Atlanta — Bill Self spoke so matter-of-factly it wasn't apparent in a 10-minute postgame news conference whether he was happy or displeased with the Jayhawks' 71-66 basketball victory over Georgia Tech on Tuesday at Alexander Memorial Coliseum.
Oh, he was happy, Self confirmed to inquisitive local media members upon exiting the interview room.
"I told them, 'Great win, but we've got a lot of things we've got to tighten up,''' Self said of his postgame message to his players, who saw a 13-point lead with 5:21 left shrink to one in the waning seconds.
"It was a great win. We've won three games now (Georgia Tech, USC, Arizona) that didn't go as scripted. 'Shady' (Darrell Arthur) played five minutes the first half. You tell me Brandon (Rush, 11 points, six boards in 29 minutes) is not going to have a good game and 'Shady' not play (six points in 19 foul-plagued minutes) and we win, I'd take that."
Is it better for his his team to learn how to finish games off now rather than later in the season?
"It is better now," he stated, adding, "You don't coach free throws. You've got to step up and make free throws late. If we did that in the game, other things would not be as magnified."
Robinson said his missing two free throws with :30 seconds left and KU up, 67-64, was unfortunate.
"It's not frustrating. There is concern. You've got to make free throws late," said Robinson, who scored 17 points with four assists and three steals in 33 minutes. "I missed those two, but I might make the next four. It's just a matter of getting them through the net.
"Finishing games," Robinson added, "we've had problems with that in years past. We won, so we can't complain too much."
Sherron Collins did swish a pair of free throws with 8.2 seconds left, boosting a 67-66 lead to three points.
"I was not too rattled," said Collins, who scored 11 points off 4-of-12 shooting and 2-of-2 free throwing. "We needed the free throws, and I made them."
Robinson, who chose KU over Georgia Tech in recruiting, had one of the key three-pointers in a game the Jayhawks made six of 17 to Tech's seven of 19.
He hit a 30-footer with 6:17 left, giving the Jayhawks a 59-47 lead.
"Shot clock was running down. It was at three, so I shot it. It was pretty far out," Robinson said.
He said the Jayhawks simply have to keep working at finishing off teams when they are down.
"We have to stay aggressive," he said.
Or as Mario Chalmers noted: "I would just say keep attacking the rim even if we got a big lead at the end. I think that's how they got back in in the end. We started making turnovers because we weren't being as aggressive as we normally are, so I think that's how they got back in the game."