Oklahoma Postgame Quotes

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma

Feb. 23, 2009

OKLAHOMA QUOTES

Oklahoma Head Coach Jeff Capel

Opening comment:
“The first thing I want to do is thank our crowd. I thought they were absolutely incredible all night. They gave us everything they had. I want to congratulate Kansas; they are a really good basketball team. They have enough experience at the two most important spots. They have the best point guard in the league with (Sherron) Collins and he showed that tonight. I think they have one of the best big guys in the league with (Cole) Aldrich and he was terrific tonight as well.

“I thought we did some good things. I was disappointed for awhile in our effort, in the way we started the second half. I finally got it right in getting some guys out of there and getting some guys in who wanted to play and compete at a high level, the level we needed to play. I’m sorry I didn’t figure that out quicker. Maybe it would have given us a better chance. I am really proud of that five that competed down the stretch when were down 20 and got us back to within three. And then Collins made some big-time baskets for them. Again, we had a chance, came up short and it is disappointing, but we have to be able to move on to the next play and getter ready for the weekend.”

On how his team is handling two straight losses and the absence of Blake Griffin:
“I still feel good. We can be okay, we just have to get back together. One of the things when you haven’t lost as much is that losing is difficult. It is easy to be together when everything is good and you are winning. We were certainly that way against Texas and the first little bit of adversity we had without Blake.”

On being up 14 points 10 minutes into the game:
“We were getting stops. That is something we have talked about as a basketball team all year. When we get stops and we rebound, that enables us to get out in transition and get easy baskets. One of the things without having Blake today is that going in, same as the second half versus Texas, we didn’t have anyone to throw it into to get something easy. Everything we did we had to really work for unless we were able to get stops and get out in transition.”

On the rest of the season:
“When we are full strength we are as good as anyone in the country. We played 60 minutes without our leading scorer, leading rebounder, leading field goal percentage guy in the conference, our leader in blocked shots and a guy that is a huge part of our offense. When we get everyone back I think we will be okay. These are just two bumps in the road for us.”

Freshman Guard Willie Warren

On the defensive battle with KU guard Sherron Collins:
“Down the stretch it all came down to who was making plays. I was just trying to make plays to put my team in position to win the game. Sherron was trying to make plays to keep them ahead, and he obviously made more plays than me because his team was able to win.”

On the back-to-back losses:
“I feel like everything happens for a reason. Blake (Griffin) came back last year from an ACL tear in less than a week. With him being out it puts us in a better situation to become more of a team and find ourselves without him. It shows us what we will have to do if he gets in foul trouble early in a game because he is not always going to be there. In tough situations it will be great to have him back and get that huge bonus for our team, but adding him to what we have now will make us a better team down the stretch. We will be tougher to beat.”

On how Griffin’s absence affects the Sooners’ guard play:
“It changed a lot. We have a lot of plays that we run for Blake. It stopped us from getting to the foul line too, because he draws a lot of fouls. Maybe with him in the game (Cole) Aldrich gets in foul trouble early. We had to change to a lot of ball screens. We had to use our guard ability to make plays and take Aldrich out from under the basket where he can’t block shots.”

Senior Forward Taylor Griffin

On the reaction of the team when they found out Blake Griffin was not playing:
“There was a sense of we can do this without him. I still believe we could have won that game. Blake is a great player. I think there is a reason we have been ranked so high in the polls all season. We have guys that can play ball besides him. We were trying to use this game as an opportunity to go out and show that. Unfortunately, we made some mistakes early on and throughout the game. Kansas played a great game.”

On the areas the team needs to improve outside of getting Blake Griffin back:
“I think at times, especially in the second half or during that stretch, we showed that we could still play with almost any team in the country. Kansas is a very good team and the way we fought back there in the second half showed a lot. We made a lot of stupid mistakes that showed our immaturity or we just didn’t want it bad enough. Two losses is disappointing, but you have to see some good out of this. It kind of showed us some of the things we need to work on, on both sides of the ball. Again, it will be great to get Blake (Griffin) back and move on from these two losses.”


KANSAS QUOTES

Kansas Head Coach Bill Self

On the team getting to this point:
“It says a lot about the players. They’ve gotten a lot better. We weren’t very good looking back to Canada. I didn’t know how many games we could even win in the league. They’ve worked hard and gotten better. Let’s call it like it is, though. We caught an unbelievable break tonight with Blake (Griffin) being out. He impacts the game in such a way that it certainly would have changed a lot of things. We wish he would’ve played, but this was a great win.”

On the play of Sherron Collins toward the end of the game:
“I told him it was his game. I hated seeing it at the time, but how much fun was it seeing him and Willie (Warren) go at each other there for a stretch? He was great. It was the best game Tyshawn (Taylor) has played in college. I’m really happy and pleased. I hope we get a chance to play OU again. I would like our guys to have the opportunity to play against the best player in the country.”

On how Oklahoma played without Blake Griffin:
“I thought they’d be good early because they play with unbelievable energy. I think they rallied around Blake (Griffin) not playing. We banked a couple in and we were lucky to even be down by 14 points. I expected OU to play very hard and play well but they kind of got out of rhythm there for a while and we were able to do a better job inside.”

Kansas Junior Guard Sherron Collins

On withstanding Oklahoma’s comeback run:
“We knew they had another run in them. I think we did a great job of keeping our poise. This is one of the toughest road games we’ve had to play. We had the momentum coming into the half but the pressure got to us in the second half. The main thing today was the coaches. They kept us positive. The huddle was positive but we knew they were going to make a run and I think we did a good job.”

On guarding Oklahoma’s guards:
“I think halfway through the first half when we started coming back, that’s when we started guarding them. They played terrific early and we had to take it to them late. In the second half we were just able to get some shots off of their misses.”

On moving forward with the rest of the season:
“We feel pretty good. We still have a tough three games left and anything can happen in the Big 12. Anybody can be beaten. We control our own destiny but it’s not a given yet. We still have to go make it happen. It should be a test for us to get better.”

Kansas Sophomore Center Cole Aldrich:

On Blake Griffin not playing:
“We took it as if he was going to play the whole time. It wasn’t until a couple hours before the game that we knew he wasn’t going to play. We had to make sure that if he was going to play we were prepared.”

On talking to Blake Griffin after the game:
“I’ve known Blake for a while and he’s great. I wish I had the opportunity to play against him tonight. I hope he gets well and I wish those guys the best of luck because they have a heck of a team.”

On if the win should have an asterisk because of Blake Griffin’s absence:
“With or without Blake, they are a great team and they showed it tonight. Blake definitely would have helped them a lot if they would’ve had him but that’s how the ball bounces once in a while. You get an unfortunate injury like that and you have to go with it.”

 

 

RELATED