Oklahoma 72, St. Joseph's 64
|| Oklahoma Head Coach Jeff Capel
"First of all, I'm really proud of our team. I thought we got off to good start in the first half and especially the way we closed the half to have a 12 point lead at half time. We came out and really got after it and we were able to extend the lead.
"We knew St. Joseph's was going to make a run. They're a very good basketball team. The program has a lot of pride and they're well coached and they have good players. And they made a run, but our guys never panicked, we stepped up and made plays and all three of these guys stepped up to my left and made huge plays for us, whether it was David all night, offensively and defensively, the job he did on Calathes. Blake playing really, really well out of the double team, making some key baskets down the stretch.
"Austin running our team, I'm just really proud of our guys, and glad we have another opportunity to work together."
On his team's shooting performance tonight:
"We made shots, our offense looks a lot better when we make shots. I thought we did a good job of sharing the basketball and making shots. I feel bad for Blake and Longar, but more so Blake because he never gets to play against single coverage, he gets doubled so much. But I think his experience of having to deal with that basically all year long has really helped him. And for him to have four assists, and one turnover, I think that opened up a lot of things for our guys; same thing with Longar. He's another guy that's been doubled at times this year.
"Obviously, David stepped up and had a huge game for us. Austin was very steady for us. I thought Omar came in and really did a good job for us in running our team and getting us into stuff.
It's as good as Longar has looked in a while. Just how active he was, and playing different spots on the floor, and he was guarding Ferguson at times in the perimeter. So, we feel good about this, we're not satisfied, we have another good team coming in here on Sunday. Whichever one of these guys wins, we'll get prepared for them and be ready."
On David Godbold's role:
"David is really a sixth starter for us. Really, what I wanted was, we had no experience coming off the bench for us. When you bench a guy it's because a guy's not playing well or a guy's done something to get in trouble. We just switched our lineup to get experience to come off the bench.
Really when David has come in the game; even when he was coming off the bench for us; he played as many minutes or more minutes than anyone. Usually, when he came in he never really came back out. So, for us, we just wanted some experience. We just had only freshmen. We're have new guys coming off the bench for us and so that's why we did that.
"As we got ready for the NCAA tournament, one of the things I looked at with our team; we really have no one that has any experience in this tournament besides David, Austin Johnson, Taylor. Griffin and Longar were on teams that were in this tournament, but they didn't really play. Longar didn't really play his first two years, and so I don't know if he logged any minutes in the NCAA tournament. Maybe that freshman year against Niagara. But I think that Taylor and Austin; when they were freshmen, when they played in the NCAA tournament, I think it was five minutes, two minutes, I think each of those guys got that. And so we really didn't have any experience. David's the only guy that's played extensive minutes, and he had a good game his sophomore year Oklahoma's last time in the NCAA tournament.
"He was probably the only guy, just looking at the box score. So, we wanted to switch it up and have some experience in our starting lineup for the NCAA tournaments. The NCAA tournament experience, and he played a tremendous game. This game and our game against West Virginia this year are the two best games I've seen him play since I've been here."
On Godbold's impact on the game:
"As far as him shooting, we always talk to David about shooting the basketball, about holding your follow through, about going harder, going game speed, that's really the term that we use with him.
"And we have been really emphasizing it more with all of our guys this week. Obviously we didn't shoot the ball well in Kansas City last weekend. So I don't really think we had to tell our guys a lot, to be completely honest with you. These guys understand the magnitude of this tournament and obviously the excitement our freshmen and sophomore are never played in this tournament. And so they were excited about that. Our older guys have. So David just came out and made shots. That's the bottom line. He made shots. I don't know if it's anything specific. Maybe he's giving us too much credit. He stepped up and made shots today.
"Obviously a first guy, if you talk about a game, like the second part of your question, the first guy always is Blake. To have a game like that. The second guy would probably be Crocker, because that's the kind of game he's had for us several times this year. Especially making threes like that.
"But David stepped up and did a good job for us and we're glad someone did and I thought a lot of guys did, played really well for us, and that's the reason why we were able to get this victory. Won by like a touchdown too, right?"
