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It was one of those games that we had to grind out, coming off a high [emotionally] high win like Ohio State, #1 in the country, and the younger fellows, I don't think they--they are starting to realize how important it is to take one game and deal with it and get ready for the next game. But they are doing a good job of adjusting to it, and I think they handled it well today. We handled it well as a team today.
It seemed like right after Coach Williams made the five-for-five substitution that you were the one who immediately caught fire there. You hit the three 3-pointers in four possessions. Were you just feeling it at that point, or what?
No, it was just in the flow of the game. Ty [Lawson] got some open looks and penetrated, guys helped, and I was able to get open. I just took advantage of those opportunities.
Did you feel like you were more in the flow today, offensively, because you got more looks?
Yes, I felt like early on I got in a rhythm, got some defensive stops, got an assist early on to Brandan [Wright], so it just opened up a lot of things for me, and I got in the flow.
Coach Williams said that you have struggled a little bit this year. How badly has it affected you--have you lost some confidence or anything?
I don't look at it as losing confidence. It's just a struggle right now. With the guys that we have--we have a lot of guys that can get it done. I just have to find my fit, just being that senior leader, just making some sacrifices for the team. I don't have a problem doing that. Tonight, I just happened to have a good game.
Now that you have this break, what would you like to see this team improve on?
Definitely defense, picking up in transition, and being able to communicate more on the defensive end, and get some stops--must stops.
This was a "step up" game for other people because the inside was so difficult for Tyler [Hansbrough] to negotiate. What did you show the rest of college basketball today? It's not just Tyler--anybody can step up and do this.
We're a talented team. At any given moment, any guy can step up on this team. That's how many weapons that we have. We really don't worry about if the other team is going to shut down Tyler and we don't have any answers because we have so many talented guys that we really don't worry about other teams just closing down one person on our team.
Bobby Frasor (4:20)
Did you come out a little flat today against Kentucky?
I'd agree there was a little mental let-down to start. We weren't really getting after them. We were kind of going through the motions and let them hang around early on in the game.
Coach Williams's next win will be number 500 for him. Did you guys know about that--what do you think about being able to play in that when it does happen?
I knew he was closing in, just from reports and stuff like that. I didn't know when it was actually going to happen. Hopefully, we can make it happen. It would be a good milestone for him, to add to his already amazing amount of awards and stuff like that. Hopefully, we can get it for him the next game.
What will it be like to be on that team when it does happen?
It's special. He'll remember it, he'll remember the team, he'll remember the players on his 500th win, so it's nice to know that as a player.
What do you appreciate about his coaching style and what he lends to you guys?
I just think he is the hardest working coach out there--recruiting, scouting, working for his players. He'll do everything he can for you. He's not going to take a day off. He's so competitive that you're going to be successful of Coach Williams.
Any stories that relate to his competitive side? I know you guys had a "Who can sign the basketballs faster" story.
There's that one, and then also I remember one day I was drinking water, and coaches do ab exercises on the floor. He challenged Coach [Steve] Robinson to see if he could do 40 of these like [certain] type sit-ups, so they both finished. He was like, 'How many did you do?' and [Coach Robinson] said, 'Forty.' Coach Williams was like 'Aaaaaaaah, I did 41.' He just had to do one more, just to one-up him.
What does it say about this team that you can get a win when you shoot so poorly and Tyler struggles?
It's nice. We only shot 39 percent, maybe, but we forced them into a lot of turnovers. Other guys stepped up and made some big baskets. It was a grind-it-out type of game, and it was a good win for us.
Reyshawn has struggled a little bit up to this point. What does it mean to get the contributions that you got from him today?
That's huge. He started off the game like that--hit a three and then hit another jumper. That's just going to help his confidence so much seeing the ball going through the basket. We are going to need him later on every game. Reyshawn is going to be a big piece of this puzzle, so hopefully that will lift him up from here.
Marcus Ginyard (2:47)
Do you think is a better defensive game than you guys have played?
I don' think so. There are times when we play good defense and times when we let up, and that is something that I talked about earlier that we just have to complete the game and play that 40-minute game, not just play in spurts but to stay consistent throughout the whole game on defense and our execution on offense.
Let's compare it to the Ohio State game, which was way more up-tempo. Did they dictate the tempo today--is that them doing that?
I think it was our lack of setting the tempo that got the game the way it was today. I don't think that we started to play down to Kentucky's tempo. I just think that we didn't do what we were supposed to do in terms of tempo and really getting the game going. That's something that we can learn from. We have to set the temp every game.
That was their game plan--to slow it down.
I still think it is something that we need to take on ourselves.
It seems like there was a bit of an emotional let down after the big win against Ohio State. Do you think that was part of the reason you all looked a little sluggish today?
You know, I guess you could say that. At the same time, we just have to be more focused about the things that we do and not look to a big game, a big win, and think 'OK, we can let down,' and not to use that as an excuse. We need to come out with that fire, that intensity every game, no matter whether we just had a big win or a big loss or anything like that--we need to be playing the same all the time.
I know Wes [Miller] and Reyshawn are the seniors on the team, so by default they are going to be in a leadership role, but it looks like watching you that you are taking on somewhat of a role as an emotional leader on this team. Is that a fair assessment, and is that something that you feel comfortable doing?
That is something that I feel very comfortable doing, and it is something that I'm consciously doing. I'm just trying to make sure that this team stays together and really keep our head focused on the things we need to do. Leaders have got to be there all the time. Even when things aren't going good for them, they have to be there all the time to keep the team focused. I just really want this team to achieve the things that it can achieve.