Q&A with OSU's Final Four Associate HC Sean Sutton

OSSR: Talk about your reaction to the 64-62 win over St. Joseph, going all the way down the wire and the final shot. <BR><BR> Sean Sutton: I think it's the most special win that we've had at Oklahoma State. We've had a lot of great wins here at Oklahoma State over the years, and it is so hard to pick one. This one is so meaningful because I wanted these current players to have a chance to go to the Final Four.

This is also for some of our former players that didn't have a chance to go to the Final Four and experience what it is like. It's also for the 10 people that we lost in that terrible tragedy. It's a great experience and a great feeling for our guys who made the plays they needed to down the strentch. We told them before the game that when you do things the right way on and off the court I do believe in the end that you get rewarded, and they earned and deserved a shot to play in San Antonio next weekend.

OSSR: Part of the strategy was to keep the players from St. Joseph's other than Nelson and West out of double figures. Explain that thinking going into the game.

Sean: Two of the main areas tha we kept stressing to our team was not to help on three point shooters. We did a really good job on that as they got up 26 three point shots but they only made eight. We emphasized not turning the ball over and giving them easy buckets in transition, and that was really the story in the first half as they got 16 points off turnovers out of the 33 points that they scored in the first half. The two guys we really wanted to concentrate on were Barley and Carroll. Those two guys were huge for them the other night against Wake Forest. We felt like West and Nelson were going to score points. They are two talented players. We felt we had to do a good job on some of their other role players and not let them have big games.

OSSR: Talk about the dramatic way the game was won. They take the lead and then OSU has to come down without a timeout to set a play and then hang on.

Sean: He's made big shots all year long and a few minutes earlier we had set up a play for him and he came open and got a good look at it and missed the shot. There is nobody I'd rather have take the shot in crunch time than John Lucas. He has made big shot after big shot all season lone. We were in a kind of unusual situation in that they kind of caught us off guard and switched the ball screen and got it to Carroll and got exactly the shot they were looking for. We kind of botched the play and they hit the three to go ahead. It would have ben real easy for our guys to drop their head and stumble around and not make a play when we didn't have a timeout. I thought Joey Graham made a great decision in kicking the ball out to John. He got a clean look at it and we'll take that anytime.

OSSR: How about this team's knack for finding ways to win?

Sean: We talked to them before the game about how they have played well in every big game this year. They did not play well the first half. Our guys did not have the same look that they have had all season long at halftime. In the second half we came out with a different energy. I don't think they were concerned with being down six points at halftime, but instead about the way were playing. Then we had to grind it out for a period of time before we really got it going. Then they even came back on us. This team has a lot of confidence and a lot of faith in each other and the fact that they won what was almost a road game against a team back east in heir own backyard tells you the character of this team and how confident they are.

OSSR: This team has cut down nets three times this season. How much did you want these nets to go back to Stillwater?

Sean: I wanted this desperately and I stayed out there for part of the celebration and then got a little lightheaded and decided to come back here and sit down. I've had the opportunity to cut down two nets prior to this and be a part of this ceremony and the one I want to be a part of is next weekend in San Antonio. Next Monday I want to be watching our guys cuting down the nets in the Alamo Dome and if that happens I'll be glad to get up that ladder and help cut down those nets.

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