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March 16, 2018

Bruce Weber

Barry Brown Jr.

Kamau Stokes

Charlotte, North Carolina

Kansas State - 69

Creighton - 59

BRUCE WEBER: Obviously we're so thrilled for our guys. You know, since day one last spring when we got back, after, you know, we lost in the NCAA, took our couple weeks off, Barry took leadership. They didn't question anything. They came everyday, worked their tails off. And we said this is what you work for to get this opportunity and thought they took advantage of it. We were very well prepared. We said we have to guard them, they're one of the best offensive teams in the country. Some of the best offensive players in the country. We did a great job defensively, made it really tough on them.

Obviously Barry did a great job on Marcus, who is a really good player. But all our guys, it was a team defense and you hold them to 59, I don't know if anyone has done that all year. I've looked at that closely, but it's pretty impressive. And then, you know, we always talk about somebody stepping up and having a special moment and obviously Mike McGuirl since the beginning, I thought he was the surprise of our summer. And then he had injuries, and to his credit, you know, he's been very, very patient. Took himself out of red shirt when Cam got hurt and came back. He got his chance the last couple games and rose up and plays like a veteran. Played a lot of big plays. Cam got us off going, it was good for him to get his shot going. You could see a little smile on his face. He had his struggles, but I thought both ends of the game, and then Barry kind of took it over in the second half, you know, made the plays we needed to make. So it was a great, great win for our guys. So happy for them, and now we get to move on and, you know, see who we play on Sunday.

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Cam and Barry, raise your hand.

Q. Cam, for you specifically, how big a relief was it to come out, make your first three shots, get your team the lead you guys pretty much held throughout the game?
KAMAU STOKES: Seeing the ball go, it really felt good. It all came down to focusing on making a shot. And like I said, seeing the ball go through the hoop felt really good.

Q. Barkry, what was the key to shutting down Marcus? I know it's a team thing, but you were on him most of the day.
BARRY BROWN, JR.: Just I watched a lot of film with him -- I meant on him with Coach Frazier, just trying to see where he picks his spots, what he likes to do on offense, and kind of memorizing their plays a little bit. So I kind of knew the play before they ran it through and so I was just jumping a lot of stuff and kind of denying him a little bit and it worked out. My teammates had my back, back doors and stuff like that, especially on switches and hedges and ball screens. It worked out.

Q. Barry, what was different about the way you guys operated without Dean Wade tonight?
BARRY BROWN, JR.: I felt like it was -- we had our backs against the wall knowing D wasn't going to play. Like Coach said, credit to Mike. He stepped up big time, gave us a big lift off the bench we needed. I mean, we missed some of the stuff that D does. Some of the guys stepped up and rebound and defended like it was our last game, and that's our mindset going through this turn.

Q. When did you find out Dean wasn't going to play?

KAMAU STOKES: Game-time decision. We didn't know. Yeah, it was just a game-time decision.

Q. Can either one of you talk about the contributions of Mike McGuirl?
BARRY BROWN, JR.: Mike he played his butt off today, 6 for 10 from the field, 3 of 5 from three. But all the little stuff you don't see. He had some great defense. He might not have got a steal, but he had some great defensive contributions, switches and talking and knowing where to be and helps out. He had a great game today.

Q. Bruce, can you --
THE MODERATOR: Players first.

Q. Barry then Cam, is this the most rewarding win you've been a part of at K-State?
BARRY BROWN, JR.: It's very rewarding to show what we're about, and we can not only make the tournament win a game against a top offensive team, hold them to 59 points when they're averaging way more than that. It's very wonderful for our guys to know how we worked in the off-season to be to this point.

KAMAU STOKES: It's very rewarding knowing how hard we worked to get to this point. We wanted to get here and win a game, and winning the game is rewarding, but we still got work to do.

