March 11, 2009
BAYLOR 65 (18-13), NEBRASKA 49 (18-12) 49
FORD CENTER - OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLA.
BIG 12 CHAMPIONSHIP, FIRST ROUND
MARCH 11, 2009
CHARLIE FISS: Okay. We're joined now by the Bears from Baylor. Coach, congratulations on the victory today and we'll call on you first for your thoughts on today's victory.
COACH Scott Drew: I think we really came out focused. We did a tremendous job defensively. Besides turnovers, executed well shooting 53% from the field, 54% from the field. So I'm very pleased with the first game performance and I think our guys are very focused and excited to play.
Q. For Curtis, just talk about what was the difference between today and five days ago.
Curtis Jerrells: We was ready to play. I think we switched it up defensively a little bit. Coach made the coaching adjustment, made the adjustment on defense. We played a little bit of zone. Didn't make many shots. So we stuck with it and we were more patient on offense. We had a lot of turnovers, but that was more on us rather than what they were doing.
Q. What was it about the zone do you think that made them so uncomfortable?
Curtis Jerrells: I'm not sure. I just know their two best guys are pretty much on the inside and the rest of the guys on the outside, I guess they wasn't too much confident. I heard one of them say "shoot the ball with confidence." I guess they didn't make shots. Kevin did a good job of rebounding.
Q. This is for Kevin. Can you talk about the emphasis you guys put on rebounding I think 43-18 was the difference today.
Kevin Rogers: Rebounding has always been the emphasis, especially for a team like us. We are not the biggest team and that's been a focal point of ours the entire year. I'm glad that we were able to finally kind of put it together in the tournament, definitely when we need it.
Q. Kevin and Curtis, if you want to jump in, can you talk about the lift Josh gave you in the first half getting you off to a quick start.
Kevin Rogers: Josh is like the moveable force. Once he is in that vein, it is almost impossible to get him out of there. We knew they were a small team. We wanted to get the ball inside as much as possible and, like I said, once Josh catches it, 4 feet in, you know, it is almost a guaranteed bucket.
Q. Kevin, can you ever recall a time when you single-handedly out rebounded the other team?
Kevin Rogers: (Smiling) not at all. Anything that I can do to help this team win and keep us, you know, playing and trying to get into the NCAA tournament, I'm willing to do.
Q. How important was the start of the second half after they had made the run late in the first half to make it close again and you all pulled it out early in the second?
Curtis Jerrells: It was very important. I think we went up ten in the first half. We kind of relaxed. And then they make a run and we were up one. I look at the scoreboard and it is kind of deflating. But we came in, and like I said, coach made some adjustments. We decided we would be more patient on offense in order to get Josh the ball and start inside. I think we made a run. After we were up ten again, I told the guys, we have been here before and let's just have a different outcome.
And everybody, they bought into it and we went out and got more stops.
Q. What's y'all's attitude coming into the tournament? Are you looking at this as a clean slate after a disappointing conference season?
Curtis Jerrells: Most definitely. We had a team meeting and we discussed it. From this point on, everybody is 0-0. You lose, you go home. We understand that. We just want to come in and our goal is to win, win, win.
Q. Kevin, this situation could well be applied as out of the frying pan, into the fire. On the one hand, you had a great starting game against the Nebraska Cornhuskers. Now you will take on the Kansas Jayhawks. What are your thoughts on taking on the Jayhawks and moving on through the tournament?
Kevin Rogers: You know, obviously Kansas is a great team. Everybody said that they were young and inexperienced. But they have two veteran leaders in Sherron and Cole. That's the heart and soul of the team. So we definitely have to come in with a different level of focus. When we played them at our place, we played them very close. They came out and got some stops and made some buckets. But like Curtis said, this is a new thing. We are just going to come out and get a victory.
CHARLIE FISS: Congratulations, Coach, on your win today. Coach, we'll take questions for you.
Q. Scott, why was that zone so effective today?
COACH DREW: They missed some shots and I think we did a good job contesting shots. When you miss your first couple, then it becomes harder to make them. And because we contested those, they missed a couple.
Then when they had some open ones, it was harder for them to go down. Again, we were very active in it. We didn't give up a lot of second-chance opportunities, which is again an easy way for an offense to get back on track.
