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March 24, 2018

Bruce Weber

Kamau Stokes

Xavier Sneed

Barry Brown, Jr.

Atlanta, Georgia

Loyola Chicago - 78, Kansas State - 62

BRUCE WEBER: You know, just obviously disappointed for -- we had an unbelievable opportunity. I'm disappointed for our players. They've worked very hard to get to this point. You don't get this opportunity very often. You know, disappointed for K-State fans. Unbelievable fans, maybe take that next step, but also at the same time just so proud of our guys, how hard they've worked, how we've overcome so much through the year, and you know, did some special things.

It's hard to get to this spot, and right now we've got a lot of sad faces, a lot of tears, but I told them I appreciate them so much. And hats off to Loyola, Coach Moser. Unbelievable. We put on the board toughness and discipline, and they were tougher than us from the get-go. They were physical, very disciplined, and then Ben Richardson stepped up and had his shining moment, his magic game, and that's what you need.

We had a couple of those on the run, and they had it today, and we just didn't have enough to answer.

Q. Barry, I'm sure it's almost impossible to answer right now, but how do you think you'll look back on what this team accomplished getting to this tournament?
BARRY BROWN, JR.: I think we're just going to just take it all in within the next few days and really cherish what we did. I mean, it sucks right now, but looking back on it, with the expectations of a lot of people, we exceeded a lot, even though we knew what we were capable of ourselves. I think within the next few days we're going to take it all in, come together, and really embrace what we did.

Q. Xavier and Coach Weber, what do you think Loyola was able to do to you that no one else has been able to do this tournament, especially on offense?
XAVIER SNEED: They jumped out to that big lead in the beginning. It was hard for us to come back from that, and just kept the foot on the gas, and it was just hard to come back.

BRUCE WEBER: You know, they're a good defensive team. Their numbers back it up. We've been pretty good defensively. Obviously they made shots. You go 6 for 7 for Richardson and 9 for 18 from three, it's a difference maker. But defensively, some of the stuff they do, icing the ball screens, switching everything, they're very physical. We never could get in any rhythm.

And I feared it. Our staff feared it. We talked a lot yesterday about it. They were better defensively than I even thought, to be honest. And I thought we might be able to get some things, some looks, but we just didn't do that, and I'd said to you guys yesterday, they're really good. I don't care what league they are. To win 31 games, to do what they've done, you know, they're a special group, and they're very driven. They play together well, and they played exceptional today.

Q. What was Loyola doing offensively that broke down your defensive schemes?
BARRY BROWN, JR.: I think they were just more disciplined on offense. We didn't really have a disciplined defense. They were spreading us out, getting in gaps, and kicking and playing rope backs and playing off of each other and just making the right passes. And we were just never able to recover and stop it and close out.

Q. Xavier, kind of expanding on the defensive end here, you shot the ball very well tonight, but you only had, I think, about nine field goal attempts. How much more difficult was it to find your shot against this defense than it was against Kentucky the other night?
XAVIER SNEED: They do a lot of switching like Coach said, and they just did a good job of switching and being able to just stay in front of us, really. That's pretty much about it.

Q. Kam, you scored 11, all in the scored half, got to the basket a lot. I assume you never thought you guys were out of the game and were trying to get back in it?
KAMAU STOKES: We definitely knew we had a lot to do in the second half, and we just talked about it, coming out real aggressive, and trying to make a run at it.

Q. Coach Weber, forcing turnovers has been a big part, and you forced 15 tonight. Would you have taken that and thought that would have been enough? How did they play through that?
BRUCE WEBER: Well, and we got 28 points. We just didn't do a great -- they talked about just stopping them, especially early in the game. They beat us on a lot of dribble drives. They're very good, very disciplined at shot fakes, getting to the hoop, making the next pass. Sometimes it's a clinic how they play, and you appreciate that. They just -- and then they made those shots.

But when we picked up our intensity a little bit, I thought we came off -- out on our heels. We let them do whatever they want offensively. Second half, I mean, I got after our guys. I said, we've got to be physical, we've got to get after them. Picked it up, got some turnovers, led to some transition, gave us a little bit of a chance, but obviously it was too much to make up that late in the game.

Q. Coach Weber, I was curious, you mentioned when you were at Illinois how that year you were talking about the Sweet 16 and you felt like you put a cap on it. Is there anything from that experience, this run to the Elite 8, that you will take moving forward with this team?
BRUCE WEBER: Yeah, I mean, I kind of threw at them last year, you know, we got one win. Now our goal is to get to the Sweet 16. And I told them -- because I've learned not to cap it -- I said, you get to the Sweet 16, anything could happen, and anything did happen. We found a way to beat Kentucky, got to this point obviously.