Q. Barry, can you describe what it was like when Coach told you Wade wasn't going to play? And for Cam, what did that make -- how did that make you feel?
BARRY BROWN, JR.: We knew -- like I said, we had our backs against the wall without Dean and we huddled up and we had guys that stepped up. Mike stepped up, like I said. Cam hit some shots. Cartier hit some shots. Everybody stepped up and contributed a little more to make up with what Dean brings to the table.

Q. Told you in the locker room?
BARRY BROWN, JR.: It was a game-time decision.

Q. Cam, you were in the middle of a dynamic play towards of end of the first half. Cartier blocked, you get the ball, alley ooped to Xavier. Talk about how it helped you guys keep going with the momentum?
KAMAU STOKES: A play like that is a momentum changer. Makes you feel good and your energy goes up. Credit Xavier for running the floor. He always does that, been doing that this whole year. It was an energy booster for us.

Q. Barry, Creighton never led this game. That's not the first time you've done that lead from wire to wire. Every time they made a push at you, you guys pushed back. What's different about this team and how good are you at maintaining leads like that?
BARRY BROWN, JR.: I mean, I think the Big 12 kind of prepared us for this time and I think it's just we have a little bit more poise. Lot of guys played in this situation before last year and we weren't able to pull it through, but I think that year of experience helped us to stay poised and stay calm and confident when they made that push. I think they cut it to like 2, and so we were able to make the plays and defend and come out with a win.

Q. Barry, I don't misquote you. You said something earlier this year about riding with your Coach and how much he meant to you. Did you want to get this win for him tonight?
BARRY BROWN, JR.: I wanted to get this win for Coach. I know how much he cares about it and how much times he puts into this basketball program when he could be with his family. I really wanted to get it for him and our fans, just the whole Wild Cat Nation. I want to get it for our players, myself, everyone.

THE MODERATOR: One more question for the student-athletes if anyone has one. Nope. Okay. Thank you, Cam and Barry. You guys head back to the locker room. Good job. We'll now take questions for Coach.

Q. Sorry, Bruce. Could you, if you can, tell us what you said to Marcus as he walked off the floor for the last time tonight?
BRUCE WEBER: I just congratulated him. I said all along, you know, I have nothing against him. I'm in this for -- I started years ago. I was a fifth grade teacher. I coached kids on the playground and that. It's about kids and that's why I've stayed in it. And I want guys to be successful and if he -- I just said congratulations. I'm happy. I hope you got your head-on straight. And he had a heck of a career.

So, I mean I told him the same thing and asked about his mom. Got a great mom and family. You know, again, I'm proud that I recruited him, coached him, and I'm proud that, you know, I maybe helped him get in the right path or right direction.

Q. Coach, that was a season low for them, tied a season low, 59 points. What was your strategy going in and how were you able to contain Foster?
BRUCE WEBER: Barry is one of the better defenders in the country, and from day one I asked when he was a freshman, I said who is going to be our stopper. He raised his hand and he said I am. I just kind of blew it off. He's taken that role, he loves it, he's -- and the thing he talked about, he has been in the office every day since, you know, since Monday watching film on them. And because we knew how good he was and what he did and you can take away a couple of the quick hitters, where they get them on the back doors where he can get a couple easy ones, you know, it makes it tougher on him on the tough shots to contest it.

The other thing we talked which was just stay in on him a lot, like Trae Young we talked about, when he drove, we told him to call, to stay there, make him make tough shots. He never -- he made one at the end, but other than that he never really got going. So it was -- we've been good on defense. Plays some of the best offensive teams in the country. We told the guys that this was probably more like Kansas and Oklahoma or TCU, but, you know, they rose to the occasion and they took the challenge on. And beside Barry, Xavier was really, really effective, because Thomas is really good player, too, and Xavier did a great job on him, gave us great energy, hit a big 3 when they kind of made a run. Somebody asked about the question about seemed like every time they made a run, we made the big plays. Xavier got some big rebounds. Obviously the free throws was the one thing we could have been even a bigger margin. Just happy to win and advance.

