K-State comes from behind, stuns Iowa State in final seconds

Courtesy: Kansas State Athletics

Opening statement…
“I am just happy and proud of our guys, especially the seniors. This season has not gone as we had hoped or expected. We have had a lot of games like this where it came down to the wire, but throughout the whole season they have continued to battle and fight. They did a great job on defense in the second half. It was a great effort by our bench. Nigel (Johnson) did really well and had nine rebounds and nine assists. Jevon (Thomas) complemented Nigel well and led us on the play-hard chart, so we had good protection on them. Justin (Edwards) was huge coming off of the bench with Nigel. Justin made some big plays down the stretch. Wesley (Iwundu) only had a few minutes played in the first half because of fouls, but obviously came in with the huge steal at the end. It would have been nice if Wes would have made those free throws, but he was great on the defensive end. Wes has length and can move a little better than some of our other guys, which was a big part in our game. We got more fast break points than some of the top teams in the country. There were just a lot of good things, and I was happy with our seniors. I do not think it was our senior’s best numbers game, but they got a lot of gains. It was a great effort, great win, and a great crowd. We were worried about how many people we would have with the snow, but they hung with us. It was a great win for us and a great week for the seniors to end the season. I told TV and radio that we are the best 15-15 team in the country. It is a little happy and a little sad because could have easily been a lot different.”

On Nigel Johnson’s week…
“Not only the points, but the rebounds might be more than he has had all year total. It is all we have harped on him all year is rebounding. He played with a lot of confidence and gave us a nice boost. We have been struggling with scoring at times, but he gave us a nice boost. I thought he was really aggressive getting to the basket in the second half as well.”

On the legacy of the seniors…
“Neither one has the physical gifts, but they have made the most of what they have and that is the biggest thing. If Thomas (Gipson) was 6’9” then he would be an NBA prospect and if Nino was 6’7” then he would be even better too and yet they have given it their all. Nino is a little like a stair step because as a sophomore he was not playing much, then junior year he played a little more and now he has consideration for all conference. Thomas played a little more, but he had to earn it. They are great teammates, and they have great abilities. Same with Shawn Meyer, you cannot have a better teammate than him. It is hard as a walk on, but he has practiced hard and we can put him in during practice and he is actually scoring on our guys. They all three go out on a positive note.”

Guard Justin Edwards
On his play offensively…
“I just wanted to come out and play hard. I have been struggling offensively this year. I wanted to turn it up on defense. I think I did a good job of that in the Kansas game. I just wanted to continue that over and things just fall into place when you play hard. You go from there.”

On breaking down Iowa State’s defense…
“We know how their defense plays. We know we can get to the rim a lot. I was just trying to get to the rim and finish strong. It worked out.”

Forward Wesley Iwundu
On getting his offensive performance going…
“I do not know. I was a little frustration. It is just something you have to buy into. Settle down in the game and just stop them on defense. It was just a lot of frustration.”

On what the team is buying into to end the regular season…
“It is just about staying positive throughout the rest of the season. For the rest of the games, we do not know what is going to happen as Coach Weber said, just keep playing and maybe we can win the conference tournament. So we just have to keep playing.”

Guard Nigel Johnson
On what has changed these last two games…
“It is all my confidence level. I have always been the kind of player that has played off my confidence level. When I am confident, I tend to play well. When I am less confident, I play less aggressive. I guess the confidence level has been what it is these last two games.”

On Marcus Foster struggling…
“He is obviously our best and main scorer, and if he is struggling, someone has got to pick him up. Justin and I have been the two this semester, and are the ones that can score on the team and make our own shots.”


Head coach Fred Hoiberg
On the last play…
“We wanted to get it up top and let Georges (Niang) make a play with the side cleared. They made a good switch and forced a long pass.”

On K-State’s defensive play…
“They pressure you really well in this building, there is no doubt about that. This is a team that has won eight league games, and they have been very good at home. We expected them to come out and pressure us and play us very tough and they did. They really guard you in this building. We hit shots in that first half and in the second half. Our pace was not good at all. We were just not getting anything in flow starting our offense out too high.”

On putting the ball in Niang’s hands…
“It is tough. You put the ball in your best player’s hands, and I trust that Georges is going to make the right play 99 percent of the time. Jameel (McKay) was flashing to the ball and did not quite get there, when they had a couple of fouls to give so they were going to be extra aggressive on it. Unfortunately we did not complete it.”

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