Des Moines, Iowa Kansas University basketball coach Bill Self loved his team’s feisty attitude at halftime of Saturday’s 73-61 second-round NCAA South Regional victory over UConn in Wells Fargo Arena.
The squad’s veteran players were animated despite leading, 44-24.
“It has a different feel to me, basically most of the year, because these guys played lights out the first half and at halftime they are chewing on each other because a couple possessions they didn’t execute right. I think that’s good,” Self said of his veteran team.
“I don’t think guys who have been in the program nine months have the same feel because these guys (veterans) have been through the last two years and not advanced out of this (second) round. I think that’s good. I think it probably seems more special because of all the time they’ve invested.”
Self spoke to junior guard Frank Mason III in the tunnel at halftime. Mason had two points, three turnovers, four assists at the break and finished with eight points off 1-of-8 shooting with four assists, four turnovers and five rebounds.
“I don’t know that that was encouragement, because we called a play and he threw it to the wrong side, and we couldn’t run it the way that it’s set up to run by him throwing it to the side, and I was just trying to tell him that, you know, you’ve got to get your head into it,” Self said.
“He wasn’t bad today by any stretch, I’m not saying that, but I didn’t think when things kind of went a little bit south for him personally, not our team, but for him personally, I thought he quit being aggressive and lost a little focus so we were just trying to get him back.”
Self continued on the topic of Mason.
Kansas basketball coach Bill Self, as well as Jayhawks Perry Ellis and Wayne Selden Jr., answer questions from media members following the Jayhawks' 73-61 victory over Connecticut, which advanced KU to its first Sweet 16 since 2013.
“Frank is one of those guys when things aren’t going well he can focus in on making it a personal confrontation as opposed to thinking, ‘Hey it’s not my night, but I’m going to make sure I do things in other areas.’ He’s a little stubborn. I’m glad he’s our stubborn guy,” Self said.
“The strange thing is Devonté (Graham, 13 points) was on, Wayne (Selden Jr., 22 points) was on, Perry (Ellis, 21 points) was on ... Frank, that was about as poor offensively a game as he’s had. We’ve got to get him back next week obviously.”
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