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March 23, 2019

Bill Self

Dedric Lawson

Marcus Garrett

Salt Lake City, Utah

Auburn - 89, Kansas - 75

THE MODERATOR: We welcome Kansas representatives to the stage, along with Coach Self. We have Marcus Garrett and Dedric Lawson. Coach, a brief opening statement, please.

BILL SELF: Well, obviously, we're disappointed in how we played. But also how we played shouldn't take away from how great Auburn played. They were fantastic. We hadn't seen an onslaught like that all year, in the first ten minutes of the game. And they rattled us and we didn't respond very well.

I'm proud of our kids, we hung in there second half and didn't get a lot of stops. We did play better second half. We just didn't have enough ammunition to fight off what they threw at us early.

THE MODERATOR: Let's take questions for Marcus Garrett and Dedric Lawson, please.

Q. Dedric, when they were hitting three-pointers early like that, how does that change how you have to defend them?
DEDRIC LAWSON: The whole game plan was to get out to the shooters. We did a pretty poor job really, me and myself getting back, and other guys getting out to the shooter, we let those guys get comfortable and that's what led to the big deficit in the first half.

Q. My question is for Marcus. Marcus, did you feel like defensively that you guys did an okay job? Because it seemed like everything they threw up went in.
MARCUS GARRETT: Yeah, you could say that. I feel like we didn't do a good job of getting to the shooters in the first half. But some of those lobs when they were losing the ball, just throwing them up, everything seemed like it was going in for them.

THE MODERATOR: We will dismiss these two and turn it over to questions for Coach Self. Thank you, guys. Questions for Coach.

Q. Bill, it looked like a couple of times early, two minutes in, you took the one timeout and a couple of more minutes later, they kept swarming and gaining momentum. Did you feel like you just didn't know what to do at some point there?
BILL SELF: Yes. (Laughter.)

The thing about it, it was a bad NCAA rule change when they went from five to four time-outs because we could have used more of them. A lot of it's on me. I should have sent three back in transition rather than send two back. You know, you see how New Mexico State dominated the glass so you wanted to at least give yourself a chance.

But the things that you have to -- when you're playing an athletic team like that, and they're far more athletic and quicker, the things you have to do is, your first step has to be full speed. You can't run an even race with them. You have to be ahead, because if you run an even race, it will be hard to catch up. And they had us so stretched out. A lot of it was we never scored so when you don't score it's easier to run. But they had us so stretched out the first half, or the first eight or ten minutes, and Harper and Brown were as good as we have seen all year-long.

Give them all the credit. How we thought we could maybe guard them really didn't come into play because it's a little bit harder guarding an open court than it is in the half-court. That's where they hurt us the most. I think they had 22 points in transition according to the stat sheet. I don't know how accurate it is. I assume it is. In the first eight minutes. That shouldn't happen in three games. But they certainly did it to us.

Q. You guys played better at the start of the second half, offensively you hit your first seven shots and made up one point. How frustrating is that?
BILL SELF: The game wasn't over at half-time even though there had to be just about everything go right. If you go seven for seven -- I didn't realize that's what it was to start the second half -- you would think 26 is at least 18 or 16, instead it's 25. They shot the ball extremely well. I didn't feel like the second half defensively our energy level was good enough to make them play poorly. We basically hoped they missed and they didn't. So you know we weren't good on that end at all.

THE MODERATOR: More questions for Coach?

Q. Obviously, it's way too early to start talking about what next season, but you're heading into an off-season with some uncertainty about who is coming back as usual and coming off a different sort of season for you guys. Do you have some sense of just where you are and how you look at everything right now, Bill?
BILL SELF: Well, obviously there's Dok and Dedric and Silvio are all questions for next year, and certainly maybe other players as well. Which we are used to dealing with that. That's okay.

The thing about it is, it's been a challenging year. I thought the kids hung in there and did a great job, for the most part. Their attitudes and everything was terrific. And we didn't muster up enough momentum like some past teams have to probably go on a run like other teams have.

But being a four-seed in the tournament, and so much of the tournament is match-ups, as much as anything. And I got to be honest with you, when I saw Auburn as the five in our bracket, I'm going, I just watched them play and they're fast and those are the teams we obviously struggle the most against.

Q. Coach, just talk about Dedric and what he's meant to this program.
BILL SELF: He hasn't been here very long. So, you know, I -- he's had an all-American type season, maybe not a first-team all-American, but a second-, third-team all-American-type season. And I hate it for him because he only got to play two -- he and KJ came and they only got to play two games in the tournament this year, and it may be the only two that Dedric plays.

He has got to make some decisions. He's had as good a year as we could ever have hoped for. I don't know that we've ever ridden a guy -- maybe Thomas Robinson -- but he'd be the only guy we would have ridden as hard as Dedric. And you wouldn't have to if you had your full complement of guys obviously.

But he's our best passer and you lose Dok, so you take away the guy that he can pass it to, which really kind of minimizes his skill set a lot because he is a terrific passer. I thought he improved. He scored the ball. He put up numbers almost every night.

And even tonight, he struggled so much like he did early, and he still come away with 25 and 10. That speaks volumes to him not quitting and certainly playing the entire game. But he's a terrific kid. I mean, I wish we had -- we've got great kids, don't get me wrong, but he is one of the special kids we've had in our program in recent years.

THE MODERATOR: Alright, thank you, Coach.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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