Dec. 17, 2011
Oklahoma Head Coach Lon Kruger
On the game:
"Good game, a really good game. Obviously, you feel good about winning it, but I thought Houston was terrific. Coach (James) Dickey's team played really well. The game didn't have much of a margin, either way, but they got a lead in the second half. At that point, I really felt good about the responses of the guys, and defensively, they turned it up a little bit; created some offense, strong defense, then (Steven) Pledger was terrific all night long. Not only did he score, but he rebounded and we kind of played off of him a lot. He was fantastic. The guys did a good job. It was a tough win. It was a good way to learn."
On what OU did to get back in the game:
"We didn't change what we were doing, I just thought our activity was a little better. It's hard to do that against a good team, and Houston's a good team. I thought that we created a bucket or two and had good stops. I still thought we could've rebounded better and kept them off the offensive boards, but we still had some good stops at critical times."
On the game down the stretch:
"I thought our possessions in the last three minutes, both defensively and offensively were really good. We got the shots we were looking for, got to the free throw line a few times, and kept them to one shot. I thought the quality of possessions there late was a real critical part."
Junior Guard Steven Pledger
On if he was "feeling it":
"A little bit. Not that much. I just wanted to win, to be honest. Today it meant scoring and rebounding."
On his 31-point night:
"It's just going through the offense. I know I can score off our offense and I give the credit to my teammates for getting me open."
Junior Guard Sam Grooms
On Steven Pledger:
"Overall it was a great night for him. I think he was very much into it. He found open spots in the flow of our offense and that allowed him to get to the sweet spots. He made shots tonight. He did a lot of things out of the ordinary. I was amazed for a while there, like, 'Wow, that's my teammate playing right there.' I'm just excited for him. I'm happy for him. He played well."
On winning a close game:
"I think it's really good for us. It showed a mental side. Adversity tells a lot about teams. We were down nine at one point in time and, I think it was a timeout when Coach asked us, 'How are we going to respond?' I think that was the best thing for us. It's not good to win by 20 every night. I think that when you have games that are close it shows a lot about teams. It tells a lot about chemistry, how well we play together, how much we trust each other and the confidence we have in what we're doing."
Junior Forward Andrew Fitzgerald
On Steven Pledger:
"It was a great performance by Steve. I remember last year up at Iowa State he had 38. Steve is an excellent player. He doesn't just shoot 3s. He's an all-around good player and I'm glad to have him as a teammate."
Houston Head Coach James Dickey:
On Oklahoma's Steven Pledger:
"He's a great player. The thing that's impressive (is) he gets 31 points and does it on 13 attempts; 7 of 7 at the free throw line. He makes it look effortless sometimes. He's just smooth, very unselfish, smart, strong. He's a terrific player. Coach (Lon) Kruger and his staff have done a terrific job with him and his teammates know how to find him."
On losing another close game:
"Well, we've just got to get better. We had a nine-point lead. We knew they were gonna make a run at us. They came out and tried to smash us in the mouth and (did) a good job. We have a possession to go up double figures and we turn it over 3 straight times. They really responded, drove the ball hard, played physical and we didn't respond. Those are areas we need to get better in."
On Oklahoma's rotation:
"I'm sure one of the things they're concerned about is depth as they get into conference play. But right now, they're playing great position defense, they're not getting in foul trouble, they're playing very cerebral. They're playing physical at the same time, they're getting to the free throw line. They're an outstanding rebounding team. I just think they're very well coached and I think Pledger is
On Houston as they get closer to conference play:
"We've just got to get better. This whole deal about playing close, you can't fall into that. You've got to make plays when the game's on the line, go get a rebound, hit a shot, make a play. That's where we've got to continue to work. The thing we've got to do is understand that we've got to get better. We've got to guard better. I mean 79 points?. Somebody's got to take it upon themselves that they're not going to let Pledger just get everything he wants. We've got to get better in terms of a defensive stopper and we've got to get better as far as team defense because we can't give up that many points."
On Oklahoma hiring Lon Kruger as head coach:
"I thought it was a terrific hire. I saw him out in the hallway and I said hello to him. I think it was a great hire. I think that he's proven that he's a terrific coach, a quality gentleman, a great basketball mind. He's won everywhere he's been."