March 11, 2005
KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI
COACH BILL SELF: It was a great win for us. We haven't played unbelievably well the majority of the time the last three weeks or so. We needed to come out and win this game, and we knew it would be a grinded-out game. We knew that they'd play well. Fortunately we got off to lead. Although we came close to giving it up, never did. Wasn't pretty, but we had some guys certainly step up and make some plays at key moments.
THE MODERATOR: Let's go to our student athletes for questions.
Q. Wayne, can you talk about how Aaron stepped up, especially with the absence of Keith?
WAYNE SIMIEN: Yeah, it was huge. Aaron played great. Overall it was a great collective effort from our guards, Jeff Hawkins stepped up, did some things, Darrel was able to knock some shots down, Lee was terrific on the boards. All those guys stepped up in Keith's absence, it was definitely needed.
Q. Did you get the feeling at all that being up and down lately and then to have Keith out that you really needed to do something to kind of hold it together tonight to play well to do that?
WAYNE SIMIEN: I don't think so. I think all we got to do is win. That was the main focus, you know, those games that we lost, obviously the Mizzou game left a sour taste in our mouth. But this is a new season, postseason and we definitely have to press on, you know, to new goals and new things. Absence of Keith, you know, is definitely something that we didn't want to have happen but we had to adjust accordingly.
AARON MILES: With the absence of Keith we all got to step up. We know with Keith being our second scoring option, Wayne has to get more touches. We try to do that and play off of him. They double down on him and we were able to get some open looks.
Q. Can you talk about Michael Lee and how he was able to contribute tonight; he didn't make a field goal but he did so much else out there?
AARON MILES: He did the intangibles. Our coach always talks about we need players to do that. He had 11 rebounds, I mean, as a guard, 6'2" guard having 11 rebounds, he crashed off the boards, he kept some balls alive if he didn't get them. He was great, he was terrific, I feel. Though he didn't make shots he did other things. Just because you don't make shots don't mean you don't play well. Mike showed that.
THE MODERATOR: We will take questions for Coach Self.
Q. Update on Keith for tomorrow?
COACH BILL SELF: I think Keith could probably play with his foot. I don't think he will be able to play with his stomach. He has been laid up for three days now. They have had I.V.'s in him. He got hit pretty hard, so he's still back in Lawrence, so we hope that he will be here tomorrow but I don't think he will be in a playing capacity.
Q. You talked a little bit about the impressiveness and magnitude of the streak -- (inaudible)
COACH BILL SELF: I don't think it was -- I don't really feel a ton of pressure with it, although losing to Missouri and K State back-to-back wouldn't sit well with a lot of folks I know pretty well. So I knew that we had to play well. But it wasn't play to keep the streak going, it was play to get better and set ourselves up better for next week to be quite honest with you.
Q. Bill, you talk a little bit about as a coach the intangibles guys have to do. Talk about what Michael Lee did tonight without even making a field goal?
COACH BILL SELF: Mike is one of those guys that we need Mike to play and when he's good he's really good. But he'd be the first to tell you, he's been way too inconsistent. He has some big games, the double figures and the five rebounds and the four, five assists and guard great. And he has some games where he's not a factor. With Keith out he has to be a factor. Certainly he found a way to impact the game today without making shots, and that, to me, that's a sign of good players that are able to do that. If Wayne gets enough touches and J.R. didn't shoot it great tonight, but J.R. will make shots. Those guys will probably be our to two primary options with Keith out and then Aaron stepped up, made some plays. We really didn't need Mike to make some shots. What we needed him to do is do what he did.
Q. You mentioned playing to set yourselves up for next week to play better. Did you do that? Did you accomplish that? When you get Keith back do you think it will be an added thing?
COACH BILL SELF: I think until we got into foul situations our defense was pretty good. First ten minutes our defense was terrific. And then we kind of weren't as good. Of course our offense was better because we were running off of misses; then they didn't miss. I think so there were some signs there, our zone is still not very good and that's my fault. But we did some good things out of that. But I would grade us out pretty decent tonight except for unforced errors. We had careless turnovers. We started the game off, we are up 23 to 8 or something like that, if I am not mistaken, we had three of the first possessions were turnovers and two of them were baskets. We had a chance really to play well early and turnovers kept us from doing that.
Q. Could you talk about your decision to go with Alex Galindo down the stretch during that long stretch second half?
COACH BILL SELF: With Keith being out, you know, we kind of need some offense and at least potential offense and he's the best offensive player. He has a knack for getting the ball in the basket. We give up some things, rebounding and stuff like that and we had to play zone with Alex in the game, but we thought that was better. The reason that the other big guys didn't play didn't -- wasn't having anything to do with other than the fact they played small with Cartier at the 4. They played zone and Alex is better at the zone. Even though we kind of have to piece things together, that's the one advantage of having some different pieces, that you can put some guys in there based on how the game is going.
Q. Probably recognizing they would play zone and not having Langford, that slashing ability, did you anticipate a game where you'd shoot this many three-pointers, more than half your shots?
COACH BILL SELF: I knew we would shoot a lot of 3s. I did. I didn't know it would be that many. Basically we got the ball a dub (sic) basically, but shot a 3, for the most part; which isn't a bad formula if you are able to make 40% of them; which we did. But we probably shot too many 3s. The thing that their zone did is spread and we didn't drive it. Of course Keith could have been very effective the way they spread their zone out. We played on our heals the last two minutes of the first half. Other than that -- we also got to the point we're playing not to lose and I think with that you lose a lot of aggressiveness sometimes.
Q. You played Jeff Hawkins a lot early. Can you talk about his contributions tonight and also his progress over the last couple of months?
COACH BILL SELF: With Keith out positively he's our fourth guard or our first guard off the bench, and Jeff's played well of late. Of course he played well again tonight; maybe should have played him more the second half and rested Aaron or whatever, but I am real pleased with Jeff. Jeff has played well and he's become a very good player. I think he will have a huge senior -- a big, big senior year for us. But he is going to impact this team even when Keith comes back. I feel so much more confident with him and he feels more confident to go out there and play not to make mistakes.
End of FastScripts...