There were two very distinct moods in the basement-level interview room at Pinnacle Bank Arena Saturday night following a dramatic, down-to-the-wire 73-72 victory for Kansas (8-2) over Nebraska (7-5, 1-1 Big Ten). Kansas players entered the room energized by their skid-stopping win while the Huskers entered looking as dejected as they’ve looked all season.
Here are some of the more notable quotes.
Head coach Tim Miles on the final offensive possession for Nebraska:
"It didn't have as much rhythm as we hoped. It was a counter to something we had run to get James [Palmer Jr.] to the rim earlier and he had the option to kick it out to Anton [Gill]. I think he was open and [Lagerald] Vick made a really good defensive play to contest that shot and James had gotten knocked down on the rebound. That's a 50/50 deal, max. I think we thought he was going to travel. He got the shot up and you can't put anything weak up against a team like that – too much length and athleticism. We had it drawn up in the timeout. We felt good about it. We'd run it before, so we didn't burn the timeout unnecessarily and we'd been scoring, I think. It felt like we were anyway. And we trust our guys."
Guard James Palmer Jr. on the crowd atmosphere:
“I think we’re always going to get a full game like this, especially the blue blood games. The crowd was great tonight. We both made runs. They just came up and made one more play than we did.”
Guard Thomas Allen on whether he wanted to play well against Kansas after picking the Huskers over the Jayhawks:
“I just wanted to win the game. That’s pretty much it, I just wanted to win the game.”
Miles on what he told the team after the game:
“We were all in it together. I just said, 'Listen guys, I'm proud of you. They just made one more play than we did. That's the way I see it. That's the way I look at it. Don't let this game beat us twice. We got to come to work Monday and be ready to roll.'"
Kansas guard Devonte’ Graham on what it was like getting a tight win in this kind of atmosphere:
“We just needed this win, period. Especially after last week. It was a great win for us, get the monkey off our back. It was a great team win. Everybody just tried to chip in, do what they can to help the team.”
Kansas head coach Bill Self on Nebraska getting back into the game late in the second half, and using the 1-3-1 zone to do so:
“We actually talked about that. I’d have to remember exactly when they went 1-3-1, but I think it was after they got their lead there late, after five or six minutes. I overcoached, should have never called the timeout to end the first half. Never. Because they went 1-3-1 and we didn’t get a good shot. So we knew they’d go to the 1-3-1 late. We actually talked about in the timeout exactly what we wanted to do and it wasn’t working the way that I had envisioned. The last thing that we said was let’s just throw a lob and we end up getting a lob out of a timeout.”
Miles on what needs to improve:
"We have a lot of work to do on offense. I thought we were better on defense. I thought we held them down pretty good. That's a good basketball team and we got to get better in the post and get better on offense and keep improving on defense. Get fouled, and we're just done getting fouled. I thought we defended the 3 okay and we were okay at the three-point line — those are two things we need to get better at. We'll get better. It's just a tough night."
Miles on head football coach Scott Frost being introduced before the game:
"I said, 'I want Scott out there at the beginning with us.' He talked about unity and I want them to know we're behind him. We want him out. Scott doesn't want to screw with our mojo or anything that's going on. He's so humble, it's ridiculous, but that's what everybody loves about him. I've known him for three or four years. We played golf and went out for dinner. I just thought it'd be a really cool thing to start the game off with and I thought it was. I got chills."
Derek is a newbie on the Hail Varsity staff covering Husker athletics. In college, he was best known as ‘that guy from Twitter.’ He has covered a Sugar Bowl, a tennis national championship and almost everything in between (except an NCAA men’s basketball tournament game… *tears*). In his spare time, he can be found arguing with literally anyone about sports.