Ray Harper post-game comments

WKU head coach Ray Harper speaks to the Toppers during the second half of WKU’s 83-87 overtime loss against the University of Arkansas Little Rock Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014 at Diddle Arena in Bowling Green, Ky.

Herald Sports Staff

WKU men’s basketball coach Ray Harper praised his team for their ‘persistence’ after an 82-77 2OT win over Arkansas State Saturday night in Diddle Arena.

“That’s how you win games like this, you’ve got to pay attention to detail. You have to execute in late game situations. This game could have gone either way. The persistence that these young men showed today, I think, tells you a lot about them. Especially after a tough loss on Thursday, there’s a lot of teams that couldn’t do what we did today.”

“I don’t ever think it could have been a must win game. I told them I thought this could have been a defining moment in your season. Who are you? I’m constantly talking to kids – sometimes when you’re winning everything is good. Every player is good and every coach can handle it when it’s good.

Who are you and what are you about when things aren’t going well. You’re never as good as people tell you you are when you’re winning, and you’re never as bad as you are when they tell you you are when you’re losing. It’s about grinding, it’s about working, it’s about getting better. And teams that do that over the course of a season will continue to get better. It’s why we’ve played in the last two NCAA tournaments because they believed and they worked.

Will we do it again? I don’t know, but I’ll tell you the two things we’ll continue to do. We’ll continue to grind and we’ll continue to work every day. If it’s meant to be, then it’s meant to be. But we will never take shortcuts. We’re all about hard work here. Was Thursday’s loss tough? Absolutely. We may have another tough one before the season’s over, but I bet you we don’t quit.

We’re going to keep fighting, and if my teams do that, I’ll be proud of them one way or the other. I’m not going to let a scoreboard define who my teams’ are. I tell them, ‘don’t worry about wins and losses, worry about the process. Worry about playing hard, worry about competing. Do that and you’ll be successful not only here, but long after you leave here’.

That’s what college basketball is all about.”