On the leadership on this team:
"Well it's changed for today. But one day doesn't make a leader. David was terrific today. Longar was great today. And I think what those guys have done and at least it looks like to me just being around our team for the past few days, is that those guys have shared their experience. Especially David. That's one of the things I talked to him about and talked to our older guys is sharing your experience, both good and bad experiences that you have had playing in this tournament. Our younger guys need that. And he stepped up and played a great game."
On the quality of the Big 12 Conference:
"Absolutely. Absolutely. It's a really, really good league. And it's been a very good league all year long.
"I don't think it gets enough respect nationally. We have other teams that are very capable. You look at Nebraska, they're as good as some of these teams in this tournament.
Obviously we're really happy to be 5 of 6 in the league and we want to keep going and we're rooting for all of the guys in our league right now and hopefully we can keep advancing, all of us can."
On his satisfaction with his team's performance tonight:
"I would tell you what, I think our defense can be better. They shot 49 percent from the field. I don't know how good, I mean it was good, but I still think it can be better. And I don't want to discredit our guys, but I don't want our guys to be satisfied and I'm not satisfied. I thought we did a good job of contesting shots. We lost Ferguson too much and he made us pay just about every time.
"And I thought they hit some tough shots that Govens banked in a couple of shots and I know he didn't call bank on either one of them. But when you're in the midst of a run like that, those are the things that happen. But I think we can be better defensively, I think we will be better defensively on Sunday."
On defending Pat Calathes:
|| Senior Guard David Godbold
"I just wanted to come out and get in the shooting pocket as Coach Cline would say, he's a really good 3 point shooter, and that was kind of the first key. They told me to limit his threes, and secondly, watch out for the drives and the post man did a great job showing and trapping, and also the other guards came and rotated and helped out a lot.
"So, it was just pretty much a team effort. Couldn't do anything by myself. Just the whole team helped out, and we did a great job on him."
On coming off the bench in this game:
"It's really exciting to just be able to start and in the NCAA's. Coming out of the bench, I knew coach wanted me to just bring some leadership, some energy off the bench, and I had no problem doing that. And that's I just took pride in doing that. And today, I just wanted to come out with a lot of a lot of energy. I knew the other four guys who always bring energy. So, I wanted to make sure I played up to their level, and I think I did a good job today."
On the team stepping up when A.J. went out:
"We just kind of got a lift from Omar checking into the game. He made sure to put us in good spots to kind of execute better on offense. And that's what we did. We just knocked down shots, got it to the right people, and they were coming out aggressive at us, and they were feeling good about the game so we just had to stay aggressive and just keep executing. And that's what we did on our own."
On his night offensively:
"I think it just goes back to the how I've been practicing and the coaches, they stayed on me the last four days of just going hard, and shooting drills, and making sure that I jumped high, and made sure I kept following through on my shot. And that's what I did today. Blake and Longar they always get double teamed. They have to get respect down there so I have to be able to knock down the shot when they kick it out and that's what I did a good job of doing today."
On where this game ranks in career performances:
" I don't know about career, but I say it's a pretty good game. I think I did one of the best jobs defensively, I think. I really prided myself today on trying to stop their best player. So, I really look at that first.
"Offense comes and goes. I know there's four other guys that can step up any other day, so it was just my day today, and I'm fortunate that it happened today, but I'm always going to try to come out a hundred percent on defense. That's what I'm looking to do whoever we play next round. I want to try to stop their best player. And that's what I look to do."
On responding to St. Joe's run:
|| Freshman Forward Blake Griffin
"I think, definitely, just talking and using a lot of help on defense; they do a good job getting into the lane and finding shooters on the outside, but I think that definitely, just switching off a man and staying together and talking a lot. That definitely helped with stopping their run.
"When they got in the lane and penetrated; they do a good job of finding the open guys and attacking the rim. So, I think our biggest thing was just to talk and switch and stay together and not just run around and try to defend everyone, but go about it in a team way. But just stay together and talk was our biggest two things, probably."
On David Godbold's night offensively:
"I definitely think, like David said, these last four practices he's been playing really well. Yesterday, he brought a lot of energy to our team and really helped us yesterday through practice. And also, him being a senior, and he's been here before, and he knows what it's like, so he kind of brought some experience with us. And he just stayed ready and hit big shots for us today."