Q. Coach, you had one free-throw attempt in the first half, part of a three-point play from Kevin Rogers. In the second half you got to the line 18 times. That was a difference between a three-point lead and a large lead at the end of the?
COACH DREW: Normally the people getting to the free-throw line are the more aggressive ones. We made a conscious effort to take the ball inside and I think we did a better job of that second half.
Again, credit to Josh real came up big because we didn't know if he.
Q. When did you decide to go to the zone? Was it something specifically about the way they played that might make you to decide to do it this time?
COACH DREW: At our place watching on film, we only played zone for a few possessions, but the possessions we played it, it was effective. Looking at that, we were like, well, maybe we need to play that more. Obviously with Josh's ankle situation, it made the situation where you definitely need to play zone if you are going to use them a lot. We wanted to use him.
So again I think it was effective early because we contested some shots. They missed some shots. And we didn't allow them to get second-chance points because -- when you are in a zone, that's one of the weaknesses of zone, is giving up second-chance points. I thought we did a good job of limiting them on that as well.
Q. Did you make rebounding a special point of emphasis? You guys did have two guys taller than anyone in their lineup?
COACH DREW: Kevin wasn't joking when he said -- I mean, every game you go into, rebounding for us is always one of the three keys. I think we were more effective tonight because guys did a good job going hard. They missed shots, so they gave us more opportunities. But again I think our guys were very focused today.
Q. You touched on Josh Lomers a bit ago. Can you talk a little bit about the lift he gave you?
COACH DREW: A little irony in that lift, huh? (Laughter).
If you are going to have a guy that gets a sprained ankle, have it be a guy that doesn't jump very much or use it very much. That way again it didn't effect him as much. Josh did a tremendous job in playing hurt, playing with a lot of heart. Did a great job in the zone, contesting shots, making his presence known in there.
And then on the offensive end, he does a great job posting up. We had a lot of turnovers trying to get him the ball. Otherwise, he would have been a lot more effective. But when you have somebody that you know they have to double team or focus on, it gave other people open shots as well.
Q. Last time against Kansas, you guys did a pretty good job on Cole Aldrich. Can you talk about the matchup tomorrow, what opportunity there is for your time now?
COACH DREW: It is a great opportunity for us. We viewed this conference tournament as -- nonconference was very successful. Our conference we did not finish like we wanted to. Our nonconference was an opportunity to get back to what we were doing.
So every team you play in the Big 12 we know will be tough. Kansas, obviously, they can hurt you inside and outside. Whenever you have two players like Sherron on the outside and Cole Aldrich on the inside, it makes it very difficult. But the shooters they have on the outside also makes it tough when you try to focus or concentrate on Cole Aldrich.
Q. Coach, they kind of took the lead away from you or closed it there at the end of the half. How important was the start of that second half where Lace comes out, hits a three-pointer and then C.J. hits a couple of shots?
COACH DREW: I thought it was huge, especially from the standpoint that you are a team that struggled and have a lead and lose it. Sometimes you can get down and credit our guys for not doing but fighting. And really that second-half run got us going again and from there on out we were good.
Q. How do you prepare to take on a Kansas team for the second time and do it in one day? Can you just talk about that matchup tomorrow.
COACH DREW: The good thing for us because we are a more experienced team, any adjustments you make, normally we have done them -- we have played a certain style, played certain plays in the past. It is a matter of telling them what they are going to do. Because they have experience, it makes it easier to adjust for it. Obviously, preparing against Nebraska was pretty easy, playing them so soon right before.
But Kansas is a team that again we won't change too much of what we're doing.
Q. Obviously, it is a good way to start the tournament with this kind of victory. Do you sense any kind of different feeling with your guys now that you got the conference thing, okay, it didn't work out that well. Second chance for the season you kind of have -- is there a different feel around the team?
COACH DREW: I think when you are struggling in conference, it is kind of like a weight vest and I think anyone that has ever used a weight vest, you put on 10 pounds, you lose a couple games, you put on 20 pounds, lose a couple games. It gets up to 40 pounds, you just can't wait to get the vest off.
I think the conference tournament, you're able to take the vest off and you feel better.