March 18, 2010
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19/21  BAYLOR (27-6) 68, NR/NR  SAM HOUSTON STATE (25-8) 59
NEW ORLEANS ARENA • NEW ORLEANS, LA.
MARCH 18, 2010
An interview with:
Head Coach Scott Drew: Sorry I'm late. He we haven't won a tournament game in a long time. I know there are happy players in there.
I thought Coach Marlin did a tremendous job. His team did a tremendous job. Obviously the triangle and two affected us. We had the looks we wanted. We felt comfortable. Out of the shots we took, I think next time we're in that situation, we'll be a little better off. But I thought their defense was good. I think the story, though, was our defense. I think they're a tremendous offensive team. Ranked ninth in the country in scoring. Had 18 threes against Kentucky, 15 threes against Auburn, and we hold them to 6 and 33 percent shooting.
So clearly our defense won us the game today.
MODERATOR: Questions for the student athletes.
Q. You got your fourth foul there. Head Coach Scott Drew got a technical. Looked like you were walking around with the ball, your level of frustration. Could you talk about what was going on in your mind right then and it was kind of like you settled down and played well the rest of the game?
LaceDarius Dunn: Well, the momentum. Usually I get caught up in those situations and I probably would have got a tech, too. But just knowing the points in the game, knowing we're trying to get the victory.
Like I said, I just calm do you understand and took the shot that was given to me and made the best of them.
Q. Can you talk about the start of the game? It looked like you guys might have been a little nervous.
LaceDarius Dunn: No, I thought we were just shocked. We never faced nothing like that. When we got out there and faced them we were like wow what are we going to do. So it just took us time to calm down and execute. Take time off the clock, and really get in there and make the best of it.
Q. Can you talk about what they're doing so well to contest you for the majority of the game in the last two and a half minutes? You went off for eight points. What happened during that stretch?
LaceDarius Dunn: I started the game. They did a great job of not letting me even touch the ball. So I was trying to do little things to get us going. Passing the ball, screening for Ekpe to get him open and get him good looks.
At the end of the game, we did a better job just executing and me getting to the right places, being there at the right time and just making the shots.
Q. Looked like you were getting a lot of open shots or even working for a lot of open shots. Were you finding a lot of holes in their defense? Because you were pretty steady the whole game?
Ekpe Udoh: Yeah, we've never seen a triangle and two. The way they had it, we split the top man. So whoever caught the ball in between the top man had a chance, you know, to make an opportunity for themselves.
So I just stayed aggressive, you know, had confidence in my team. We pulled it out.
Q. That run at the end started with your backhand pass down to Quincy. Did that serve at all to get you going? After that I think you scored the next three or four baskets.
LaceDarius Dunn: Well, we knew once Quincy get a dunk or do something crazy on the floor, it would get all of us going. I just knew we had to get him involved. We were trying to get a dunk to him during the game, but we couldn't get it. We knew we just had to take our time and just get going. And once he started to get his dunks, it got all of us going.
Q. Do you have a big sigh of relief after pulling out that win?
Ekpe Udoh: Oh, man, just joy in my heart, man. Thanks to God. But, whew, that was close. Sam Houston, that's a great team. Great coach. And no pain down the stretch. It's tourney time. You've just got to be ready.
Q. They always say the first game of the tournament is the toughest, maybe nerves, expectations and so forth. Do you feel like after this one going into Saturday maybe a little more relaxed, more settled?
Ekpe Udoh: Yes, sir. I mean, first game, you know, not many of us have been in this position, been to the tournament. I think it's just three. So it's good to finally get the first game out of the way. Now we can just stay aggressive, you know, try to pull them off.
LaceDarius Dunn: Basically the same thing, you know. Like we said, you're only as good as your last game. So we're going to take this victory and we're not going to celebrate too good on it. But we're just going to go, like I said, come out the next game, and hopefully all the butterflies will be gone from me. I had them a little bit out there being my first game in the tournament, even though I've been here. But, like I said, on Saturday it will probably be a little more smooth.
Q. You're heavy favorites. You're playing a team from a smaller conference. You're the big seed and people are predicting you'll go far in the tournament. Did that have an affect on you this week in preparation? Did you get nervous because it was such a close game?
Ekpe Udoh: No, if we would have gotten nervous, we would have lost the game. We understand 65 teams in the tournament. Everybody can beat anybody. So, you know, we just came in. Even though it was crunch time, you know, we call it Kobe time. So we just buckled down, stayed aggressive and pulled out the win.
LaceDarius Dunn: Basically the same thing. Even though we was ranked high and they was ranked lower than us, we didn't look over them at all. We knew we had to prepare for them just like we prepare for anybody else.
I think the coaches did a good job of getting us prepared, going through the things that they do well, and the things they don't do well. But I just think we just did a great job and just came out and played today.
Q. They got a lot of mileage in the first half going to the high post to Gilberto. In the second half you guys seemed to do a better job with that. What kind of adjustment was made there?
Ekpe Udoh: You know, as the postman in the middle of the zone, we just started to step up more, you know, as a contested shot. So I think once we started to do that, I think I only scored six points in the second half, couple of them late. So I think we did a great job figuring out what they were doing.
Q. You've only been here three years. But first tournament win for Baylor in 60. Is that a little weight off your shoulders there?
LaceDarius Dunn: Exactly. You know, I think it's more weight off anybody's shoulder that they're a part of Baylor. But to come in and get this victory, it was awesome. We knew it had been a long time since they got it. But I think we did a great job of just coming in and I guess just cutting the streak.
