March 12, 2005
KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI
COACH EDDIE SUTTON: The two games we have had with Kansas, I have coached a long time, they are two of the best, two teams really played hard with a lot of intensity. Great defense yet there weren't that many turnovers. The thing we have when we play Kansas, there's a lot of respect for each other and there's no trash-talking. That's the way the game used to be played, that's the way it ought to be played. When you play a game like that, win or lose, you can walk away and say, boy, that was a great college basketball game. Our team has not been playing that well, but they certainly did today. When you only turn the ball over four times or five times, turn over four times in the first half, because Kansas plays excellent defense and our guys really rose up today and competed and I have had a lot of disappointment on my birthday, but today is one I will never forget. 69 years old today and that was a great present for these guys to play like they did.
THE MODERATOR: Let's go to questions now for our three student athletes.
Q. John and Joey, would both of you kind of amplify on Coach Sutton's comment as to how important this was for your guys confidence going into the NCAA tournament to win a game like this?
JOHN LUCAS: He told us from the jump we need to come out with a lot more energy. We was kind of flat yesterday in the Colorado game and they jumped out on us. So our energy was there, Kansas started off great. You couldn't ask for more from those players to score like that. Coach said we needed to get this win, just so we get our confidence back and we have the momentum going into the tournament also helped us out when the NCAA for the seedings because we still want to stay close to home.
JOEY GRAHAM: This is pretty much what college basketball is about, if you can't get up for a game like this, the atmosphere and all the fans and excitement of the game, I think it's one of best college basketball games in the country. Just coming out and being in this environment we thank the Lord every day for being able to come out here.
Q. Joey, talk about your ability to get the free throw; was that focus?
JOEY GRAHAM: Coach has been on me last couple of weeks about being aggressive and shooting more free throws because I think coach said before the game that me and John were 112 for 117 for the conference, so, when he said that that just told me I got to stay aggressive, get to the free-throw line as many times as possible, just knock my free throws down.
COACH EDDIE SUTTON: Coach Sutton also told him the team that got to the line the most is going to win the game.
JOEY GRAHAM: He definitely told us that too.
Q. You had a lot of fans here tonight. Obviously Kansas 20 miles away is going to have their share. Oklahoma State had a lot as well. With Oklahoma losing, you guys winning, going to Oklahoma City, how big a deal would that be for you guys to have that many fans here?
JOHN LUCAS: Great. Our fans has been supporting us all year around. To see them take the journey with us every time when we lose like when we lost felt like we let our fans down because they support us, they camp out a week and a half before the game even is ready to kick off. That just shows you how much they love their sports and that goes for all sports at Oklahoma State University. Our fans stuck through everything with us. For us to go out there and play our hearts out it is almost kind of like saying thank you for them.
COACH EDDIE SUTTON: Somebody at Oklahoma City told me the other day that Oklahoma State had bought all the tickets at the Ford Center, I hope that's true.
JOEY GRAHAM: Ditto what John said. The fans are great. I won't trade the fans for anything in the world. They support us everywhere we went just like they did last year on our NCAA road, they were everywhere. I think we had the most fans pretty much everywhere we went in the tournament last year and they are diehard fans. I think they are going to stick with us 'til the end.
JAMESON CURRY: I agree with that. Also our fans I think are the best six men in the nation coming from like Gallagher is a small gym, it's so compact and they are travelling with us all the way to Kansas City. Just shows how much respect and love they got for us and we got the same for them.
Q. Do these games get any easier the more you play? Were you any more relaxed than you were two years ago at Lawrence?
JAMESON CURRY: I am not going to say they get more easier but I am learning the game as the games continue to go on and having a great mentor like Coach Sutton and being around six seniors helps me out a lot. I am very appreciative of it.
Q. Do you guys feel you have outlasted Kansas and Oklahoma; do you deserve that spot in Oklahoma City?
JAMESON CURRY: Kansas is a great team. We leave that up to the committee to choose. That we know we both work hard, whatever they choose.
COACH EDDIE SUTTON: I would be disappointed if we don't get to go to Oklahoma City. We have been east 11 out of 12 times. So I don't want them to show favoritism but I think we earned the right to go to Oklahoma City by winning this afternoon.
Q. Talk about what you guys were you looking for, anything special on that last shot?
JOHN LUCAS: We knew that I think when they ran the first play, when we hit the shot, he came off the double on the baseline and we knew it was going to go right back to him because he had his momentum. He started to get his confidence back on his shooting. So coach decided to -- because they were switching so we just switched at the guard and Daniel being taller than me and having more arm length, might challenge his shot a little bit more. So it worked. And me and Joey just made sure we boxed our men out so nobody can get the rebound back.
COACH EDDIE SUTTON: Kansas had some big time shots there at the end. They were challenged shots. I thought that last one was in.
THE MODERATOR: Questions now for coach.
Q. Last night similar situation up three. Last second you chose to foul Colorado; did you think about doing it again today?
COACH EDDIE SUTTON: We thought about it, but they got the big guy down there. I was afraid that they'd hit the first one and miss the second one and Simien would jump up and hit a shot and we would foul him. That's debatable. Coaches debate that all the time when you are 3-up the last 10 seconds whether you shoot foul or not. That's the first time we had done that for a long time last night we played Colorado.
Q. Talk about how much better Joey is when he gets to the free-throw line and is aggressive like that?
COACH EDDIE SUTTON: Our staff has been on Joey. I think I told some of you the first seven games in conference play he was 45 out of 47 at the line. In the last part of the season he was 10 out of 12. What that shows is you're passive, you are not driving the ball and he's such a great free throw shooter and even until tonight he really hadn't been getting to the line as of much as we'd like. When he drives the ball he's going to get fouled because he's so strong and he has got the athletic ability and a lot of times he's going to get fouled and he's such a great free throw shooter, so we have encouraged that encouraged that, but sometimes even tonight, and he played a whale of a game, but he only gets one rebound. So it shows up there too. He's not rebounding the ball like he needs to for us to continue to win.
Q. How different is Kansas without Langford?
COACH EDDIE SUTTON: I think they are still plenty good. I thought those players that came in, Miles is certainly such a great point guard, but I thought Lee and Hawkins and Galindo, I thought those guys they are still good players but there's no doubt if you don't have Langford, they can't be quite as good. He's a hell of a player.
Q. Joey gets three fouls there in the first 16, 17 minutes how big was that, he didn't get the fourth?
COACH EDDIE SUTTON: You have to be a little more careful when you pick up three fouls. That third foul you didn't see the whole play and he did foul, but he was being fouled all the way down the court and I think John just saw what he did, he kind of shoved the guy off of him. But you get three fouls on you it takes away some of your aggressiveness.
Q. Seemed like Joey, seemed like sometimes you went through him more today; was that something you tried to do?
COACH EDDIE SUTTON: Well, we felt that if we get the ball to Joey on the high post area down on the low post, if Kansas didn't come and give support and help that he was going to beat the people that were covering him because I didn't think to put Simien on him. I thought that he would be a little bit more clever and not to take anything away from Moody or any of their other big guys, that's what we tried to do, get the ball to the high post where he can drive or get it down to the low block. If Kansas didn't come with another player I thought we could take advantage of that. I thought there were some other guys on our team really played well. I thought that Crawford did a tremendous job. I mean, Simien gets 30 points but I thought Crawford really did a nice job on him. And the other guy I point out that he doesn't get as much praise as he needs to is Bobik. I thought he hit some big shots for us and I thought he defended well.
End of FastScripts...