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March 8, 2018

Bruce Weber

Xavier Sneed

Makol Mawien

Barry Brown Jr.

Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas State - 66, TCU - 64

THE MODERATOR: We're ready to begin with Kansas State Wildcats, Coach Bruce Weber and three student-athletes, Barry Brown, Makol Mawien and Xavier Sneed. Coach, congratulations on your victory today.

BRUCE WEBER: Thank you. Really proud of our guys, happy for them. From the beginning I told them before the game since practice when we got back and got going in the spring through the summer and through the fall, they worked their tails off. They've had great leadership, you know. They've done everything we've asked. They're very, very coachable. Probably raised my voice, you know, other than yelling play hard and all that stuff, you know. But getting after 'em a couple times all year. They're a great group. We got down 7. We didn't have much emotion. Cartier made a couple of good plays for us, got energy going. Kam went in and made a play and Mak was very good, a lot of big plays.

Obviously we probably should have fouled on the three at the end. We had 'em in the -- but it's in that chaotic state where you're running back, and, you know, they made a great play. You gotta give them credit, but we came back. Very rarely when teams make a big shot like that do you come back with the emotional and energy that we had in the overtime period that we found to win. Barry obviously made the big play at the end. We gave him the ball and he had a chance to make the play and he came up big for us and made the basket.

Excited! Hopefully solidifies our chance to be in the NCAA tournament. Now they gotta want more, get to the finals and see what happens. But you've got to come back and win tomorrow night, obviously.

Q. Barry, could you just take us through the big play that Coach talked about where you drove for the game-winning layup?
BARRY BROWN Jr.: He drew up a screen with Mak and we knew that the possession before, I think, in regulation they switched with Brodziansky and we were hoping maybe they would switch again a little bit. But they didn't. They did a regular ball defense and I hesitated and tried to attack the basket because in regulation I settled for a jump shot. So I wanted to attack the basket, and I was able to get fouled and knock the shot down.

Q. For all of you, when that basket goes in and they rule it's good. How tough was it to get -- that's like a punch to the gut. What was your attitude and how did you get going again to take control in the overtime?
BARRY BROWN Jr.: It was tough for us, but nothing we have never been through before. We play overtime all the time in practice and it was something we were ready for.

We knew that they were going to come with their best and I think they came out with a score right in the first possession or a foul or something, but we rallied through, weathered the storm and had some key stops down the stretch and made some big baskets.

MAKOL MAWIEN: Yeah, it was a tough shot and played through it. I just thought I would keep my energy up and motivate the team and keep energy up and try to be vocal a little bit. I knew as long as they energized us that would be a good position to win overtime.

XAVIER SNEED: Piggybacking what Barry said, we go through situations every day in practice and I felt like Coach put us in a great position to be ready for that moment when it came.

Q. Barry, you and Dean have got a lot of attention this season for your all big performances, but Mak and X had big games today. Talk about how they helped carry you guys to this win?
BARRY BROWN Jr.: Last game I found out the stat when Mak is 10 or plus points that we are untreated, so for him to have 16 points, almost a double-double, 16 points, 9 boards, 3 blocks. That's tough in anyone's book in any league, and he was tough today and we need him throughout the rest of the season, throughout March. Xavier had great defense, some great stops. Kenrich had some tough shots, but for the most part X was in his bubble, getting rebounds, stills, talking, assists. They were great today.

Q. Barry, TCU is one of the higher scoring teams in the nation and you guys have held them under 70 points every time you played. What is it about your match-up that you guys defend them so well?
BARRY BROWN Jr.: We have great team defense and some great individual defenders. We all take on that challenge to stop when they do. They do a lot of ball screen action and a lot of post-ups, and credit to our guys we fought for over forty minutes to limit their opportunities to have some. They have some wide-open shots and stuff, but for the most part we were there in the bubble contesting. It paid off.

THE MODERATOR: Gentlemen, congratulations. Good luck tomorrow. Questions for Coach Weber?

Q. You either play a team that swept you or a team that you swept that is really hot right now. Do you have any preference?
BRUCE WEBER: We just have to watch and see. Obviously Kansas is down one player, Oklahoma State swept them, so we have to see. We gotta come ready to play. Either one, we've just gotta be ready. I think if we shoot for one team now it's a little bit of a mental letdown. We just get ready. We've gotta be ready. This is about us and gutting it out, being mentally tough and doing the things we do.