Q. When you talked yesterday about going to Baylor partly to help build something, was this moment the kind of moment you had in mind when you talked about that?
LaceDarius Dunn: Well, yes. This is what we played for the whole year, to get to the tournament. But not only just to get here, to advance. Like I said, we came out today to advance through this game. So we're just looking forward to Old Dominion and preparing for them.
Q. You didn't play your best in the first half. What from this game can you take away into the next game and into the future to improve? Some adjustments that you would make?
Ekpe Udoh: I don't think he we need any adjustments. I mean, if you look at the sheet defensively, you know, if we stay with our principle. We held them to 33.8 percent. That's a big deal with us.
So if we keep that going, shots are going to fall. Shots are going to fall. But if we keep our defense up, we can win any game. LaceDarius Dunn: Basically, you know, what he said. But just for me, just knowing that players are going to play me like that, so I've just got to find another way to score. If it's getting offensive rebounds or getting steals or getting down in transition on the fast break, any little thing just to help my team win.
MODERATOR: Questions for Head Coach Scott Drew.
Q. First win for Baylor in the tournament in 60 years?
Head Coach Scott Drew: Well, I think players really don't think about that stuff until they get asked that question by a bunch of people, then all of a sudden they start to think about it. And it's nice that we don't have to be asked that question again.
Q. Can you talk a little about the atmosphere before the game for you guys? What were they like?
Head Coach Scott Drew: Very excited. Very energetic, ready to go. If anything, probably too hyped. But your first game you're always going to be like that for any NCAA Tournament. I mean, you dream about being in the NCAA Tournament since you began playing basketball. Then when you finally arrive, you're excited, you're ready to go.
And Sam Houston did a great job. Jumped on us early. I think it was 10 3, and we got a little more comfortable then got back in the game.
From there it was, again I want tournament expansion. I think there's a bunch of good teams out there. I think anyone can beat anyone on any given night. So I think people saw this game and realized it was a great game.
Q. When the clock is running down at the end and it's a close game, do you get nervous? They're out there running, but you're not. Do you start thinking about 1950 and the seeds and all that stuff?
Head Coach Scott Drew: No, you don't think about that. But you think about from the standpoint what play are we going to make next because I know the pressure's building. Any time you're a favorite and the underdog is close or winning, it puts more pressure on you. That's human. I'm thinking about that. Who can handle the pressure, who can make a play down the stretch, and who can take care of business. That's how I try to think about it.
Obviously it's a little easier when we got that cushion at the end. But, I mean, like nerves, A.J. Walton has been shooting free throws great, he's 1 for 5. No matter what you say, it takes time to get used to playing in the tournament for a lot of people. Next game he'll be much better from the free throw line, I'm sure.
Q. You referenced the triangle and two. Have you seen that at all this year? What about it was particularly hard to go up against?
Head Coach Scott Drew: Well, I think the thing that was tough is early in the game we turned the ball over a little bit. Then the second thing is we missed some wide open shots. When you're wide open and you miss a shot, it starts to get in your mind. If you hit your first two or three, now it's like, great.
But now when a player is a player, the worst feeling in the world is when they're giving you a wide open shot and asking you to shoot it. I think that got in our heads a little bit. We started to attack a little bit better and went from there.
Q. Can you talk about Lace's last three minutes? They had pretty much shut him down before then, but he really delivered.
Head Coach Scott Drew: I think down the stretch you want your players making plays. I think Tweety and Lace did a very good job throughout the game because they could have come down and forced the issue.
But really the game was pretty simple. Get the ball to Ekpe. Ekpe's like a point forward out there. He's got 20 and 13, 9 for 16, let him either create for somebody or let him score. When we did more and more of that, things got easier and easier for us.
But some players would get frustrated. Especially back home, I've got to score, I've got to do this, and I think they really played within themselves. That's why we won, because they kept playing good defense, too. A lot of players, if their offense is off, that affects their defense, and that didn't happen.
Q. Early on you guys had the warning, I guess, to get back in the box. Looked like you were heated a little bit at some of the calls early on. Were you
Head Coach Scott Drew: Discussions.
Q. Discussions. How overanxious were you or eager to play this game? Were you just as hyped as the players maybe?
Head Coach Scott Drew: I was definitely excited. But I think all coaches are going to be who they are. And if you're not, then I think the players read that. So I think the worst thing you can do is try not to be who you are or act different.
Q. Considering the chance you took to take this job and the journey you've been on for these years, bigger moment Bryce's shot or this victory?
Head Coach Scott Drew: Bryce's shot is still bigger, now if we keep winning, then we can talk.
Q. To you?
Head Coach Scott Drew: To me, definitely Bryce's shot. But as we keep winning, if we're fortunate enough to have that happen, then you can ask that question again. But right now that shot because for four years we had dreamed of winning the tournament game. Basically in the game we're down two. So we're going to lose the game. Then you have a miracle shot, you get a chance to coach your brother one more time. I didn't want to see him take his jersey off for the last time. So that was pretty emotional that moment.
Q. It's a tie ballgame going into the last three minutes. Y'all have been in that situation so many times. How much did that help and talk about how Lace kind of stepped up in that last two minute stretch?
Head Coach Scott Drew: I think that's where all teams in this tournament are used to winning close games. If they're not, they wouldn't be here. But I think our league really prepares us for tournament play, and that is close games, tough environments. The last three minutes. I think we had the upperclassmen leadership and experience to obviously take care of business down the stretch.
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