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November 21, 2012
NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK
Kansas State Â– 66
Delaware Â– 63
THE MODERATOR:Â We have Will Spradling and Angel Rodriguez and Coach Weber.
Coach, make an opening statement.
COACH WEBER:Â Obviously, it's a good win.Â You have a chance to play in the championship game of the NIT, one of the most prestigious tournaments around, and especially pre‑season.Â For us it's a big step.
We did not play pretty.Â I mean, that was pretty obvious.Â It had been so good for us at home and we had defended so well, made shots, and the games came easy.Â Now it didn't come quite as easy.Â We missed a lot of easy shots, made some mistakes defensively.
Shane Southwell came in, made a couple big plays.Â Martavious Irving came in, made a big basket, Adrian Diaz came off the bench.Â I think our depth was the big key in the game.Â Obviously, Will's free throws were huge, then Angel's consistency.
Hopefully you get through one of those games, and tomorrow we come back and play a little more relaxed, just play the game of basketball the way we believe we can play.
THE MODERATOR:Â Questions for the players, please.
Q.Â Will, talk about going to the line for those four free throws.Â Did you feel any pressure knowing one miss could have opened the door?
WILL SPRADLING:Â I mean, I've been in that situation before plenty of times.Â You're a little nervous when you go out there, but it's something you go up there every day.Â I put up at least 50 free throws a day.Â It was something I'm used to and was confident about going into.
Q.Â Angel, did you know a change, was there a strategic change when 44 went out from Delaware?Â Did you feel like things opened up more in the middle?
ANGEL RODRIGUEZ:Â No.Â Honestly I don't even know what you're talking about.Â When he cramped?Â If it affected them or not?Â I can't tell you.Â I just know we were ready to play.Â We were fortunate enough to make a run when he went out of the game.
Q.Â Will, can you talk about the importance of such a tough game and the opponent that you'll probably have coming up so early in the season.Â How much of a test is it for you in general and for you in particular?
WILL SPRADLING:Â We haven't had a real close game yet.Â We haven't been in a situation where we had to know who that five was that can finish a game, be in there at a close game, can handle the pressure.
This was a good thing for us.Â We're going to be playing a tough team on Friday whoever wins.Â Most likely it's going to be a tight game.
Q.Â Will, how valuable was it to have so many different guys play so many minutes the first four games?
WILL SPRADLING:Â You could easily tell that their players were really getting worn down tonight.Â You could tell that by cramping.Â That's something you normally don't see.Â They had to play so many minutes, that was something that happened.
We kind of took that to our advantage, too.
Q.Â Will, coming into this game, both teams got off to a little bit of a sloppy start.Â Could you tell there was a little bit of a nerve factor being under the bright lights at Madison Square Garden?
WILL SPRADLING:Â Yeah, I mean, definitely.Â We didn't shoot the ball well at all to start the game.Â We were missing layups.Â That is something we normally will make.Â You could tell that we were nervous.
Once we settled down, we started playing.Â We really kind of put it on our defense tonight and we did a pretty good job of that.
Q.Â Angel, what was it like for you and the team to get in there and know it was a close game after you haven't had many of those?Â Was the adrenaline pumping for you?
ANGEL RODRIGUEZ:Â Yeah, definitely.Â Coach told us at the end of the game before we came here that we needed a close game.Â The games we had at home weren't that hard.Â This is what we came for.Â We came to compete and prove ourselves.
We're fortunate enough to get this W and we're ready to play whoever is going to win out there right now.
Q.Â Angel, you're playing in what is Deron Williams' hometown.Â Can you talk about the call he made to you, what was that like in the off‑season?
ANGEL RODRIGUEZ:Â What can I tell you?Â He's somebody I look up to.Â It meant a lot for him to call me.Â I just wish we were friends or something, more than just a call (laughter).
No, it means a lot.Â Definitely we're privileged to be playing in Madison Square Garden.Â We came here to prove a point, me and my teammates and our coaching staff.
Like I said, we're just ready to play on Friday.
THE MODERATOR:Â Questions for coach.
Q.Â Coach, could you expand on Will's play.Â Didn't look like he made a bad decision with the ball, almost like it was an extension of the coaching staff.
COACH WEBER:Â I think that's a great way of putting it.Â He is probably of all the guys to accept our system and understand it, he knows things, he understands things, feels comfortable.Â Seven assists, no turnovers.Â We let him play some point, let him play some two, let him play point from the two guard.Â We let him make the post seeds.Â We can use him a lot of ways.Â You want him at the free‑throw line at the end.Â There's no doubt about it.Â He has played well all along, all in practice.Â As I said, probably the best of anybody at understanding what we want.
