12/11 BAYLOR (27-7) 82, NR/RV USC (26-10) 78
March 19, 2017
BOK Center (Tulsa, Okla.)
BAYLOR POSTGAME QUOTES
COACH DREW: Well, I thought coming into this game both teams, very similar, great players, very resilient. They were one of the last to lose in the country; we were one of the last to lose in the country. Both of us playing so well, being down, and I actually joked with Andy, I said, Do you want to be up at halftime? He said, No, no, we like being down.
We knew it was going to come down to the last couple of minutes of the game, who could make the key defensive stops, and I thought we really did a better job executing down the stretch when it mattered most.
Q. Manu, you were scoreless until the last five minutes of the game and then you scored 12 points. What was happening? Is looks like you were just kind of determined to take over at that point.
Manu Lecomte: I just had to pick it up. I was struggling a little bit in the first half. So I just had to pick it up. And my teammates and my coach did a great job just -- they kept believing in me. They kept me in the game. They trusted me with the ball in my hands, so I just had to go out there and make plays?
Q. Manu, on that four-point play, talk me through that and did he hit you on the arm or what happened on that play?
Manu Lecomte: Yeah, he hit me on the arm when I shot the three. It was a great drive by Ish. I was wide open, top of the key, just a great pass by Ish.
Q. Manu, until that three-pointer you were 0-6. Where was the confidence coming from to take that shot in that situation?
Manu Lecomte: Just hard work. I know I'm a great shooter, you know, and today I couldn't hit a shot. But like I said, my teammates kept trying to find me when I was open. They kept believing in me. I just gotta shoot when I'm open.
Q. Johnathan, when you fouled out, you kind of stayed on the court for it seemed like a few minutes. You were talking to your teammates. Take me through that moment and what was going on right there emotionally maybe.
Johnathan Motley: It was tough because I know my teammates wanted me out there, and I wanted to be out there. And I felt like me out there, we had a good chance to win. And they were just coming up and telling me, man, we got you, we got it, we got it. We're going to finish this game. And they did and I'm thankful for them.
Like I said, we have complete trust in each other. I have complete trust in them and they got it done for me.
Q. King, just talk about your hot shooting, especially in the first half. What was the key for you?
King McClure: I think the key for me was my teammates and my coaches. Before the game they told me to be aggressive and take shots. And Mot had the ball first play and kicked it out to me. He trusted in me and believed in me, and I knocked down the shot. And when your teammates believe in you like that, it gives you all the confidence in the world. And I just credit that to my teammates and my coaches and just believing in me and telling me to be aggressive, keep shooting, don't stop shooting. When you know you have people behind you, you can do a lot of things, and as a result, I was able to go out there and put on a good performance.
Q. Johnathan, you kind of were struggling with foul trouble through most of the game. Can you talk a little bit about how King and Terry stepped up and kind of helped the team out when you were struggling?
Johnathan Motley: Yeah. I think I had all my fouls in the second half. That was pretty crazy. I was just kind of like playing too uptight, I guess. I was just trying to do everything, move everywhere. And they stepped up just like they did in the first round, you know.
Terry is a great player, and we know what he's capable of. And like I said, once King hit that first one, it was clockwork from there. We all told him just keep shooting and knocking them down and that's what he did. And man, we just love each other so much and without the whole team putting in something, we wouldn't be right here. It takes a team to win, and that's what we showed today.
Q. Johnathan, you were a redshirt 2014. Baylor made the Sweet 16. What does it mean to you to get back to that level?
Johnathan Motley: Man, it means the world. Just because I was a part of that team, but I wasn't out there contributing, you know. So it was just a little different. Just being out here and contributing, you know, and out there just making plays for us to get to this point, man, it just means the world to me. And just thankful for having the teammates behind my back and just giving me the confidence to show what I can do.
And just like I said, it takes a team to win. We didn't get here just by me doing what I do. Everybody, everybody put in something. So just thankful for that.
Q. Scott, like they said, it takes a team. That small guard lineup that you went with with Ish, how many times would you have used that and can you just talk about what that group did defensively down the stretch?
COACH DREW: Have we used that at all this year (laughs)? We were saving it. I think, again, I always say the strength of our team is our depth. And as a coach that's a challenge going into each and every game finding out who's having a hot game and who was not.
You look at the last game and it was Al and T.J. coming off the bench. Today King was on fire. And I love his answer because J. Mot saw him wide open, gave him a great assist and trusted him and that got him going.
For us, that's what makes us a good team. Going in, if Mot fouls out, Ish had foul trouble first half, it's not like we just have one player or two players. We have a team. And all season long they've put the team first, it's allowed them to sacrifice. And not every team does that because it's hard to one game not play many minutes and then next game be the star.
