hands on the ball, Ryan leading the way, did a great job, 15 boards, big number.

Q.テつ Coach, this sets up a semi‑final match with Iowa State, thoughts on the Cyclones and in particular Monte Morris, their point guard, who had a pretty crazy game today.
COACH KRUGER:テつ They're great.テつ Fred does a terrific job.テつ They spread you out.テつ And our two games have been crazy, they got off to a big start in Norman and we had a big run in the second half, and we got the big start in Ames.テつ They had the big start in the second half.テつ Kind of four different halves.テつ I guess it's been 2‑2 and the games are 1‑1.テつ But they're good, they're really good.テつ We've got to come out with a lot of energy and work hard, try to limit them to one.
You can play Iowa State, it's a little bit ‑‑ Niang is such a tough match‑up, you got to determine‑‑ that's where it starts, determine what you're going to give him, up to him and what you're going to cheat on him and that opens up others.テつ So it's choosing your poison a little bit because they are so good.

Q.テつ Coach, this is the only week every year where you play back‑to‑back‑‑ I guess other than the preseason tournaments where you play back‑to‑back nights.テつ Can you let us in on the next 24 hours, what they're like for you, how long are you up tonight?テつ How does that work in the morning for back‑to‑back?
COACH KRUGER:テつ Like everyone in a tournament setting, we'll go back, get together as a staff and kind of determine tomorrow's schedule and I think we know now when the shootaround is and breakfast and you piece in as much as you can, editing out a tape that we can show the players, 15‑20 minute tape all tolled is what they will watch, but we will watch more than that tonight and tomorrow.
It's tournament time, much preferred to driving home, for sure.テつ Thank you.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Thanks, Coach.テつ

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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