But I said, learn from Loyola, how hard they play, how tough they are, how they play together, and we've got to take that step. We've got a good ballclub. We did a lot of good things, a lot to be proud of, but obviously success can't just stop. It's got to continue, and we've got to -- with the leadership of these older guys, they need to keep pushing everybody and take that next step for a year from now.

Q. Xavier, you're only a sophomore; over the course of this season now ending, and this might be really difficult to answer right at this moment, but what have you learned about the level of work and discipline and focus on the court that it takes to get to this point of a season and then maybe go farther next year?
XAVIER SNEED: It takes a lot. You know, just to be here in this position, it was great for us, and we see what it takes. And this off-season we're going to come even harder to get back and go even further. I feel like it's a growing for me, it's a growing lesson for me, and just learning that. And I know these guys, and we're all going to work hard this off-season to get back here.

Q. Coach, you were picked to finish eighth during the preseason in the conference. You finished fourth, made it to the Elite 8. What kind of impact does that leave on you and how will you carry that momentum into next season.
BRUCE WEBER: Well, obviously I'm very proud of our guys and their work ethic, and our staff. Our staff does a great job. I think the players will tell you that. They have a great relationship. They're around our guys, helping our guys, helping them improve. We all talked about it. President Myers is here and our athletic director, Gene Taylor. The message was we have a great group that has worked very hard, and you're proud to have them as part of your team, part of K-State athletics.

You know, they've got to continue that, but now they've got a little taste of it, and now keep taking -- make that next step. And it's work. I said it many times when we got back in April, Barry said, this is my team, we're going to lead, we're going, we're going to work hard, and then you've got to give them some credit, also, for overcoming. When you lose your starting point guard in the middle of the Big 12, the toughest conference in the country with three teams in the Elite 8, and you're able to survive, it's amazing.

And then you lose Dean -- First-Team All-Conference, 20 points a game, leading assists, it's tough, but they found a way. You know, that just is amazing, their resiliency and persistence.

Q. Barry, X and Kam, most of the squad is coming back. How are you planning to keep the momentum going forward?
XAVIER SNEED: Just by staying together this off-season, working real hard. We have a whole year now, so we kind of know each other a little bit more, a little bit better so we can gel together on and off the court. But I mean, it's going to take a little bit more effort, a little more energy and a little bit more time in the weight room, film, in the gym, just learning the game, learning the system.

KAMAU STOKES: Like X said, we're going to come back, and during the off-season we're going to work even harder. We know what it took to get to this point, and now we know what it takes to get even further, so we're just going to work harder, put the work in and get back to this point next year.

Q. They have two guards from Kansas that were pretty good and really didn't look like Division I guards if you just saw them get off the bus. Can you talk about what they do?
BRUCE WEBER: You know, you've got to give them credit. One, Mason Schoen, one of our walk-on seniors was a high school teammate with them. You know, they won in high school. They were undefeated, state champions, back to back. They're winners. The first thing when we asked Mason, talk about those guys, he said, they're winners. We told the guys that, and their toughness and their discipline is special.

Obviously Richardson had a special night tonight. Now, he averaged six points a game coming into this, but he rose up and played at a high level. Clayton Custer didn't have quite as good a game but had a great year.

And I was there. I was in the Missouri Valley. We got to the Sweet 16. You know, you get guys that will work at it and fight their butts off for you, a lot of things can happen. And even our guys, they weren't the highest-recruited guys in the world, and they rose up, and we've beaten some of the top teams. So it's work ethic, discipline, character, all those things that these scouting services could give a damn about. Those are important for coaches and the development of kids.

Q. I know you've been asked this 100 times in the last month, but with the season over, can you talk about what Dean had to deal with for the last month and this injury?
BRUCE WEBER: I told the guys, the only thing I missed in our pregame that I wanted one of them to say, play for Dean. He didn't get this chance, but he got us here. Not by himself, but he was a big force. So you feel sorry for him. I give him credit. The four points he scored the other night to show the courage to play, just too much pain, and we couldn't take a chance with his future.

I don't understand why things happen, but life isn't always fair. But it makes you tougher in the long run, and I hope it helps Dean in the long run, helps our team.

You know, think of all the things that happened with Kam going down, Cartier got a chance and developed. When Dean and Barry go down in the Kansas game, Mike McGuirl gets a chance. So it's craziness how things work out, but you know, our guys rose up and took a step. Dean obviously is really good. I mean, and I think he wants to be even better, so I would anticipate him -- we've got to probably shut him down for a month and get that foot healed and then get after it.

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