The only thing is I told King he was fresh because he didn't play the last game; right? (Laughs).
Q. Scott, eight years, four Sweet 16s. Each team a different motivation, obviously. I'm wondering was there something that you said to them before this game? Is it Xs and Os or like a motivational speech?
COACH DREW: No. There is no speeches at work. Otherwise every coach would use them. It's really about the players and how much they want to sacrifice for the team. All year long very simple, great leadership, great chemistry. Great depth, and they deserve all the credit.
Q. Scott, you were talking about Mot was struggling some before those last five minutes. Obviously you had a lot of confidence in him, too. Can you just talk about what he did?
COACH DREW: Every day in practice we all see Manu and practice. He spends a lot of time as long as he's getting good looks, we feel great because we know more are going to go in than not. What I was happy with was the first half. He had four assists, zero turnovers and played good defense. So you can affect the game on both ends of the court. You can affect the game if you're not making shots. Manu does a great job feeding the post because people have to close out to him, and that allows J. Mot, T.J., Jo and them to get good looks.
Q. Coach, I saw before the game you had a congratulatory message for Kansas after their win today. And the other day after you guys played in the first round you had a tweet saying Baylor fans cheering for Kansas. Any reason for that?
COACH DREW: No. That's just Big 12 basketball. It's a grind. The last three years we were the No. 1 conference. This year second ranked conference. I know some people say, well, we haven't had as many teams advance in the postseason. If it's not conference time we're cheering for each other. The last time we were in this situation, it was in San Antonio and Iowa State beat North Carolina right before us and we could have two Big 12 teams from there. So we love to see everybody at the Final Four together. Then we won't cheer for each other.
Q. Manu, when you transferred in from Miami, you were hoping for this kind of opportunity. But when the team got to No. 1, I remember you didn't make a big deal of it from a personal standpoint. What does making the Sweet 16 mean to you?
Manu Lecomte: Oh, it's a blessing. I've been in college for three years. I've never made it to a tournament. So it's all new to me. None of this would have been possible without Coach Drew believing in me and his coaching staff and the players believing in me. So I'm just thankful. I used to watch that on TV. Never been able to just play one game in the NCAA tournament. So it's a blessing.
Q. Johnathan, and maybe for each one of the guys, what about just going to Madison Square Garden? What does that mean? That's kind of the mecca of basketball. What does that mean for each of you guys?
Johnathan Motley: Man, it means a lot, you know. Just the history of that place, and to get a chance to go and play there, and especially get a win there, that would mean the world to me. I love the game of basketball, and you know, you dream of moments like this, being able to play in Madison Square Garden. So I'm just thankful for the opportunity and going to take advantage of it.
Manu Lecomte: Like J. Mot says, you dream for a moment like that. It's a huge blessing just to play one game and even better if we get the W. So very thankful for it.
King McClure: Yeah, similar to what my teammates said. As a kid you dream about moments like this and for it to be here is a blessing. We don't take it for granted, and like we said in the locker room, we're not done. So we have more work to do, but it's really a blessing to be able to play in the gym that a lot of people don't get the opportunity to play in.
Q. Scott, you've had an awful lot of good point guards on your Baylor teams. What was it about Manu that you saw when he was looking to transfer from Miami that made you think that he could be that guy and how did that whole situation play out?
COACH DREW: First and foremost, he had a lot of talent. Really could read the ball screen well, could really score it. And we had a lot of point guards who could score it and play off ball screens well that have been successful in our system from Pierre to Tweety to Kenny Cherry to Curtis Jerrells. So he fit that mold.
What I've been really impressed with is his humility. He cares about his teammates. He wants them to do well. I know as a coach we always want coach for our guys. But he's coachable. He wants to get better. He wants to learn. His best basketball is ahead of him. But he's had major improvement defensively since he's been here. He's able to impact the game on that end, so he's doing a lot of really good things. And today, in the last five minutes, he did a lot of good things.
#3 Jake Lindsey, SOPHOMORE GUARD
On the emotions after a win like that...
"It was the happiest feeling in the world. Just winning a game like that with people that you spend every day with, grind with, and face adversity with, there's nothing like it."
On the last few minutes of the game and the change in momentum of the game...
"We didn't play any defense tonight. We got torched defensively. We have a lot of work to do on that end before the next round. We have a really deep team that plays well together. Manu struggled early, but we all knew he had that dog like mentality in him and he scored around ten points in the last few minutes."
On Coach impacting the play on the court...
"Coach is a very animated person. He is very positive. He cares about the team and he is always trying to bring energy. He knows the ups and the downs of the game and it isn't easy to keep it together for 40 minutes. Coach id a terrific job tonight and a lot of credit needs to go to him."