On moving on to the next round:
"It's definitely a great thing. Obviously, no one wants to go home in this tournament. And to move on, and when a lot of people were saying that we weren't supposed to win, and St. Joseph's was supposed to upset us. It just kind of gave us some fire and to win it, you know, it feels kind of even better. But you got to put it behind us and get ready for our next game."
On responding to St. Joe's run:
|| Junior Guard Austin Johnson
"We knew they were going to make a run. We just didn't know when it was going to happen. They made their run, we kept our composure, coach was in the huddle and told us we're fine, we're okay, just keep your head, keep fighting, and that's what we kept doing."
On David Godbold's night offensively"
"The coaches when we have been doing shooting, guard shooting, they have been telling Dave, hold his follow through up every time he shoots, and trust that it's going to go in. And I think he's been working hard on that. When I see Dave open, out there, I have faith in Dave, and I know that he can knock down the open shot.
"So, I'm going to try to get him a shot as much as I can. Being a senior, Dave knows that it could have been his last game, and I think that he came out and played his heart out. He didn't want it to be his last game."
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|| St. Joseph's Head Coach Phil Martelli
"Well, we offer our congratulations to Oklahoma, wish them well going forward. And the beauty of the tournament is the young guy getting 25 points, comes in averaging eight, those things kind of happen.
"Technically, it got away from us in the last 8:07 of the first half. We had 13 possessions, six turnovers, one for five from the field and one for four from the foul line and then you're working your way back uphill. We kind of felt sorry for ourselves at half time. I didn't think we came out with the proper frame of mind in the second half and they made us pay. And then we spent the rest of the game trying to get a game feel to it. Put a little game pressure on them.
"Unfortunately, for all the excitement that goes into being in the tournament, this is the reality. 32 teams go home and we're one of those teams."
On the last eight minutes of the first half:
"I think we played faster than would normally be a positive situation for us. I just think we started to go just a tad faster. And we're not a team that should play fast, we should play quick.
I think there was a little bit of a cushion that we gave them a mental cushion, in that we had it and were comfortable the way the game was being played and then when they really turned it up a notch, I don't think that we turned up our thought process as high as it should have been."
On Godbold being a sort of wild card:
"Well the guy that we had as the wild card to be honest with you was Crocker. If you study their numbers, and their wins, their third scorer has always been Crocker. We studied it enough to know that it was Crocker, we actually started the game with our post double team being off of Godbold. We didn't know that Godbold would start until 20 minutes before the game.
"I wouldn't change it. I would not change it. And in the second half, when he got going a little bit, I think that to be honest with you, again, we were feeling sorry for ourselves at the offensive end of the floor, and not really executing defensively. We obviously changed our post defense trap after he made a couple of shots, even in the first half. But he's not, I'm not saying that he's sixth, but he might have been fourth, but certainly Crocker was the guy that we had labeled as the wild card."
On if they were prepared for David Godbold:
|| Senior Forward Rob Ferguson
"Well, the way we prepared, we prepared for like to guard everybody. And it was unexpected, but we were also prepared for it. And it just kind of got out of hand."
On Oklahoma's size and strength:
"Well, we played against many different types of front courts, but that was obviously the biggest and the strongest that we played against. And it was a challenge. I think for the most part that we stepped up to it. But like Ahmad said, we, at the end, we lost the game."
On his offensive performance tonight:
"Well that was just the fact that I just didn't want to go home today. The way we practiced the past couple of days, I felt like that we couldn't lose and like my confidence was high and I just felt like my whole team had my back. And that's it."
On Oklahoma's size and strength up front:
|| Junior Forward Ahmad Nivins
"Oklahoma has a really talented front court. And the fact that they have been, they have seen every kind of double team and every kind of trap in the post helped them a lot in this game. But we just wanted to attack them and try to keep them off balance. But they it seemed as if they were more relaxed and we just had to fight uphill for the rest of the game and we didn't come home with a win."
On Oklahoma's defense:
"I think we kind of dug a hole for ourselves offensively. And just plays that we normally can execute, we didn't execute. I think that was a huge momentum swing. Especially at the end of the half. And I think that's why it got as ugly as it did."