March 14, 2013

Iowa State – 73 Oklahoma – 66 An Interview With:

IOWA STATE COACH FRED HOIBERG WILL CLYBURN MELVIN EJIM
THE MODERATOR: We're joined by Fred Hoiberg and student-athletes Will Clyburn and Melvin Ejim. Coach, your thoughts on today's victory. COACH HOIBERG: I can't tell you how proud I am for the guys continuing to battle and to gut out a huge win for us. I thought the difference from early in that game, I thought we really -- the effort we started playing with was about five minutes to go in the half. I believe we were down 8 on the battle of the boards at that time. We cut that all the way back to 1. Got ourselves back in the game, had an 8-point deficit at the half, and just came out in the second half with a great mentality. Those last nine minutes defensively was as good as we have been all season. To hold the team with Oklahoma's firepower to 28 percent in the second half is a great stat for us. And then going back to the glass, we outrebound them by 12, 43-31. A lot of that was a smaller lineup there in the second half. Melvin's out there. He's Canadian, so he's tough. He's out there playing with a bloody lip that entire second half and swallowing blood, which can't be fun. And Will went out and made play after play for us down the stretch. The other thing I want to point out is Bubu Palo, who didn't play at all really until about the five-minute mark, and then he brought us home.

And then obviously clutch slots. Tyrus hits a big one, and then Babb hits the one to put us up by 5. Couldn't be prouder of our guys. That's a great win. The other thing, we haven't won here in seven years. You can see by our fan support, we get as good a fan support as anybody down here. To get this win for them is really special, and going all the way back to my Big Eight days -I'm longwinded here -- getting back to my Big Eight playing days at Kemper Arena and playing in front of the fans, I know how special it is for them. Couldn't be happier for our fans. THE MODERATOR: Questions for the student-athletes. Q. Melvin and Will, you can both answer this. As shooters, as a team, you guys have moments where you shoot yourself into games and shoot yourself out of some situations. Did you ever lose confidence you'd have the ability -- I think you were 11 or 12 as a team in the first half. How did you stay confident shooting the basketball? WILL CLYBURN: We have a team full of shooters. And one thing about shooters, you have to have confidence. Forget about making or missing. If you miss a shot, gotta shoot the next one. That's what we have on this team. Shooters with confidence. MELVIN EJIM: Going into the second half we know we didn't shoot pretty well, but we knew we had confidence. Coach kept telling us these shots are going to fall. All year we go through stretches where they don't fall and we go through stretches where we can't miss. We kept our confidence, kept our composure, stayed with our defense, and our shots started falling toward the end. Q. Will, the second half there you put the team on your back a moment or two. Bringing the ball up the court, looked like you were really feeling it. What were you guys doing differently or from your perspective what

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kind of clicked for you there in the second half? WILL CLYBURN: Just in the flow of the game. Everybody was out there playing hard. Everybody was out there playing for each other. I wanted to do all I could to try to will us to a win. And my teammates helped me. They got me the ball. They set good screens. They got open. It was a good team effort. Q. How do you explain holding them to without a field goal in the last eight minutes of the game? MELVIN EJIM: We knew we had our backs against the wall, and we just started playing harder than they did. In the first half, they played harder than we did, and we knew that. We came out and we really had this talk in there, and we said we needed to come out and play hard and get the rebounds and be tough inside and not give them easy buckets. We came out and we did that, and we were able to hold them down. Q. Will, you talked earlier in the week about not going in your shell. Did you have to remind yourself not to do that after struggling through the first half and kind of exploding there the last five minutes or so? WILL CLYBURN: Yeah, I think it's all about just me growing up as a person. Earlier in the season I tended to do that. I had a tendency of going to my shell when things weren't going right. But my teammates and coaching staff, they stayed on me. I just wanted to play hard. Even if I wasn't scoring the ball, I wanted to do something to help the team through rebounding, defending, being a good teammate. I wanted to do something to help the team. Q. Guys, it hasn't happened yet, but how much would you welcome a third matchup with Kansas here? MELVIN EJIM: Two first games against Kansas were pretty tough losses for us. And they're a good team; we're a good team. We felt we played them well. So we're excited to play them and get another crack at them. WILL CLYBURN: I can't wait for the opportunity. If they win today, I want some payback. They beat us twice during the year. Probably games we shouldn't have lost, but, hey, I'm ready for payback.