On what they will work on next week...
"We need to figure out how to cover the bigger outside. We need to stay focused and stick to our game plan. Resiliency helped us out tonight and we were able to get the win.
#24 Ishmail Wainright, SENIOR GUARD
On what Sweet 16 means for him...
"It's just a blessing. I told them when I fouled out that it wasn't about me. We made a promise to Mike that we were going to win the game. It's not my last game, so it's a blessing. The guys are feeling good. I am feeling great. I see smiles in here, smiles on y'all's faces, so I am feeling good."
On Manu Lecomte's 4-point play and the run to close out the game...
"It was tremendous. It was crazy. His shot wasn't falling in the first half. We were standing up on the bench when the play was going and the referee was telling us to sit down. We were just yelling out, "Manu, stay positive!" Then half time, I came in here and he was made so I told him, we have a whole second half. Just have fun. He started having fun, hit the big shots, hit the big free throws, and Sweet 16! We are not done yet."
On closing out the game as a senior with two free throws...
"48. That's all I could think about. It's just an inside joke with me and Coach Drew. We spent about an hour after practice shooting and 48 was all I was thinking about. When I got to the free-throw line, I looked at Coach Drew, and you could see him mouth 48. If felt good. I was confident up there and so was TJ, so was Manu."
On winning with Motley only playing a couple minutes...
"He is going to bounce back, but our depth is amazing. Motley goes out, anybody can step up. So it's just one man down, next person's name is called. They stepped up and they played big."
USC POSTGAME QUOTES
COACH ENFIELD: Unfortunately, we came out on the wrong end today. Guys played extremely hard, had a successful season, set a school record with 26 wins. We're very proud of our players and the way they've developed.
And give Baylor credit. They played an excellent game as well. It went right down to the last minute with a two-point game. And we're proud of our players and also I thought Baylor played extremely hard. It was just a great college basketball game.
Q. Andy, you guys have actually thrived or seem to have thrived off of being behind, making rallies, things like that. Did it catch up with you today, specifically the way Baylor was able to pull away?
COACH ENFIELD: Well, we took a four-point lead twice with under seven -- six minutes left, and then they went on that run where they made -- they got an offensive rebound there and a four-point play and another basket. So we were right there where we needed to be in the last five minutes and had the lead, but went back and forth.
And when you have two teams that are as evenly matched as our teams were and are, I think there were some runs in this game. It was a five-point game at halftime. That's not a lot. And we came out and eventually took the lead. So this wasn't one of those games where we were way behind. This was a game that was there for the taking if we would have executed down the stretch.
Q. Coach, Motley picked up his fourth foul with about eight minutes left. You guys had just taken, I think, the four-point lead right there. Did you feel like you had them on the ropes and could kind of get some momentum down the stretch there?
COACH ENFIELD: Well, we felt they were playing very well. We made a defensive error and they made a three, and then we came down and made a three that put it back to four and then they came down and scored.
They went small with Motley out of the game, and they relied on some other people and they stepped up. Their point guard stepped up and scored down the stretch, and Maston had a big game.
So when your leading scorer goes out, it's an opportunity for other players sometimes to score the ball, and that's what they did.
Q. Chimezie, just talk about your game. You had a big game there. Just talk about what was working for you.
CHIMEZIE METU: I just felt my teammates were giving me the ball in the right spots and I was just trying to make plays. But I mean, it came down to us getting stops on the other end, and we weren't able to do that. And we fell short.
Q. Coach, just talk about his game and how he helped spark you guys offensively.
COACH ENFIELD: Well, Chimezie was one of the most improved players in the Pac-12 this year for a good reason. You say his skill development, his size, and he's had a tremendous season for us with Bennie Boatwright being out 18 games. In fact, Jordan, the two players here sitting led us -- they're two of our four veterans, even though they're only sophomore and junior, with Elijah Stewart, and then when Bennie went down with his injury. They really led us the entire season. And you saw that tonight. But it's great for players to develop like Chimezie and Jordan.
They've had great careers so far. They've been to two straight NCAA tournaments. They went farther this year than they did last year. And they're the building blocks of our program, and they just have turned into just outstanding players and even better leaders.
Q. Coach, Lecomte had some injuries late in the season. It's been a while since he had an explosive spurt like he had during the last five minutes. But was it part of your game plan to kind of assign somebody to him or look out for what he could do?
COACH ENFIELD: Yeah. He had struggled early, ended up 1 for 6 from the three. The only one he made was when we fouled him in that four-point play. Then he got in the lane a couple of times and he's a good player. I think he's right at his average. He had 12 points and five assists, so that's about right what he averages. He struggled early with a shooting. And like I said, when Motley went out someone else had to step up, and he sure did.