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March 11, 2020

Mike Boynton Jr.

Isaac Likekele

Lindy Waters III

Yor Anei

Cameron McGriff

Kansas City, Missouri

Oklahoma State - 72, Iowa State - 71

THE MODERATOR: We will start with our student-athletes before Coach gets here. We have the Cowboys of Oklahoma State. Welcome back for Coach. He is en route. Our four student-athletes, Cameron McGriff, Isaac Likekele, Yor Anei and Lindy Waters III.

Q. Ice, breakdown the final play for us.
ISAAC LIKEKELE: After I seen that they scored, Avery Anderson listened to Coach very well. Coach said we need to hurry and get the ball out and try to drive it as deep as possible into the paint as we can. Just because we were in the bonus and that's our style of play, attacking the paint. Yor had a great seal down low and he opened me up for a layup so those two pivotal things that they did that let me get to the game-winning layup.

Q. How big was Yor's offensive rebound that led to your free throws?
ISAAC LIKEKELE: It was very big. I believe if we didn't get that offensive rebound we would have had to foul and they would have been 3 points or 1 point, I don't know, but it was very big that Yor got that rebound and led us to the two free throws and I had to step up to make them, which I did.

Q. Lindy, Cameron you guys have been here a lot of times, Iowa State is tough to beat, how satisfying is it to beat Iowa State with their great fan support at Kansas City?
CAMERON MCGRIFF: It was what we game here to do. We came here on a business trip. We understood that it was practically going to be a road game with their fans here and we stayed composed throughout the game. I felt like we stayed with their runs and we only led about 50 seconds throughout the game, so that showed our composure and resiliency to fight back no matter how things may be going.

Q. With the Big 12 making the announcement about no fans the rest of the tournament, how y'all going to feel tomorrow when it's just you and Kansas and 250 people here inside the Sprint Center watching you play?
YOR ANEI: I guess it's going to feel like a scrimmage. You don't really have that much people at a scrimmage.

ISAAC LIKEKELE: I mean, I feel like we'll be fine, create our own energy and my momma will be there so I'll be fine. (Chuckles.)

Q. The fact that there is going to be no fans here, can you guys tell us how you found out, when you found out there would be no fans here tomorrow if you happened to win, how Coach told you?
LINDY WATERS III: We didn't find out until after the game. He had just mentioned it. I mean, now that I think about it I heard a bunch of boo's, so I guess that's when the announcement was but after the game, Coach Mike told us and it's just going to be another basketball game for us. We're all playing for the same thing, the Big 12 championship.

Q. Facing Kansas again, what is the challenge like to face the Jayhawks?
ISAAC LIKEKELE: We have to play much better than we did the first time and the second time. We gotta stick to our defensive scheme and just trust in our coaches and actually out there and execute what they need us to do and at the end of the day we've gotta go out there and make plays. They're a very talented defensive team so a lot of stuff you try to run to get you out of, the fact that they defend and make you become a player, make plays, and that's what we gotta do tomorrow.

Q. Lindy, same goes for Kansas, only they're Kansas. How much easier do you think it's going to be to play Kansas here without their 10,000 fans?
LINDY WATERS III: Much easier than being in Lawrence, that's for sure. But like you said, they will have a similar amount of fans, family and friends there. But at the end of the day it's what happens on the court.

Q. Cameron, you went about 5 minutes there at the end of the game without a basket until Isaac's layup, except for free throws. Can you talk about how close your were down the stretch because you guys struggles at times?
CAMERON MCGRIFF: We have a lot of capable guys to make free throws throughout the game. We just stepped up and knocked 'em down. It shows our confidence and our toughness s and that's what Coach always tells us, making free throws is just about toughness, especially down the stretch. So for us to close out the game in that fashion, it shows we put the work in, definitely pivotal, every shot is a game winner, Isaac's layup was a great shot down the stretch. Missed the free throw. But credit to making free throws down the stretch.

Q. To start the second half, Iowa State jumped on you guys early. What were the conversations in the huddles when you guys were trying to get back in it?
ISAAC LIKEKELE: I mean, Coach Boynton was really just telling us that we needed to stay focused and had we really came out flat lined. We didn't come out with any energy like we should have.

That's what made us lose our 2-point lead so fast at the half. He was telling us we gotta amp it up, amp it up, and he kept trying to push us and push us, everybody knows we have it in us, we're a great defensive team. That's what kept us going, and Cameron staying on us, like he's been the whole year, he's always been that guy, yelling at us, and he showed us by example. Cameron played very hard the entire second half, you can go out there and replay, Cameron was all over the place and same thing for Lindy. That's what seniors do. They led by example and they led my communication. So when those two guys are doing that, you know, you just gotta follow their lead and that's what led us to come back late.

Q. Isaac, you seem aggressive in attacking the basket. Was that a mindset going into the game or did you see opportunities there and take advantage of them?
ISAAC LIKEKELE: My teammates just tried to tell me to stay aggressive when I'm playing passive. That's when we're not at our best because I cause confusion and whenever I'm playing passive. Whenever I'm attacking the rim that's when things open up for everyone else. Whenever I'm going to the rim and playing passive, that's just me defending myself. So I just gotta stay aggressive and that will get other people more involved the more aggressive I am.