Q. Melvin, what was Bubu able to do down the stretch that maybe changed things for you guys offensively/defensively? MELVIN EJIM: Bubu has a great ability to be calm all the time. In the last couple of minutes he calmed us down, was able to get the ball where it needed to be. He showed great poise, and that's contagious when your point guard starts doing that. Korie did that throughout the game as well, but when the point guard starts doing that, especially in a crucial time like that, when you're down, it really helped everyone to get into their groove and Will the ability to take over and really get ourselves organized and in that groove. Q. Your jump shots were falling in the second half, but you also had a pretty significant edge in points in the paint. Seemed like you really messed with OU. Where did that come from? Why were you guys so effective inside as well as the jump shot? WILL CLYBURN: Everybody knows we shoot 3s. Everybody's going to go out there, try to guard that. So usually 2-point field goals and trying to get to the lane, they don't want to come off shooters, so it's a lot easier for us to get in the paint. And I feel that was a strength of ours today, and plus our shooting in the second half. MELVIN EJIM: I think when we started missing those first couple of shots in the beginning of the game, we just -- we didn't want to be complacent, with just shooting 3s. We started attacking the basket, tried to look inside and really going for offensive rebounds and trying to get easy buckets. So I really feel that was a big significant part of why we started scoring more points in the paint, because we weren't shooting it as well. And then we kept doing that throughout the game and our shots started falling, so it was just playing off of itself. THE MODERATOR: Thank you. Questions for Coach. Q. How excruciating is it to watch your team from the bench when you go through one of those long spells where you can't hit anything compared to when you get hot? COACH HOIBERG: Well, the one thing I know with the shooting that we have on this team

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is eventually the percentages will work themselves out. We shot them much better in the second half, 6-of-14, and we're going to take looks. We're going to take open looks. My job as a coach is to try to get those guys playing with confidence every time they're out there on the floor. The one thing that I did like and that I talked to them about is how we did attack when the shots weren't falling, and if we continued to attack that would draw on the defense and if we made the right play and kept our spacing, we'd get some of those open looks. Guys stepped the at key moments, made huge ones. They go up 13. We hit one right back at them. Will hit that one -- I'm sorry, Georges hit that one. I knew eventually if we kept attacking and playing that way that we'd eventually hit some and some crucial ones as well. And then to score 36 in the paint and we didn't shoot the ball at a real high clip today is something that I think won us the game. Q. Coach, you went with Bubu Palo in the second half for a pretty long stretch there and had Korie Lucious on the bench. What was the reasoning behind that? COACH HOIBERG: The biggest thing about Bubu is his defensive ability. I think he and Chris Babb are our two smartest, two best perimeter defenders. We needed to string together stops. I was putting the ball in Will's hands at that time so we could afford to have Korie out. And I talked to Korie. He went over -- he actually came over to me -- this is huge for a leader to do this -- and he said: You stay with those guys out there on the floor. And that's huge for a guy like Korie to say that, that has the experience that he has and has hit big shots to get his team into the Final Four. So that just shows you the maturity of our team, the leadership on our team. And we went with Bubu and, again, he made play after play down the stretch and also set some good flare screens which got our guys open and Will found him. Q. What did you like about the smaller lineup in the second half, Booker or Gibson or anything? COACH HOIBERG: I was a little concerned with that. We go small at some point during the game just because we were not doing a job on the glass. So I was a little bit concerned with that. But second half, just with the effort we

were playing, I was confident we could hang with them. And then our ability to push past was great. Plus Melvin stayed out of foul trouble today. And Melvin's the leading rebounder in our league and he always finds a way to get those big ones, including the big last one, and he knocked down the two free throws to put us up three possessions. Q. Can you talk about with the first two Kansas games going to overtime, now the job shifts and Oklahoma's in the rearview mirror, but what do you talk to those guys about in terms of checking emotion or energy, or how do you want to prep them for that game? It will be pretty anticipated. COACH HOIBERG: It's going to be a fun game. The first two especially for Kansas were very fun. For us, obviously we came on the losing end, but they were entertaining games. And we gotta find a way to get some stops against those guys. McLemore went off on us the first time around, and Elijah Johnson had about as good a eight-minute stretch as you could play plus the overtime. We're going to continue to play the same way. Try to come out there and find a way to get a win. Our guys, they'll be ready for it. I know some of them played a lot of minutes today, but you get another opportunity to play Kansas. Our guys will step up, and I'm confident we'll play well. Q. You've seen Will play through struggles quite like that before and come through on the other side? COACH HOIBERG: That's the best I've seen Will. In fact, I was going to take him out, and he's saying, Coach, I'm feeling it, I'm feeling it, so go for Tyrus. We took Tyrus out and kept Will in and he responded with a big shot. Will said that to me one other time this year, and that was against Baylor. And that's the game he went off, so I decided to go with it and stayed with Will. Not only that, but he kept us -- kept alive some offensive rebounds, went out and had three big ones that led to some baskets. Just, again, made big-time plays, not only scoring the basketball, but also making plays for his teammates. THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach. FastScripts by ASAP Sports

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