UK Men's Basketball

Here’s what Bill Self had to say after his Jayhawks lost at Kentucky

Kansas Coach Bill Self and Kentucky Coach John Calipari talked before Saturday night’s game in Rupp Arena.
Kansas Coach Bill Self and Kentucky Coach John Calipari talked before Saturday night’s game in Rupp Arena. aslitz@herald-leader.com

Here’s everything Kansas head coach Bill Self had to say after the Jayhawks lost 71-63 to Kentucky on Saturday night:

On if Dedric Lawson was worn out tonight …

“I think so. Obviously, their bigs played very well. Even Nick (Richards) didn’t play a lot, but he blocks five shots and totally impacted the game. Reid (Travis) and PJ (Washington) were the dominant players and certainly, it was two-against-one in there a lot. We’re playing 6-4 at the other spot. We actually did a pretty good job in the first half, I thought, of neutralizing them to an extent, even though Reid (Travis) had a good first half. I think we just wore our guy out.”

On their transition defense …

“I thought pretty good. The biggest thing about our transition defense, it was sometimes your defense doesn’t get a chance if the offense screws it up to the point where you can’t. They always have numbers coming at you. I didn’t think it was awful, but the worst thing we did, we gave them like three and-ones in transition. You just gave them three points. If you’re going to foul, foul. We obviously didn’t do that. “

On loss of sets driving the ball and if it slowed the offense down …

“They didn’t pressure us. They are good defensively. I thought (Tyler) Herro is really an underrated defender in my eyes, from what I saw. (Ashton) Hagans controlled the game in that spot, but they really didn’t pressure us, and they really didn’t have to, because we didn’t really stretch it. Then, when we do get in there tight, you’ve got to score over a lot of length in the big guys. We didn’t do as good a job with that as we should have. But, on the flip side, usually if you make nine (three-pointers) for us, I’m thinking we can live with that. You look at it from the score – you can’t ever do this, I’m not saying this was the difference in the game, or it may have looked like we played well – but from the field, we actually competed with them pretty good. We just didn’t get to the free-throw line, and we fouled so much because they controlled the glass, and that was the difference in the game.”

On foul trouble …

“I don’t think it impacted the game. The thing about it is the two times that we had took him out though, we didn’t get the ball across half court because (Ashton) Hagans stole it from somebody. They kind of smelled blood a little bit, or he did, whenever we didn’t have our primary handler in the game.”

On how tough it is for Dedric (Lawson) to have multiple guys to deal with …

“It’s tough. Dedric (Lawson) played well tonight. He played well, he didn’t make a lot of shots, but there’s a reason why he didn’t. We’re obviously very light in the butt to put it mildly, in going in as big, heavy bodies and men. You’re going against a fifth-year guy, and PJ (Washington) is beyond his years physically, and Nick (Richards) is, as well. Of course, EJ (Montgomery) is going to be terrific. Basically, we’ve got one guy ready to go against that, and that’s an awful lot to ask from one guy.”

On what he saw of (Tyler) Herro’s defense …

“I thought he did a good job on (Lagerald) Vick, really good job. I thought he denied him the ball. We tried to fake-screen him a few times and do some different things, and he always seemed to get through it. I think he’s a very active, very good player. When I say underrated, he may be touted as being great defensively. I don’t know, I’m not here. I don’t know if you guys cover him closely and know that. But, the reality of it is, from my vantage point, he looked that role tonight.”

On what he saw from Marcus (Garrett) tonight …

“He got to the basket two or three times early, and tried to score late and they blocked his shot. We’re not going to play against a lot of teams – that’s one thing about our league. Our league has some length, but they don’t have length like (Nick) Richards, at least since all the big guys in our league seem like they are getting hurt. He didn’t have his best game, but still, we’ve got to live with that. If we’re going to play Marcus (Garrett), we’ve got to live with him trying to score over length from three or four feet, and it just didn’t happen tonight.”

On whether foul trouble affected Marcus (Garrett)’s defense …

“No, I don’t think so. I don’t even think that registered with him.”

On this loss not being the end of the world …

“It’s not. Cal, I’m sure, would tell his team that this doesn’t really mean anything. I don’t know who they play on Tuesday, but that’s actually a big game. Whoever you play on Tuesday, or Monday, or whoever you’re playing – for us, it’s Tuesday – we can’t fret about this. Now, we came here to win, don’t get me wrong. But, it’s not like it’s the end of the Earth. You should still accomplish what our team goals are, and certainly losing today doesn’t help with that, but it doesn’t destroy it by any stretch.”

On the atmosphere tonight …

“It was good. It’s good. It’s no Allen Fieldhouse, but it’s good. The reality of it is, it’s a terrific atmosphere, and I said before the game, this is why you go to Kentucky and go to Kansas. Of course, you guys play in a bunch of huge games, as well. It’s terrific, but I didn’t think it had anything to do with our play tonight. I thought we actually handled the atmosphere pretty good. In the second half, there was about a three- or four-minute stretch where it got away from us, but for the most part, that isn’t what affected us as much as their length did.”

On appreciating how this game is good for college basketball …

“I can appreciate how good it is for the Big 12 and the SEC leagues as wholes. I don’t even know who won the (Big 12/SEC Challenge). I have no idea who won the other games. I would say that sometimes, and Cal goes through this, I would think, sometimes Kentucky has to do things they may not want to do, but it’s good for the whole. I think that’s kind of where we are too. It’s good for the whole. You’ve got to do this for your respective leagues. Even though I wish it could happen in December, but now, with so many league games, you can’t do that. There are no time slots with bowl games and all that stuff. It needs to be covered. One day, on ESPN, it was an infomercial for both leagues, so it is positive.”

On if the team feels improved …

“I hope so. I don’t know right now off the top of my head. Seeing (Quentin Grimes) make some shots obviously is a bonus. Ochai (Agbaji) is going to be a really good player. He’s played five games now and was rated 353 last year, and now we need him to play well to win at Rupp. That’s one thing you ask for the kid. I don’t know if there’s anything definite that will definitely make us better.”

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