Feb. 22, 2014
Oklahoma State vs Texas Tech
Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014
OSU head coach Travis Ford
"We played well and we played together. We've worked really hard in practice the last three days on playing as a team on both ends of the court. I think we saw a lot of that in many different facets — from the 20 assists, to playing terrific team defense with a lot of deflections and steals. They were things we are capable of doing. It was fun to see them playing hard and together. We saw a few guys smiling out there, which we hadn't seen in a while. It was a different feel. However, like I told the guys, this is one game. We know all too well that this is fragile, and we can't exhale. We need to continue to have a sense of urgency and play as a team moving forward. I'm very proud of the effort from our players."
On Marcus Smart's performance
"Overall, I thought he was terrific. Absolutely terrific. You look at the stat sheet, and that says enough, but that's what we expect him to be — a stat-sheet stuffer — a guy who can fill it up in the rebound column, the points column, the steals column and the assist column. When he has 16 points, 10 assists, six steals, two blocks and three rebounds, that's the kind of performance we need. That's what we've been looking for. I thought everybody played well. I thought Le'Bryan Nash had a whale of a game as well."
On outscoring Texas Tech in the paint
"We obviously reviewed the game in Lubbock, and we didn't play very well at all. We were disjointed. Watching that tape, it was amazing that we had a chance to win at the end. We played much better today, as far as team basketball. Tech has a height advantage on us, and they normally do a great job of taking away the paint, which is how they hurt us down there. We worked on it in the last couple days, and we were more prepared for it. Le'Bryan Nash was amazing. You look at the 21 points, but he made some incredible plays out of the post, passing the basketball. We didn't convert all of them, so he could have had five or six assists as well. We were strong in the paint and we finished."
On looking ahead to TCU
"TCU has been in every game, to a certain point. They really have. Their point guard (Kyan Anderson) has been playing outstanding basketball. Plus, they're at home. We have to make our players understand just because we beat them here by the margin we did, doesn't mean it will automatically happen there. They are a different team at home. They're searching for a win, and we can't hide from the fact that they might see us and think this is the chance. We can't exhale. We have to worry about TCU, but we also have to worry about ourselves, how hard we're playing and whether we're playing as a team."
OSU sophomore guard Marcus Smart
On returning back with his team
“It felt good. Those three games felt like years or months to me. It was crazy being at practice with these guys and they would travel and say, ‘Alright we’ll see you when we get back.’ I felt lost because I was so used to traveling with the guys. They did well and gave it (their) all. Unfortunately, the results didn’t come out the way we wanted without me, but coming back and being able to be with my team feels amazing.”
On practicing more during his suspension
“I hit the gym. While they were gone, I was up at 7:30 every morning getting up shots and working on my game. I understand that it's a lot of pressure being put on this team and individuals on this team. We have gotten in our minds that we need to let each other relieve some pressure off of each other. Le’Bryan (Nash) is one of the best scorers 15-foot and under, so it’s hard to stop him. A lot of teams are starting to double him and he’s making great passes out of the post and finding open guys. That’s what this team has been focused on lately is hitting the open guy.”
On the big play at the end of the first half
“That was a big momentum change for us. It definitely got this crowd into it, which is what we need at home. It kind of took the life out of Texas Tech going into halftime and that’s kind of what you want to do. We want to take the momentum early and put the foot on the gas pedal early, and that’s what we did.”
On the game being fun again
“It was just fun for the first time in a long time. Coach Ford said to us in the locker room that this is one of the first times in a long time that he’d seen everybody smiling. Everybody was out there smiling and having fun. That’s what we have to get back to doing. We are just going to work on that every day.”
OSU junior wing Le’Bryan Nash
On what was different in today’s game
“I think Marcus was the difference. Getting our point guard back, our leader, was exciting. We got the crowd back. Marcus had 10 assists and that helped with him controlling the game. You can just tell he controls the whole game and that’s what we need. We need him back and I can say it was an A-plus performance from him.”
On using this game as a turnaround moving forward
“As soon as we won the game, I said it was a new start for us. This is a new journey for us. We have five games left that can help boost our resume for the NCAA Tournament. We’re on a bubble right now and we need to get every game we can. We have Kansas at home and we need to get those wins. It’s set up for us and we just need to go get it.”
On how the win feels after losing seven straight
“It feels really good. We can start a winning streak instead of that losing streak. It feels good seeing everyone in a good mood in the locker room right now. We have to just keep moving right now and keep pushing.”
TTU head coach Tubby Smith
"Well, that was a disappointing performance on our part. We'd been playing OK, but today, we took a step backward as far as with execution and turnovers. It was interesting to see how we would respond and how Oklahoma State would respond. Whenever you have a player of Marcus Smart's caliber, it takes you to another level. We just didn't respond and had too many turnovers and bad decisions. Overall, this was probably the worst half we've had this year. I don't know, maybe we can just throw this one out and move on."
On if today's Oklahoma State team was different than the one that played in Lubbock a few weeks ago
"When you say different, yeah, we were at home then and were energized. I thought having Marcus back was different, but they shot well at our place, too. We haven't really defended them really well, especially in the second half of both games."
On the team's main problem on the defensive end
"They can beat you off the dribble in every spot, so matchups were a real problem. Fouling, and Dusty (Hannahs) just couldn't stay with Phil Forte. He seemed to get quite a few open looks. In those types of things when you have to get help from somewhere else, they're very athletic and very quick, so we have some matchup problems there. We're a team, where, if we don't take care of the ball and don't execute on every possession, this is what happens. We didn't play the game the way we're supposed to play it."
On OSU grabbing extra momentum when Marcus Smart stole an inbounds pass at the end of the first half
"It was just like what Andrew Wiggins did the other night against us. Great players make those decisions. (Smart) is very crafty, and that's why he's one of the best steal guys in the business. He faked him out, turned around and made a deceptive play. It was pretty smart on his part, and he's an intelligent player. It makes us look pretty dumb because we're just trying to take the ball out of bounds. Your inbounder has to take a look and not just step out of bounds and pass in the ball like that. That was a bad mistake, but it always takes two. One time, it was with a freshman, with Randy Onwuasor. The second time, it was Rob Turner, a veteran player. They both were running away from the ball instead of doing their jobs. They have to be the eye of the passer and make that happen."
TTU junior guard Robert Turner
On the defensive performance
"Everybody needs to be in their right positions to help the next man. That's good defense. We all just need to be there to help one another. Sometimes we just weren't in the right spots tonight, and that hurt us a little bit."
On the communication on defense
"We could have communicated a little better, but sometimes it's all mental. That was a big part of it, just not being focused."
On bouncing back from this loss
"We've got a quick turnaround. We have Kansas State on Tuesday. There's not time to dwell on this loss. It's going to hurt for now, but as far as tomorrow, it's in the past."
TTU junior forward Jordan Tolbert
On if OSU played differently than the last meeting in Lubbock
"I don't really think they were any different. I think we were just very nonchalant."
On not having Robert Turner for most of the first half
"It hurt because Rob usually controls the tempo, so it was a little shaky."
On being outscored by such a wide margin in the paint
"They just made their shots. They made some tough shots in the paint. They just shot right over us."