March 10, 2005
KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI
THE MODERATOR: Coach, your thoughts on today's victory.
COACH JIM WOOLDRIDGE: Well, it was a kind of a game of two games in one game. We got 27 on the board in first half and 41 in the second half. I am really proud of the way our guys played. I thought we played well. We kind of hung in there. We had some big games by a lot of different players and it was a team effort. It's what we talked about going into that game that we have to play well as a team on both ends. I thought we were able to accomplish that.
THE MODERATOR: We're joined now by Fred Peete and Jeremiah Massey from Kansas State. Let's go to questions for our two student athletes first.
Q. Talk about when it got tight down the stretch how you guys responded, especially after they are up 46-41 you guys really hung in. Talk about playing as a team?
JEREMIAH MASSEY: We basically took it as a personal challenge. Those guys beat up on us at their place. We knew we had to play extremely hard. We had to suck it up at the end, everybody was tired but we had to pull it up.
FRED PEETE: Tight games through the whole season; we have had close games. We knew if we took it in long enough, rebound the ball, play good defense, we knew we were going to come out victorious.
Q. Talk about the work on Wright and the first half as opposed to the second half, what you did differently in the second half?
FRED PEETE: Basically I made him get the ball and get his touches and get his shot off. Coming in we knew that he was going to score the ball, first half he ended up with 21, so second half me and the team took it as a personal challenge not to let him get into our defense, stopping him from scoring the ball basically.
Q. About the eight-minute mark you got three or four buckets really quick there. At that point was the team running more, playing to get you the ball or did you feel a sense that you wanted to get in to make a difference at that point in the ballgame?
JEREMIAH MASSEY: I felt me being a senior, it possibly being my last game, I tried to do something to make my team win. I demanded the ball. I am just happy that it was able to go into the basket.
Q. How frustrated were you the first half picking up the fouls, seeing Antoine go off; you weren't able to respond?
JEREMIAH MASSEY: I can't say I was frustrated. I committed some dumb fouls over the back and can't really remember the other one, but I mean, those fouls they were fouls so I wasn't upset with the rest or anything like that it was my fault. I knew I had to come out second half do something different. I tried to be aggressive the same way in the first half and I was successful in the second half.
Q. When you all played A&M you were the only player for your team to score in double figures. Tonight there was five of you. Talk about the difference as far as that goes.
JEREMIAH MASSEY: We just ran our offense better. Over at A&M we let them speed us up, take us out of our game. We had to run our offense the way we do in practice. Coach said we had to do the same thing we do in practice. Second half we were able to do that.
Q. You mentioned A&M kind of bouncing back last time you played them. You get a chance to play Kansas now. You played them tough last time; what do you expect tomorrow?
FRED PEETE: Basically we expect the same game. It's going to be a hard-nosed fight coming out, rebounding, we know they got great players; we have got great players too. It's going to come out -- going to be a tough hard game, going to be a close game. We're going to come out and give it all we got.
JEREMIAH MASSEY: They are not going to be easy. We're going to come out and play our hearts out. Hopefully we can come up with a victory.
Q. Jeremiah, you said yesterday somebody asked you whether you were looking forward to playing in the NIT or not. You said you wanted to play in the NCAA tournament and win this thing. Now that you won this do you think the momentum will help you possibly achieve that goal?
JEREMIAH MASSEY: Momentum is a great thing. We had momentum coming into the tournament. We pretty much got the same momentum, pretty much going to come out play Kansas State basketball. Maybe they will give us a chance toward the end and win .
Q. Can you talk about the difference, the way you all played Antoine defensively in the second half?
COACH JIM WOOLDRIDGE: Well, Antoine Wright has been maybe the hottest player in this league over the last couple of weeks. He got loose from us both in our man defense and zone defense. Second half I thought Fred guarded him for the most part. I thought he did a great job on him, crowded him. Our defense was built on teamwork but I thought Fred's effort to get to him and compete against him was pretty terrific tonight. You can't stop him. He's too good a player but I thought the second half we really competed hard against them.
Q. Second half you seemed to come out in attack mode as far as offense.
COACH JIM WOOLDRIDGE: Well, that's all we talked about going into the ballgame. You have four days to get ready. That's all we talked about is getting inside their defense, getting into the free throw line, being aggressive, driving the ball, playing off the post, some transitions, some offensive rebounds. All those things are proactive, probing, if you would, elements to offense. We get to half-time, we haven't accomplished that. And if you look at the second half field goal percentage, it appears that we did. We shot right at the 60 percent. We got the ball inside in a variety of ways, and that was the difference in the ballgame. We weren't able to get it inside that stingy defense they play.
Q. The charge when Lance was called for charging, the crowd really picked up on that. Seems like you guys picked up on it too. Did that change the emotions?
COACH JIM WOOLDRIDGE: I am glad you brought that up because I think there were a couple moments, that being one, that I think the crowd really helped us and it was, if you would, a home court crowd for us tonight. That energized our players and we showed some poise and some toughness and played much better basketball through the second half. But that certainly impacted that game.
Q. Also looked like you got some energy with Jeremiah Massey, went on that run at the eight-minute mark. Does he have a sense for a critical point in the game where he wants to demand the ball and put in some buckets and change the momentum?
COACH JIM WOOLDRIDGE: I think he does. I think obviously if you have seen us play, he's a big, big part of what we do offensively and he's a different kind of post player. He's not your traditional back-to-the-basket post player. He has got a different kind of game and he's very quick. He's very agile, and I think his game, as games wear on, his agility and quickness become a more important factor in that game. I think that's when he really finds more offense, is in the second half because, you know, people get fatigued and he's still is able to use his quickness and agility in a pretty high level. He's our go-to guy so that's where we go with him.
Q. How hardened or tougher are you guys now going into the games like Oklahoma at home and at Colorado to come down the stretch when it gets tough, is this team -- they're receptive to that and kind of know what to do maybe a little bit more?
COACH JIM WOOLDRIDGE: I think so. I think we have been in a lot of close games and you don't win all those close games but I think you learn as you go, and we went to the foul line, missed some again but our defense was good enough and rebounding was good enough that it carried us through the game with a big win. So yeah, I think these kids, you know, they have played some pretty good basketball down the stretch and they won four out of five. They won on the road. They won at home. They have won on the neutral site. They are learning, growing and getting better.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, coach. Congratulations on the victory tonight.
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