March 26, 2010
Baylor - 72 An interview with:
St. Mary's - 49
An interview with:
THE MODERATOR: Coach Drew, your opening comments?
COACH DREW: I think, first of all, players really came out and played in front of such a large crowd in the dome, and different environment. I thought they really responded well, and it all started from our defense. Did a tremendous job first half. And I think all the players feel the exact same as I do. We know we're representing the state of Texas. We're representing the Big 12 and Baylor, and we thank everybody for their support tonight because it made a big difference. So we appreciate it.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for the student athletes.
Q. Can you talk about how your guys' defense has improved just over the years that you've been here, and tonight what you guys did in the first half?
LaceDarius Dunn: Well, it came a long way. But like I said, it started with some of us getting on the same page and knowing our goals for the season. We did a great job tonight coming in and stretching our defense, and taking over the three, knowing that they do that the best.
Like I said, we came in and took away the three and made them take twos. So, great job with that.
Q. The St. Mary's guys said yesterday they welcomed the fact that you guys are going to play zone. Did you guys hear that? Did that work into it at all? Do you think you surprise people with the way your zone is able to cover so much of the court?
Ekpe Udoh: No. I mean, we heard that, but we were on to the next one. I mean, we've got 6'10", 6'11", 7 foot down there. You've got Tweety and Lace putting pressure on the ball. I mean, we'll just let the defensive field goal percentages do the talking for us.
Tweety Carter: Same thing. We want to be aggressive in our zone. And coach pushed us to be aggressive all year long. As long as we can do that and make them play in the twos, I think that's playing into our hands.
Q. Seeing that crowd out there mostly Baylor, did that really pump y'all up?
Tweety Carter: Man, that's special. You know, for them to come out and support us like they did all year long, and to see that crowd, it just put another gear in us.
Ekpe Udoh: It's like a home game. I mean, the whole lower bowl seemed like it was all Baylor fans. We just keep this up you know, they don't know this, but we feed off of their energy, so I think we did a great job tonight.
Q. Have you played in an open gym like this and how did you get kind of a good feel for it? Was that in the shootaround or more just coming out tonight?
LaceDarius Dunn: Well, I never played in a gym this big or stadium this big. But shootarounds, I made sure I got up a lot of shots and just trying to get the rhythm and the feel for it. And tonight I think I just came out and did a good job of taking the shots that were there for me and taking the responsibility to knock them down.
Q. Talk about the patience you showed in the offense, especially in the first half. You seldom took a shot early in a possession.
Tweety Carter: When I see Lace come out and hit his first three, Ekpe come out and hit his first jumper. As a point guard you want to get those guys the ball and do whatever it takes to get them the ball. If it takes running the offense through and slowing it up so they can get set so I can get a one on one with Ekpe, one on one with Lace, that's the things I look for when I'm on the floor.
So any time I can get those guys an opportunity to go one and one and iso, I'm going to take that all night.
Q. Do you ever take a shot that's not in traffic and how did you learn to shoot with guys in your face like that?
LaceDarius Dunn: I do. I do sometimes. But just having the confidence that I have just taking the shot and my teammates believing in me. Every time I pass up a shot they always get on me and tell me that's a shot I should have shot. But like I said, them having trust in me and me trusting myself.
Q. At halftime kind of like when you guys were walking off with that big lead, you looked up at the crowd and let out that big smile. Did you ever think after all the scandals around your school that you would be one win away from the Final Four?
Tweety Carter: That was to let them know that I appreciate them. Looking at them and thanking them for coming out tonight. But that's the reason why we came here. That's the reason why we came here to be a part of something special. I keep saying that, but it really means a lot to me, this team, this program.
You know, for us to come out through all the adversity that we've been going through throughout my years here at Baylor, you know, not giving up and staying within ourself, leaning on each other, I think that's the key to us being successful this year.
Q. Following up on the question about being patient, it seemed early in the first half that you guys both felt that you could get whatever you wanted. Was that the way it was and did you see that coming into the game or was that something once you got out there that you felt like, hey, we've got these guys?
