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March 18, 2010

Curtis Kelly

Frank Martin

Jacob Pullen


Kansas State – 82
North Texas - 62

THE MODERATOR: We'll open with a statement from Coach Martin and questions for the students.
COACH MARTIN: Hats off to North Texas. It's hard to get a feel for teams watching them on tape sometimes, but there was a sense of toughness and just the level of competitiveness which -- with which they play that I got off tape that obviously was exactly what took place.
At the same time, real proud of our guys. I thought we really defended well on that first half. I thought we gave up a couple of offensive rebounds early in the game, but outside of that, I thought we really zoned in and defended and allowed us to get into broken floor, and then we went up there and converted and made some shots, made some plays, and that allowed us to kind of get away a little bit and I was proud of our guys.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Jacob Pullen, Curtis Kelly.

Q. Jake, talk about how you're feeling right now and just how that injury came about, if you can rewind in your mind.
JACOB PULLEN: It was a loose ball. I was trying to get the rebound, and we collided and I just took a hard fall. I'll be all right, you know. Nothing serious, just got to rest up and prepare for Saturday's game.

Q. Curtis, wondering if you could talk a little bit about how the front court played tonight. Seemed like North Texas had a nice shot at the beginning, but you guys bounced back pretty good.
CURTIS KELLY: We got in foul trouble early, and that affected our inside play a little bit. We had to rotate guys in and out, but I think we picked it up, based on doing a better job on Henriquez, he had came off the bench and had a good game. He was a big support with me and Jamar in foul trouble, and the game started to get in our hands a little bit in the second half, and we stayed out of foul trouble.

Q. Guys, was it hard to just kind of sit and wait around as that first game went into double overtime?
JACOB PULLEN: We ended up having to stretch a few times. We try to stretch as the game is winding down about the last media timeout, go do our scouting report. When it went into the first overtime, we sat around, and when it got to the second overtime, we had to stretch again to make sure everybody was loose. We were antsy and excited to get ready to play that game. I think we did a great job of staying warmed up so we can come out and be ready to play.

Q. Jacob, I think you were off the bench for a little while after the fall. Did you get treatment, or was it just to be checked out? Tell me kind of what you went through before you came back.
JACOB PULLEN: Just to be checked out, make sure everything was fine. Took an x-ray of my elbow, make sure I was all right, you know, he asked me could I go. I said yeah, you know, and Frank -- he wasn't in a rush. He wanted me to make sure I was all right before I went out there and went at it again.

Q. Which elbow?
JACOB PULLEN: I fell on both.

Q. Jacob, you guys were able to really contain Josh White, their best player, held him scoreless deep into the second half. Can you talk a little bit about the way you defended him?
JACOB PULLEN: I think Denis did a great job of keeping him uncomfortable. People don't give him credit. He's really worked hard on his defense. I think Frank has done a great job of making him and me compete against each other in practice to make us defend.
I think Denis, he just really wanted to step up his defense and did a great job contesting every shot, really keeping them off balance, trapped a few ball screens. We did different things, and we kind of kept them off guard. He wasn't able to make some shots this game. He's still a good player.

Q. Curtis, you're standing there and you see Jake take the spill like he did and the crowd goes silent, he's grabbing his back. Take me through what's running through your mind that the point.
CURTIS KELLY: I knew he was all right. Jake is tough. He had worse falls than that in practice. I seen him get up. I knew he was going to be fine. I knew it was going to take him a little while because he fell on his back a couple -- a few weeks ago, so I thought that was the problem. I thought he reinjured it, but I knew he was going to be fine. Jake is tough.
THE MODERATOR: Do we have more questions for the student athletes? Great. Thank you. Guys, you can head back.
Any questions for Coach Martin?

Q. Villanova struggled today, Vanderbilt got beat, did you have to prod this team extra to get them ready for today, or are they past that now?
COACH MARTIN: No. On the contrary, practices have been phenomenal. Our guys are zoned in, and that doesn't guarantee you're going to win, but it let's coaches kind of sleep a little better at night, knowing how zoned in your guys are.
I was a little disappointed when we built -- whatever we were up, 25, 26 and we tried to go zone to slow the game down a little bit and just get to the finish line and we allow them to go like on a big run for no reason there.
You can't do that at this time of year. But no, I was proud of our guys. I thought we came out, and I thought we guarded and defended. I thought we did what we do, and we missed some bunnies, or whatever you want to call them, there in the first, four, five, six minutes of the game, but we were attacking the way we wanted to on offense and defensively, and once we settled down and rebounded the ball, we took advantage of our front court depth.