Q. Bruce, in terms of when you're replacing Wade and dribbling his minutes and responsibilities, I mean was McGuirl the like Option A or how -- what was the thought process by which you ended up with him taking those minutes?
BRUCE WEBER: We've been through this before when Kamau Stokes got hurt in the third game at Big 12, breaks his foot at Texas Tech. That's when Barry showed great leadership, called his own team practice, got with Dean, said hey, we've got to take this team on our back. So they've been through it. Word I put on the board today was "persistence." There's nothing more important in this world than being persistent. You got to -- we told them we can't replace Dean's scoring, but we can guard them. If we keep them at a minimum, then somebody else has to step up. I guess the best thing was Mike and Amaad and some of those guys got a chance against Kansas last Friday to get in there and get a little confidence and feel good about themself. And so when they got in, I mean obviously Mike didn't hesitate. It looked like he's been a starter or played many minutes all year. So, you know, it had to be a team effort. I thought we made some tough shots early, you know, but we kept making big plays and Barry got going on some of those ball screen actions and in the second half. Just a great team effort. You can't replace Dean. He's one of the best players in the country. But you had to do it with great team work, great team defense, and some people stepping up.

Q. Coach, I know you talked about being happy for the guys, but how gratifying is this for you? Does this relieve any pressure for you?
BRUCE WEBER: I don't worry about that. I'll be honest. It's just helping the guys and preparing them and I put my heart and soul into everyday. I love coaching, passion for coaching young men and watching them develop. And, you know, it's about them having the experiences. I've had these experiences. Do I want to go to the Final Four? Heck yeah, that was an unbelievable ride. It would be fun to do something like that again. But, at the same time, for those guys to experience this, it's special and they're pretty focused. They were excited in the locker room, but they know obviously we're going to have a tough task on Sunday.

Q. Can you just take us through the decision process with Dean?
BRUCE WEBER: Dean tried to do some stuff on Wednesday before we left, little more active stuff. Then yesterday we got him more involved with some stuff and we just wanted to see how he would be after. And today we went to shoot around and, you know, he just said, "Coach, it still hurts. I don't think I have the mobility. I don't know if I can do some things." You know, so Dr. Macatee (phonetic), Luke Saber (phonetic), and myself met with Dean. We talked about still being ready if we needed to have him take the ball inbounds or an emergency thing. You know, he's so smart, if it came down to one reply and getting the ball, I'm putting Dean in there and he was willing to do that. I talked to his parents right when I got on the bus and told them I didn't think he was going to play and they understood. You know, I love -- Dean, we couldn't get him to talk, but in the first huddle when we were going on the court, Dean was up talking. He was talking to Mac the whole time. He's really grown up. And it's sad he's not part of it, but it's still great for our other guys that they were able to rise up and find a way to win.

Q. Coach, follow-up, is there any chance he plays on Sunday or are you ruling him out?
BRUCE WEBER: We told -- Dr. Macatee, we talked to Dean. We said come back tomorrow and we're going to go back and do some treatment on him. We'll have a short practice, you know, see if it improves and he wants to go and give it a shot and we need him, I don't think it's going to be major minutes, but, you know, he wants to be part of it. If it helps us have success and move on, I'm sure Dean will be there giving his all.

Q. Coach, you put "persistence" on the board. Was this -- is that exactly what your team did and won this game with a great deal of persistence and tenacity?
BRUCE WEBER: I don't think there's any doubt. Resilience. Whatever the words are. I look for the quotes for the week and the game. There's nothing more important in this world than persistence, and it can overcome talent and the intelligence. That's what they are. Barry is probably as persistent as anyone. Little stubborn, but he's very persistent. And I thought our guys really -- every time -- obviously that shot at the end of the half was huge. Then we came out, made the run, and they make the run and we come right back and make plays. And, you know, I'm just proud of them because they've been very resilient, persistent throughout the year.

It hasn't been a smooth sail the whole time. We've had to deal with injuries and tough losses and a lot of the different things, but they've stayed the course and really bought in and listened to the coaches and can't be more proud.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach.

BRUCE WEBER: Thank you.

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