I should have talked about our defense, not only holding them in the 60s, but it's overtime and held them in the 50s. Mak was important in that and Barry's match-up with Alex Robinson and we emphasized Williams and Xavier, because his improvement in the last three years has been amazing. So our defense has been consistent. That's got to be the thing that's there if you're going to have a chance to win tomorrow night.

Q. Coach, talk about when Barry and Dean didn't have their best games today, but you had several other players step up. Talk about that, how important that is?
BRUCE WEBER: When we've been our best -- we've had great balance, you get guys in double figures, four of them, you share the baseball, assists. Both teams are playing their hearts out and you're playing them a third time. Last year our Baylor game was a hard-fought game. The West Virginia was a hard-fought game. I don't know if people appreciate that double round robin and having 1-10 where anybody can beat anybody on a given night.

So the balance is important, Mak, in fact, John Underwood from the Big 12 said that 14 has come a long way. Mak has slowly and surely become more of an offensive threat, he's rebounding. He is playing hard. He understands it. I thought Cartier did a couple of good things. We were struggling. He got a couple baskets for us when we needed it and Xavier had a big one in overtime because they jump off you. You have a letdown. They make the first bucket. Xavier makes a pull-up in the paint. So we had good balance, even the bench, Levi gets 6 points, 3 rebounds, Mawdo goes in and gets a basket. Kam struggled a little bit, but he's still trying to work his way back. But balance is definitely a key for our team.

Q. Bruce, for the rest of the day what's the plan? Will you guys go back out there and watch the KU-Oklahoma State game?
BRUCE WEBER: A lot of them have family here. They don't get their family. Our guys are from such long distance, obviously, except Dean. So we told them they have the 30 minutes media. Go out and see their family for 15 minutes. They want to go back. They're hungry. The game is on TV. They can watch it there. Their families can come and enjoy time with them and be around them. Then we will go to dinner and start our planning at that time, the scouting. The coaches obviously will scout and get the game plan together. We've got the scouting reports from both the last times we've played them. It was a little longer than obviously than TCU, but they've got to relax and enjoy the opportunity, the special environment. Kansas City does a great job, great venue, great crowd. Big 12 does a great job with the tournament.

Q. Do you have a preference in terms of who you play? You guys except Oklahoma State in the regular season and KU would give you a chance to move up seedingwise?
BRUCE WEBER: We've got to worry about ourselves and getting ready. Oklahoma State has played us as well as anybody of late, to beat Kansas the way they have done is amazing. Last night they played at a high level, and Kansas is, you know, they're going to be a No. 1 seed. So they got us twice. Once we had a shot at the end, the other one they kind of kicked our butt. But, you know, we just gotta worry about ourselves, getting ready to play with some emotion and energy.

Q. Coach, you said you weren't in the tournament for sure until the last minute and you said that helped you because at present kept everybody's mind focused. First thing you said was if this doesn't get us in, I don't know what will, are you afraid there will be a letdown, we got what we needed?
BRUCE WEBER: I don't think so. We came here to win the tournament and do something no one has done in K-State history and they have that mindset. Do something special. I would be surprised and disappointed if we didn't have a great effort, make every shot, I don't know. But they will come and fight tomorrow night I promise you that.

Q. Coach, back to your defense, you guys don't play the dramatic defense, obvious defense like West Virginia. It's much more subtle but so effective. How do you describe your defensive style?
BRUCE WEBER: I went recruiting yesterday afternoon and sat with one of our former players Dee Brown from Illinois, and he said, Coach, it's nothing like it used to be because Dee would press full court and we would trap and all that stuff. But the game has changed. I said, Dee, how many people ball screened at that time? And that's all TCU does. They go out and ball screen. It's 5 on 4, and we had to change things. Even from the last time we played TCU they got us on a bunch of back doors. We talked about being compact. I think it's good, solid scouting reports. We got guys that care about defense which is not always the case in this day and age. Barry from day one wanted to be a defender. We've gotten Xavier to believe in it. Mak, I said he's one of the best ball screen defenders in the country, and Dean has great read of things. It's solid.

Making them earn things. They did get a bunch in the paint especially in the first half, I think 22 points. But we did a better job. We've tweaked. We've changed. You have to. Coach Keady told me years ago, if you're not flexible in this game you are not going to last long because you have to change as the game changes. I have to fight Coach Lowery all the time because he wants to do it the old way sometimes. But we have adjusted. We've done what we used to do and a little bit of new stuff and got guys to believe into it.

THE MODERATOR: Coach, thank you very much.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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