Q. You see Jake go down just like I was talking about earlier, just talk about the resiliency of this team. You have other guys being able to step up. You've been able to avoid the dreaded "I" word most of the season. Just talk about that.
COACH MARTIN: They're great. When Jake went down, I was never worried about his hip. He's got a lot of cushion back there (laughter). I was worried about his elbow. But he said it was fine. I guess they took x-rays, and they said there was no fracture. So as soon as he saw that game get a little tight, he was screaming at me to put him back in, and like I've started to do, I listened to him.
He kind of settled us down and -- but, no, our guys have been great. Our guys have been great. Those guys come in and they compete against each other every single day. They push each other to make each other better. That's what you've got to have so you can be battle tested to be in and play the other guys.

Q. Coach, in hindsight I know you're not a person that believes much comes out of losses, but did that Iowa state game maybe get your guys' attention how fragile this can be if you don't come out and play every night?
COACH MARTIN: I don't think so. I don't think so. I mean, I don't -- I don't know how to tie one to the other. We hadn't played like that all year. Then all of a sudden, we played like that. You know -- I'm telling you, that Iowa State game the biggest thing for us. These kids have worked so hard to compete with Kansas, and when we lost at Kansas, that eliminated us from trying to achieve a goal, which is being the No. 1 seed in the Big 12, and we were kind of deflated.
But, yet, our guys came back and practiced well and -- but when we took the court, we already knew we were the No. 2 seed and kids -- you can't hide stuff from kids anymore. Back in the day, you can trick them. Because of the media and the Internet, you can't hide anything from them anymore.
Unfortunately, we went out there and didn't play well. Like I said, I didn't want to discredit Iowa State. I just didn't think we fought the way we've been fighting here the last week and change. But, no, maybe it is. I'm not intelligent enough to make that connection.

Q. Speaking of hiding stuff, did the guys know what had gone on like with the Notre Dame upset and the Villanova game being so close at being No. 2, or do you try to make sure they don't hear scores like that before you go to play?
COACH MARTIN: I wouldn't know what to tell you. We're in the locker room felt like an eternity. BYU game going into double overtime. We got up and got ready to go like three different times and had to sit back down and -- but Wendell, I don't know. I'd be lying to you if I told you they did. I know I was watching some of those games in the back there, and the more I watched those games, the more uptight I got for our game.

Q. You guys rolled in this game. It wasn't very close. But Thompson really kind of kept them around. Could you talk a little bit about what he brought to the game, maybe what gave you guys some problems?
COACH MARTIN: He's a good player. He's a good player. It's unbelievable that young man can play so many minutes and still play at such a high competitive level like he did. It's a credit to him. Because one thing we're going to do, we're going to hound people around. That didn't slow him down one minute. He played high level minutes and finished as strong as anybody.
We knew he was a good player going in. I remember watching him play in high school. We knew he could shoot it. We did a good job on him at times, and other times, especially when we went to the zone, we just lost him. He hurt us every time.
THE MODERATOR: Do we have more questions?

Q. Frank, if you would, I guess as you see it define BYU and especially Jimmer Fredette.
COACH MARTIN: Handful. I mean offensively, I told Dave Rose yesterday, I said I haven't watched them on tape as much as I needed to as of yesterday, but obviously I'll do that the rest of the day and tonight, but my initial observations is offensively, they're real good.
That doesn't mean they're below average defensively. It's just that offensively they're real good, and then Fredette is just -- he's big time. I mean, you score 45 points in a Conference Tournament game and you come back into the NCAA Tournament and stick 37 in the basket against Florida, you're doing something right, and he's a big time shooter that knows how to play.
It was funny because we're in the locker room and someone said to me, reminds me of Billy Donovan when he played at Providence. I said that's exactly right. That's exactly what it reminded me of.
THE MODERATOR: Do we have a last question for Coach Martin? Thank you, Coach.
COACH MARTIN: Thank you.

End of FastScripts

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