Quotes, notes from Kansas-Iowa State

Elijah Johnson apologizes, Georges Niang refuses to rip refs

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AMES -- I'm going to try to wrap my mind around Kansas' 108-96 overtime basketball win over Iowa State here on the drive home to Cedar Rapids early, early, early Tuesday morning and come up with a column for this blog Tuesday afternoon and the Wednesday Gazette.

In the meantime, here are some pretty good quotes from some of the game's primary figures.

Iowa State guard Korie Lucious, who had a team-high 23 points, his best as a Cyclone:

"I definitely take ownership for that (Elijah Johnson of Kansas scoring 23 points in the game's last 7:59, and a career-best 39 points) because I was the one holding him. He had a couple of deep threes that brought them back and gave them the lead. To me he played good, but I think I have to step up my defense."

"We felt like we had the game won. We just couldn't get stops at the end of the game. We let them come back, get a couple buckets in transition. That's the reason we lost."

"The last couple of days in practice, the last couple weeks, we've been harping on getting stops the last four minutes of a game. We've been working on that for last couple weeks in practice and everything like that, talking about it. Tonight we didn't execute."

ISU freshman forward Georges Niang, who had 15 points and 7 assists, but was 3-of-17 from the field:

(On if he thought the Cyclones had the game won after he made a 3-pointer with :45 left in regulation to give his team an 87-82 lead) "The way this season's gone, no. But I thought we had a good chance to win it, especially at the end. But a call's a call. We're men here. We're going to move on. I promise you one thing, we're going to come back even harder the next day."

Iowa State Coach Fred Hoiberg:

"You can't fault our effort. Our guys went out there and fought hard for 45 minutes. We played this team two times, overtime, a Top Five team in the country. It's unfortunate we walk away with zero wins against them."

"I guess I can't get too far into that call (There was a subsequent ISU foul called with 4.9 seconds left after a no-call when it appeared to most people that Niang had his feet set when Johnson drove into him. Johnson made both free throws to tie the game, and it then went to overtime). It is what it is, it happened, you've got to move past. I thought Georges made a heck of a play by stepping in there and drawing contact. Hey, it happens in this game. It doesn't go our way. It's one of those things. You move past it and try to get on the next play. Unfortunately, we didn't get it done in overtime."

"I thought we defended better late this game. It was a kid making a couple of great plays."

"I'm spent. I'm really spent. The guys will bounce back. They've shown it all season. It's been a team that's been extremely resilient. I'm confident we'll bounce back with a great practice on Wednesday and have three really good days of preparation before we head down to Oklahoma, which will be a very difficult game. They're playing extremely well right now. They knocked this team off on their home court. ... But again, this team has bounced back all year and I'm confident it will do it again."

"We're playing with a tremendous amount of confidence on the offensive end, as much as any team I've ever been around. We share the ball, we space the floor, we trust each other ... we just have to carry that over and find a way to grind out those stops when they matter most. We got a couple stops, but you've got to get the rebound. They didn't miss many tonight, but the ones they did, I think they had 14 offensive rebounds."

"We used (Niang) as a facilitator. He had seven assists, zero turnovers. I thought he made very good decisions. He had a couple of those (shots) that went in and out. I think he showed you the type of kid he is not being afraid to step up and knock down that big one (3-pointer) that put us up 5 with about 40 seconds left. And that's who he is. He's very confident in his abilities. We're very confident in him as a staff. His teammates are confident in him. Even though he didn't shoot it great tonight, he made plays for his teammates all game long."

"Not many teams would say they walk out a game against Kansas scoring 96. We scored 96 and 89 against them now. We just haven't gotten enough stops. Look, that's a very difficult team to match up against, especially our team. They're longer than us at every position and our guys battled. ... Hopefully we have a lot of season left, to bounce back here with these last three (regular-season games), then hopefully beyond that. They're going to continue to fight back, and I'm very confident in them."

"It was an entertaining basketball game, I'll say that.  In a season where you see 30-29 games and 50-45, if nothing else we gave our fans their money's worth tonight. We try to play a very exciting style of basketball. We try to get it out. We've got five playmakers on the floor at one time. I think we've created a lot of buzz here because of our style of play. We'll continue to play that way. We've just got to find a way to get stops. When we get that, we've got a long season ahead of us."

Kansas Coach Bill Self:

"(Johnson) was unbelievable. He was the best player in the country tonight. I've had some guys get 30 before, but never 30 in a half. (Johnson had 30 points in the second half and overtime combined) He was in attack mode. He just played great. ... Our whole team played great."

"I know Fred's crushed, I would be, too, if the outcome was different and both teams played so well. ... I guarantee you I don't know if you've had two teams in the same game execute offensively as good as both teams did tonight. That was two good teams playing. And the crowd was unbelievably great. Our guys responded well to the atmosphere. That was as much fun as I've had all year long, coaching."

Kansas guard Elijah Johnson:

"I want to apologize for that last play."

With a 106-96 lead in the final seconds and the Cyclones conceding, instead of dribbling out the clock Johnson instead drove for a dunk.

"It was wrong what he did," Self added.


Late Monday night, Big 12 coordinator of officials Curtis Shaw told ESPN that the league would review the last minute of regulation. 

Iowa State made a school-record 17 three-pointers, and had just eight turnovers in 45 minutes. They're now just statistics.


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