Sean Sutton Q&A

On the scene at the American Airlines Center in Dallas at the Phillips 66 Big 12 Basketball Tournament we spoke with Oklahoma State Associate Head Coach Sean Sutton.

OSSR: Your team was threatened in the first game with Iowa State when the Cyclones tied the game at 59-59. Tony Allen gave you the response you wanted with a hustle steal. How big was that?

Sean Sutton: It could have been the biggest play of the game if you look at it in terms of one play. If they take the ball and score two and go up. Now all of a sudden they have the momentum and they were already playing pretty confident. He stepped in and made a big play, Lucas made some big shots, and I really liked the attitude of our players during the time outs. They seemed very confident, They weren't worried that the game had become tied and they weren't in panic over letting the game get away from us after leading by 12 points. I thought it was good for us to play another close game because those are the kind of games that you will have to win to advance in the NCAA Tournament.

OSSR: As a coach can you be more relaxed with this team because you do know them pretty well and how they will respond in situations?

Sean: It's been easy to coach these guys. One thing is having a point guard with the basketball smarts that John Lucas has. You put a lot of trust in him, and you always feel like he's going to make the right decision. You look at the strength of this basketball team and they are an athletic team and a good shooting team. I think the thing that is overlooked a lot is this is a very smart team with smart players that have gone out in 28 games and they have made the right decisions at the right time most of the time.

OSSR: Now it is Texas Tech and you have to face Andre Emmett again.

Sean: I was hoping we wouldn't see him ever again, but we're going to see him one more time today. He's been a tough matchup. I thought Tony did as good a job as anyone we've ever put on him, especially the second half in Stillwater. He got 13 points in that game. Tony got after him, and that's the kind of attitude you have to have when you go up against him. You have to work to limit his touches, but when he does get it you have to get after him and not let him take the game to you.

OSSR: You and your Dad and this staff know Bob Knight and his son Pat so well, you and Pat are good friends. Two teams knowing each other so well does that mean this game will be a grinder?

Sean: That is the perfect word for what this game could be and that is a grinder. I think it will be a possession oriented game. There is not going to be a lot of easy shots, both teams play good defense. They're going to take the strengths of each other's teams away. It could come down to who will make big shots. I think three point shots will be big for us today. Certainly we need to keep them off the free throw line and rebounding. This is one team that we should have the advantage against in rebounding.

OSSR: Is it tough to concentrate on this tournament when Christmas Day for all college basketball coaches and players is Sunday with the announcement of the NCAA pairings?

Sean: I think we are pretty secure in where we are going to be seeded and where we will be going. The attitude of this team has always been to finish the non conferecne part of the season strong. They wanted to win the Big 12, and this week the goal for them has been to come down here and get to the championship game on Sunday and have a chacne to win the whole thing with the Tournament. They believe we will worry about next week, next week. Sunday is what college basketball is all about if you are a player or a coach. The anticipation of having your name called while you are wathing is one of the most exciting feelings you can have as a player or a coach.

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