Q. Cameron, Isaac just mentioned you didn't come out with a lot of energy to start the second half. Have you thought much yet about energy in general tomorrow? It's going to be such a strange game, high stakes game in an empty gym that seats 18,000 people. I assume opposing fans help you generate energy, how are you going to get your energy tomorrow?
CAMERON MCGRIFF: Just within ourselves. We're a team that definitely, you know, we start within and then we go out. So the 14 guys have to I bring energy amongst each other and then the little amount of fans we will have, we will feel their energy, too, but it starts within the huddle or within that timeout, every time we go out there we know we got each other's back.

THE MODERATOR: We are now joined by head Coach Mike Boynton, Jr.

Q. Coach, looking at the last play that Isaac's layup, how does that show the poise that he has had in this game and for you guys all season?
MIKE BOYNTON JR.: He's a pretty mature sophomore, started every game for us as a freshman and learned and is still learning how to play the position but I think really it goes to the growth of our team as a whole. We still have some good pieces and when we're playing together and executing at a high level we feel like we can play with anybody. He leads us because he affects the game in so many different ways but that play in particular was made by Avery Anderson. We told him in a timeout going into that last possession, I didn't want them thinking timeout if we score, we wanted to get the ball in as fast as we could, we usually have a big take it out, but I said whoever gets it, just go in, because the other team is usually excited and you can catch them off balance in that situation, and whoever got the outbound pass, and we wanted to get is to Ice, don't settle, as fast as you can, one dribble per second ask we had enough time to get all the way to the rim and he did a great job of reading the scenario and obviously was able to complete the play.

It shows poise from him in particular but I think our team was prepared for the moment and that credit goes to those kids.

Q. Coach, congratulations on the win. I gotta ask you about the other big story that's happening. Can you take us through when you found out about the fact that there won't be fans at the rest of this tournament and how you told the team and what affect that could have about playing the Jayhawks in an almost empty gym tomorrow?
MIKE BOYNTON JR.: I just found out after the game. I heard a lot of booing during the game, but when I hear noise, I don't really understand what's being done in the crowd.

So I just found out. I just told our team. Hey, we have to control what we can control. The most important thing for us is to get rested and to be able to get ourselves prepared to play a really, really good team. Doesn't matter how many people are in the stands. They got the Player of the Year, a Hall of Fame coach and probably if their Player of the Year wasn't the Player of the Year, their point guard would have been Player of the Year. So we got a big task no matter how many people are in the stands tomorrow.

Q. Coach, you say that but you and actually none of us have every been in a situation like this before. What type of changes or anything, even though you just found out about it do you think that you will have to make as far as adjustments because obviously it's been said before you feed off the crowd noise, either pro or against, tomorrow, you're not going to have that type of atmosphere for either team, of course, but how do you coach and keep your players adjusted to something like that?
MIKE BOYNTON JR.: I think the first part of your statement maybe tells it all. It's uncharted. I don't know. I'm not prepared, right, for this. Because you don't expect to be not have anyone even in the building. Especially until a conference tournament where fans are all the teams are able to come and this is one of the most well-attended conference tournaments in the country. Because of where it's located and all the fans are able to drive from the different parts of our region.

Yeah, it will be different. I'm not sure exactly how it will play out. But what I can only focus on is trying to get these guys rested and put a game plan together because really the crowd noise helps the environment of the game. But the five guys on each side of the court really settle in and the game ultimately becomes the same regardless.

But I don't really know. I don't have a great answer for you in terms of how do I make an adjustment. We will all be playing it by ear tomorrow. Once the game tips and we look around and we don't have that noise and maybe the environment isn't as great. I'm sure these guys will be excited to play another day and that's what I'm excited about being able to be a part of.

Q. Yor, you're from the area. What impact does this have on you with the fans not being here? You would have had a large crowd.
YOR ANEI: It's a pretty big impact because, like, I'm pretty well known locally so a bunch of random fans, even if their fans of the other team they know me and they might, like, cheer. So I guess it has a pretty big affect, but it's the same for the other team. They're not going to have the same fan base. I'm not sure.

Q. Coach, what is your message to fans that have driven or flown here to Kansas City to catch you play that won't be able to come to the game tomorrow?
MIKE BOYNTON JR.: Obviously we're following our leadership. We didn't make the decision. We have fans come up, too, and they won't be able to enjoy the experience either. It's unfortunate, but I think at the same time there is so much unknown out there, right? We want to take as much precaution as we possibly can to ensure the safety of the kids, right? And as adults, although it may not be fun, I'm sure it sucks for people who maybe have flown from far away and have hotel stays that maybe they can't get out of rental cars, whatever. It's just unfortunate. I don't have a great answer for them, either. I just hope that soon we all can figure out what it is and we can figure out a way to have a better situation moving forward.

THE MODERATOR: Coach, we will let you get out of here. Thank you for coming and congratulations.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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