COACH FORD: Congrats to them. I thought they played a heck of a game, came to battle, played for 40 minutes and competed at a high level. I thought they played well the second half and took advantage of our mistakes in the second half.
Q. Coach, can you talk about what went right for them? They shot 23% in the first half and really well in the second.
COACH FORD: Our last game with them, they took it from us in the second half.
This game we had open shots, a lot -- we just missed a lot of open shots, turned the ball over on an up nine, we have a fast break, turn it over. Two possessions later, we have 3-on-1, don't convert, a lot of open shots. We didn't convert. We shot ourselves in the foot a little bit different than the last game.
We had opportunities, and when we weren't scoring they took advantage of it. You knew they were going to score more points, but we had plenty enough opportunities, plenty enough opportunities.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Le'Bryan Nash.
Q. Le'Bryan, you had a monster game. What got you going and why do you think things down the stretch didn't go the team's way?
LE'BRYAN NASH: I mean, this is the postseason. I knew what was on the line for our team and I wanted to go out there and play my hardest and try to play to win, try to as many positives plays as I can and focus on the defense and the rebounding and the scoring is going to come. I tried to get my teammates shots, I did a good job of that and some of them didn't fall. We gotta go back to the drawing board and see what we can do and what we can't do.
Q. You guys did a great job on Thomas in the first half, he got loose in the second half. What happened in the second half that got him uncorked?
LE'BRYAN NASH: We just let him keep going right and Coach Ford kept explaining to us don't let him go right, make him go left and sometimes players be hard-headed and not listen to their coach. I guess that's what happens when you don't listen to your coach. The game don't go your way.
Like I say, we got to go back to the drawing board and listen to our coaching staff. They know what's in our best interest and hopefully we will have another chance.
Q. Le'Bryan, when they have the announcement for the NCAA Tournament, are you confident you're going to hear your name?
LE'BRYAN NASH: I'm always confident in my team and our resume. We have some good wins, three top-10 wins on the resume and I feel like everybody sees us as a tournament team. I feel we're confident enough and we got to wait until Sunday.
Q. Le'Bryan, last five minutes didn't go your way, but it was 43-43 with nine minutes to go, does that show that you can make the NCAA Tournament and do some damage when you get there?
LE'BRYAN NASH: We had that game, we was in the lead for the most part and shows you that we had turned the team -- Oklahoma is a great team. I think they're a more talented team than people think they are. And it just shows you we compete, we don't care who we step on the floor with and that's how we gonna feel if we make it to the NCAA Tournament and try to get the best run and hopefully the Committee picks us for part of the 64.
Q. Le'Bryan, over a 14 or 15-minute stretch in the second half, you guys scored only 11 points and you were responsible for ten. That had to be frustrating. It was almost like you were -- you didn't have much choice but to go one on five, given the fact that you weren't getting much help.
LE'BRYAN NASH: I was just trying to do what Coach told me to and scoring is part of our offense. The game was going good for me, but I tried to get my teammates involved because I need them as much as I can. We've just -- like I said, we've got to go to the drawing board, get in the gym as much as we can and shoot the ball as much as we can.
THE MODERATOR: Le'Bryan, thanks very much.
Q. Travis, kind of similar to the last question to Le'Bryan, did you feel in the second half that you're only option was to put the ball in Nash's hands?
COACH FORD: As a coach, we were getting opportunities. It just goes that way. He was feeling it, but other guys had shots the second half, they weren't falling. So it's not like you as a coach, you just say, hey, everybody give it to him, nobody else is allowed to shoot. No, that's not what happens.
Now, they're smart enough to figure out, hey, we need to probably get him the basketball and he made some strong moves. He was in position to score 10 out of those 11 points, but it was the fact that we didn't get much from anybody else. But it's not like -- no, I didn't call time-out and tell everybody else they couldn't shoot and to throw him the ball.
That happens in games. It happens in games. But you are right, he was the only guy that was producing. We had a lot of other people shooting, but he was the only guy producing at that point in time.
Q. Travis, you had a good lead there early second half. They get hot for a short stretch and score 6 straight --
COACH FORD: We allowed that.
Q. What happened during that stretch?
COACH FORD: We were up 9, we come down, we have a fast break, we throw a lob and it goes out of bounds, whatever happened. They get to go to the other end. We have 3-on-1, kick it out-of-bounds, we get it back, but we don't score.
We're matched up to Hield, and the guy leaves him and he makes a three. We had a lot of open shots. We had a lot of good looks. We knew they were going to play better second half.
They're a great team, I don't think there is too much teams in America better than them; I don't. I don't think there are too many teams, you look at their offensive stats, their efficiency against the rest of the country, they're really good. We just didn't take advantage of it. It was a lot different than the last game that we played against them. We had our opportunities this time.
Q. The follow-up is you got stabilized for a while, got it to 43-43, and they didn't score a ton after that but your offense went away. What happened to it after that point? Lack of shot-making?
COACH FORD: Yeah, yeah, we got -- they weren't great shots, when it gets that tight, nobody is going to get an easy shot but we had some.
I tell you, Le'Bryan, he made every right play, he made some nice passes to get guys open, but that's part of the game. You're not going to make 'em, some games you're not going to make 'em. And we made some shots first half. Second half, you know, we had a lot of good looks and they just didn't go if in. That's part of it. And when you are not making those shots, you better come up with a ridiculous defensively effort, I mean, ridiculous, because we were in that mode offensively.
I would like to say they defended, we didn't get any open shots, we had a lot of good shots, didn't go down and they made some nice shots and they're a better offensive team than we are. They are not going to go like we are. They have quite a few weapons. We did a lot of stuff we wanted to do in the game, that we worked on, I mean a lot. We just -- our basketball team we gotta have everybody -- we gotta have guys -- we're not a one-man team, we can't do that, we gotta have guys step up and it just wasn't the night for some of the guys.
The guys played hard, they never gave in, they kept fighting, kept playing hard, shots didn't fall, we were sitting there counting them as a staff, what could you do differently? We kind of got the ball where we wanted to get it a lot of times, just didn't convert and when you're not converting like that, against a team like Oklahoma? They'll make you pay eventually, they will make you pay eventually and they did.
Q. Coach, you kinda answered this, but heading into the game had you known that Le'Bryan was going to have the game he did and that you would be able to hold Buddy in check for a large portion of the game, would you have thought you would be sitting here on the other side of the scoreboard?
COACH FORD: They're not a one-man team they have Hield, they have a lot of other weapons that can score. They have all had big nights.
Yeah, but I would have looked at some of the stats on my side, I would have said, oh, we probably got killed. So it's give and take a little bit. Obviously it was closer than the score shows, but just one of those second halves, we -- just had some guys get out of their element and we didn't make plays.
We told them they were going to start pressing us, we knew what was going to happen. We've seen them play a lot and what they do when they get down, how they really start to pick up the tempo and they did it. We got shots, just didn't go down. Just didn't go down for us in the second half.
Q. Travis, going into Sunday, you guys in good shape?
COACH FORD: Yeah, we got three top-10 wins in the country, four top-25, six top-50, eight or nine top-100, four of those on the road. After tonight, 15th strongest strength of schedule in the country. So, yeah, our numbers speak for themselves. Everything that the Committee looks at, we put that work in. We put that work in, the numbers speak for themselves.
Full transcript courtesy ASAP Sports.