Slowly but surely other guys are doing that.Â A couple guys, they were a little nervous tonight.Â A couple shots didn't go down.Â Now you force, you short‑arm some things.Â Hopefully just got through this thing and we can play a little better.
This does not discredit Delaware.Â I want to say that.Â They're a great ballclub.Â Monte talked about how tough they were, and they definitely are tough.Â Then Saddler, the plays he made down the stretch were big‑time.Â You have Rodney McGruder guarding you, as good a defender for anybody that size.
Give credit to Delaware for pushing us, but at the same time our guys made enough plays, especially that run.
Q.Â Considering how fluid the four spot has been for you guys, how happy were you with Thomas Gipson and D.J. Johnson's production?
COACH WEBER:Â All our big guys, we have a lot of depth there.Â When we talked about the guy cramping, we can go a lot of different ways.Â Each guy gives you something different.
Gipson is the wide body.Â We started going inside to him.Â He gave us some easy baskets.
Jordan did not play well.Â He's going to play well.Â He's done it in the past.Â Probably a little nervous.Â Thinking too much.Â Adrian gives you that long, athletic guy that can move.Â He got some tip‑ins, some big baskets for us.
And then you can play small ball when Nino was in.Â It's a different look.
D.J. for a freshman, there's no doubt he played a little nervous tonight.Â But he's been so good for us.Â He's just such a physical presence, and athlete.
I hope they give us a lot of different looks and it's tough for people to deal with.
Q.Â Friday's game will be your first one against a BCS caliber opponent.Â What do you think you can prove there?
COACH WEBER:Â I think it's great for our guys.Â When we got to K State, we kind of had to scramble with the schedule.Â We knew Florida was on there, at George Washington.Â One of our big goals obviously was to get here so we'd get some quality opponents, then we put Gonzaga into the mix.Â The kids talked about it.Â If you want to be good, you have to play good teams and learn.
You're going to play good teams in the Big 12, there's no doubt about it.
I'm not sure for me, or just for the program, our kids, to play against top competition, it's a valuable tool.Â Hopefully we'll play a little more relaxed, keep playing hard, do the things we've done all year, and we'll see what happens.
Q.Â You missed some easy opportunities in the paint tonight.Â Would you attribute that to your team as defense?
COACH WEBER:Â Hagins obviously had a pretty big night.Â Double‑double.Â He had a double‑double at halftime.Â He's big, he walls up.Â When we get it to our big, the other big would come over.Â We call it wall.Â They get big and make you make shots over it.Â I think our guys rushed some things.Â Combination of a little bit of nerves.Â Thomas Gipson, the second half, really took his time.Â He let the defense kind of dictate where he went, instead of just kind of getting it and throwing it up there and hoping it goes in.
So, again, credit to them.Â But I think a little bit of us being a little jittery, just not calm, letting things happen as we have at home.Â That's why you go on the road.Â You need these games to get a feel of this.
Q.Â Bruce, this is a new team to you, but you used a lot of combinations the first four games.Â I'm wondering how much confidence that gave you to do it again in this game?
COACH WEBER:Â Well, we made the run when our seniors weren't in the game.Â That's a positive thing for us.Â But at the same time, we need the seniors to play well.
Rod wants to do so well, I think he almost thinks too much, worries too much.Â Just relax, come off the screen, shoot the open shot, let the game come to you.Â I know that's going to happen.Â I asked him at halftime, You're a good player, be a good player.Â He will.Â There's no doubt about it.
We talked about defense being part of our brand.Â We've talked about playing harder than anybody else as another part of it.Â We've talked about rebounding.Â We're a pretty good rebounding team.
We almost get 20 offensive rebounds.Â I know they're not huge, but they had some size and are a pretty good ballclub.
The thing I told them, I want depth to be part of our brand.Â If we can do that, that's going to really add to an opponent trying to figure out who's in there.Â Even though Omari Lawrence didn't get a lot of minutes tonight, I think he can be a key for us and do a great job defensively.
Q.Â Where do you think your guys are, especially the upperclassmen, from what they were asked to do the past few years under Frank to what you want them to do in your program?
COACH WEBER:Â I think defensively they're right on target.Â We've been pretty good defensively.Â Had a couple slip‑ups tonight maybe.Â We knew it was going to be one‑on‑one basketball.Â We took them out of their sets.Â They made some tough shots.Â Obviously Saddler really did.
Offensively they're trying to figure out.Â I think if we get through Friday night, we only have two games in a three‑week period.Â Now we'll get back to practice and hopefully get a little more fluid offensively.
We put a lot of time, we told our guys, We can win early if we defend, play hard and rebound.Â So far it's been a pretty good combination.
THE MODERATOR:Â Thank you.
COACH WEBER:Â Thank you.Â Happy Thanksgiving.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports