Game Talk: Arizona 91, Kansas 74

LAWRENCE, Kan. - It happened. No. 6 Kansas jumped out to an early 20-point lead in the first half and held a 13-point edge at halftime before the Wildcats shifted into high gear in the second half. Facing such a huge deficit, it's nothing short of amazing to think that this team could come back and win going away. To realize they did it in one of the toughest places to play is even more amazing. After the game, Coach Lute Olson and the players had plenty to say about the Wildcats 91-74 win.

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Lute Olson
"(In the second half) our shots were going in and theirs weren't. But we also hit the boards and took care of the ball, so we didn't end up with such of a negative possession as we did in the first half."

On the play of Salim Stoudamire this year against Kansas compared to last year
"Well, he's a great shooter. A year ago he went 2-19 against Kansas. There's a perfect example, if you knock down shots it's a different game last year. If he didn't hit those shots today it would have been a different game too.
He shot the ball and played hard. I benched him on Wednesday and it was probably the best thing that happened to him the way he played in the last 15 minutes of that game. I'm not interested in excuses, I'm interested in performance and I think I probably got my point across."

What did you tell the team at halftime?
"I told them to make shots and get their butts on the boards and come hard to the basketball because Kansas does a great job of denying passes. The three biggest things in the second half are we hit shots, we rebounded and we took much better care of the ball." On the Wildcats' team depth
"Our depth is certainly a key and it's been key all year long. Unfortunately with Roy (Williams) and (Wayne) Simien out that's a huge loss for them. I think when you play at Colorado at that altitude on a Wednesday and lose a disappointing game they came out and really got after us in the first half. But I do think we probably we tired them."

On the loss of Wayne Simien to Kansas
"I don't have to tell that. Simien is so important to Roy's team. But you have to play and that's what we've done and we've learned from it. That's what you have to do."

Is this how a No. 1 team has to play on the road?
"When we play as well as we played in the second half, yes, but the No. 1 team was not on the floor in the first half. Or Kansas was the No. 1 team. But I like our toughness and togetherness. A perfect example is at the (free throw) line. We've been shooting miserably and today we stepped up and knocked down 22 of 26 for 85 percent. That's mental toughness when that happens. "

On the 1-3-1 zone
"We played nothing but zone in the second half. The first half Kansas did a great job. We didn't rotate or switch and take away lobs from the outside and we didn't get to the defensive glass. But in the second half it was a case of we were going out there and doing a better job."

On putting Salim at the point of 1-3-1 in the second half
"What we did is we put him out there so we could put (Rick Anderson and Luke Walton) on the wings because we were getting hurt on the boards and on the outside lobs in the first half. Jason was on the baseline and he did a better job. He was more active in the second half. Salim did a good job for us up top."

On going back to the zone after playing man-to-man
"We had to go back to the zone. They were just killing us. The two inside guys (Jeff Graves and Nick Collison) were killing us. And (Keith) Langford was killing us; we just were not able to do a good job of guarding him. But they do a lot of good things offensively."

On playing in Allen Fieldhouse
"First of all, this is the best environment outside of McKale Center in the country. I've had teams play at Duke and this is the best. I've felt that since our team's played here when I was at Iowa. Everything is choreographed, the students are a part of the warm-ups and it's a tremendous place to play. We're a little partial to McKale, but (Allen Fieldhouse) is the toughest place I've ever had a team play.....yet with class. The Jayhawk fans cheer for their team and you're always going to have an idiot in the crowd. We apologize for idiots in (McKale) too, but for the most part this crowd is classy just like the (KU) program is."

On continuing the series with Kansas
"With Roy and the kind of a program that he runs, this is a first class situation here. Roy and I talked before the game about continuing this series immediately. This is a great environment for our guys."

Jason Gardner

On the effectiveness of the 1-3-1 zone
"We've been working on it all year long and in the first half (Kansas) found the open spots. Then we came in talked about it a little bit (at halftime) and limited the open shots in shots in the second half."

On Coach Lute Olson's halftime talk
"He talked about eliminating the open shots and getting on the boards and not taking the quick shots and eliminating the turnovers in the second half."

On getting behind and then coming back so often
"We've talked about that all year that we have to put two halves together. But we were able to come back in the second half and overall the guys did a great job. (In the second Kansas) missed some shots and we made some shots."

On the play of Salim Stoudamire
"Salim is one of the leaders of the team. He's been around for awhile. He stepped up tonight hit some big shots. To me, he's one of the best shooters in the country."

Were you guys embarrassed when you were down by 20 in the first half?
"I don't thing we were ever embarrassed. I thing the other team was just red hot and we missed a lot of shots. In the second half they missed some shots and we hit some shots."

On the Wildcats No. 1 ranking
"Right now I still think Kansas is one of the top teams in the country. I don't know if we're the No. 1 team in the country. Maybe when we get our act together we can say that."

Salim Stoudamire
"I didn't have a good game (2-19) against Kansas last year. So I just wanted to come out have a good game (today). I watched (last year's) game about five times."

On last year's game and this year's game
"They were beating us in transition (last year). We didn't get back and they were attacking us."

On playing in Allen Fieldhouse
"It's a tough place to play. They're a good ball club and we're excited to come in here and get a victory."

Isaiah Fox

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