Tweety Carter: We come out and just play, you know, with the coach that we have that allows us to come out and be ourselves. It really helps you relax and know that you can make those shots and take them with confidence, not just take them to be taking them. But I always want to come out aggressive. I always want to come out aggressive and try to set the tone early and win the first meeting. I think we did a good job coming out and staying within ourselves. But also being aggressive.
Q. So much was made coming in about you and Omar. But early on it seemed to be more about Omar and Josh Lomers. Can you talk about the job that Josh did? Did you feel that Omar was getting frustrated? Josh actually made him look a little bit small.
Ekpe Udoh: Oh, I mean, Josh is one of the strongest guys in the country. You know what I mean? We didn't listen to any of that talk, man. We know how good we are. And we just came in today. And Josh, like I said, he does a great job. He does all the small things people don't recognize. He just did a great job on the defensive end.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Coach Drew.
Q. After St. Mary's beat Villanova on Saturday, Jay Wright said the Gaels could play in the Big East. After tonight do you think the Gaels could play in the Big 12?
COACH DREW: Most definitely. Anybody that makes it into the NCAA Tournament is a quality team. And anybody that makes it to the Sweet 16 can play anywhere in the nation with anybody in the nation.
Tonight we just have to give credit to our players, they really came out, were focused, energized, and defended extremely well, and made a lot of shots early on. So I think it was more what our players did, and, again, I think it was because of the respect. We knew how good St. Mary's was, and we knew we had to have our best game to beat them.
Q. Can you talk about the job that Josh did? He just seems like he gets excited on matchups like that against other big guys.
COACH DREW: Well, I think Josh is one of those guys that our players know how physical and strong he is in practice every day. And it's just great when he gets to bang with other people instead of always ours. But any competitor's going to rise up to a challenge. And I know our bigs were excited because we know just how good Omar is.
Q. Can you talk a little bit about the job your guards did on their outside shooters?
COACH DREW: I think the guards, what make's St. Mary's such a good team, like any Sweet 16 team, they have inside outside. We really did a tremendous job on the shooters. And because we did such a good job on the shooters, it put a little more pressure on the inside. Again, when we got a lead, it's tough to come back making twos over 7 foot, 6'10", 6'10".
Q. Your team did so many things well. Can you share with us what you did well that you're most proud of?
COACH DREW: Clearly the defensive field goal percentage. When you hold a team as good as St. Mary's to 35% field goal defense, you're doing something well. The other thing, 41 29, we've been Top 10 in the nation rebounding most of the year. The last couple of games we haven't rebounded as well as we'd like, and I was pleased with that. And then we took care of the ball. 14 assists, 7 turnovers. Tremendous execution.
Q. Can you just talk about your defense in the first half tonight and how it's kind of been night and days from years past?
COACH DREW: I think again, big difference is we have more size, more length. Last year we had Lace as our second tallest player at the end of the game. Now he's the second smallest. Just that size, length, Ekpe Udoh's done a tremendous job obviously. Defensively broke the Big 12 block shot record for single season, and that stood for 12 years. Players get all the credit. Just more size and length.
Q. Talk about the first five minutes of the game where your defense set the tone for the rest of the game?
COACH DREW: Well, early on we knew we had to come on out and play well. As a coach you're always concerned when you're in a big arena like this where we haven't been in a dome before. And I think we were able to get some stops and then get some easy ones in transition. Then that gave us confidence, and we were able to roll from there.
So the first five, ten minutes, very, very pleased with how we performed.
Q. One victory from the Final Four. How much do you allow yourself to think about that?
COACH DREW: I'm not thinking about the Final Four. I'm thinking about the next opponent and focusing on that. I think that's what our players will do. All year long we've had great upper classman leadership. I know, again, you've got to focus on the game and not the other stuff.
Q. At the end of the half, I'm not sure if it was one play or just the excitement of having that lead, but I saw you kind of pump your fist and clap for the fans. Can you talk about the impact they made in tonight's game?
COACH DREW: Big impact, and that's why I was applauding them, because they did a great job getting us ready to go, and great job encouraging us. I mean, when you have fans supporting you like that, it's so much easier to give that extra effort.
I know how appreciative our players were, and I think that's why they responded so well with the first half like we did.
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