March 28, 2010
THE MODERATOR: Coach, your opening comments.
COACH DREW: These are the hardest press conference of the year always when you have to say goodbye to players that blessed you for their career, and helped make your program. But at the same time we want to thank all the fans. I thought we had a tremendous showing. Did we break the regional record? No, we didn't. But second largest crowd. Want to thank all the state of Texas fans and all the Big 12 fans and all the Baylor fans for cheering for us and being here to support us. We have to give Duke credit. They got big offensive rebounds, they made big threes, 11 for 23. So they won the game, and we wish them good luck.
Q. Obviously the offensive rebounds were a key. Were they just a real physical team or how do you explain that?
Ekpe Udoh:: I mean, they just went after it. Can't really explain it. They did a good job. Lance Thomas had 8. Just, I don't know, we just couldn't keep them off the glass. It hurt us because they were getting kickout threes.
Q. Your production fell off a little bit in the second half. It seemed like in the half court game you all were struggling a little bit to find your shots. Can you just talk about maybe that seven minute span where you guys didn't get a field goal?
LaceDarius Dunn:: Well, just got to give credit to the Duke defense. They pressured us and really took us out of our comfort zone and allowed us not to run our offense, you know. But like I said, a lot of great things happened, but a lot of great things didn't. I just give them credit for their defense.
Q. I know this is a tough moment, but when Smith had the one free throw and then got the three pointer for the four point possession, how big of a swing of momentum was that? Overall, Duke's defense, how much did they frustrate your offensive rhythm? Not yours, but the team's.
Tweety Carter: Credit to them. Like Lace just said. They came out, they executed well. They got kickouts to great shooters. Credit to their shooters, they knocked down shots in this game. You know, it's tough when you're playing defense for 30 seconds and they get a kickout three. You know, they made big shots. They made big shots and credit to them.
Q. You guys were up two, Quincy got a baseline drive and they called the charge. How big a play was that? If he would have scored you guys would have been up four. How big a play was that?
Ekpe Udoh:: I mean, it wasn't that big. I mean, you know, the ref made the call. We didn't get the stop. If we would have gotten the stop, it wouldn't have been as big.
Q. You guys came to this game and you had a swagger. I know a lot of people were like: This is Duke and you should be intimidated. You guys had incredible swagger on the court. Can you talk about that approach to the game?
Tweety Carter: You know, God blessed us all this year. Even with this loss, we felt like we gave everything we had. You know, we didn't come out on top, but we know that this Baylor team fought all this year. Through ups and downs, and people doubting us, you know, we fought. But we've been playing this way all year long. Credit to them. They came out and they won the game.
Q. Just talk about your experience not only in the tournament, but your time at Baylor and what impact it's had on your life?
Tweety Carter: I'd like to just thank God for this opportunity. You know, I learned a lot. I learned a lot all four years here. It's not over for this program. It's not over for this team. You know, we're a family. We're going to always keep in touch. You hate for it to end as far as you playing this year. You know, we worked to make it to the Final Four and win the National Championship, but, you know, it didn't go that way. But God blessed us all this year, man. And we're just thankful for this opportunity that we got today.
Q. Can you just talk about how proud you are of what all the team did this year?
LaceDarius Dunn:: Well, I'm definitely proud of the team and the things that we have accomplished this year even though, you know, we didn't want this to be our ending point, but things happen. Just throughout this year the team just really pulled together and did some things that the outsiders didn't think we could do. You know, being picked 10 in the Big 12, making it to the Elite Eight, getting to play a great team like Duke going to the Final Four. It's been a great season. Like I told my teammates, like Tweety said, it's not over for this program. It's not over for this team. I just think we had a great season. I think my teammates should hold their head up high and be proud of the things they've accomplished this year.
Q. Just kind of the same thing. It's got to be really tough to see this great run end for y'all.
Ekpe Udoh:: I mean, it all started in the summer. Nobody thought we had something special coming together. You know, we all just came together and we loved each other. You know, we fought each other. We made it to the Elite Eight. I mean, I've never been to the tournament. This is a great experience. We thank God, but there it is.
Q. I think Singler was held without a field goal, unless he got one late there, and Jon Scheyer had some problems. But what was Nolan Smith? What did they do to enable Nolan Smith to get free for his big game?
Tweety Carter: You know, kickouts. The kickouts. He made big shots. Penetration, you know. He made floaters. You know, they just played well all around. Singler didn't have his best game, but he gets an opportunity to play again. You're only as good as your last game. So, you know, he's going to come out and hopefully he'll play well in the next game. But he did some great things tonight defensively. Rebounded, knocked down free throws. So I mean, he got the win, so he lives to play another day.
Q. Playing on this stage, actually the way Reliant was and how the crowd was for you and what Coach Drew means to you?
LaceDarius Dunn:: Starts with the fans. Bringing the fans here and making us feel like we were at home. I give all the credit to them. They've been behind us the whole season and just cheering us on. Like I said, they did a wonderful job of coming from behind and being with us. And Coach Drew, a great coach. Like I said before, I wouldn't trade him for anything. But he really just pulled this team together and made this a special team. Like I said, people didn't think it would be. But I think he did a great job of coaching us this year, and getting us the points that we need on and off the court. Like I said, you know, good luck to him throughout his career here. And he did a great job. He should hold his head up as well. Great season. THE MODERATOR: Questions for Coach Drew.
Q. The players were asked about the point there in the second half when I think he missed seven straight field goals. The game was still close, but at the time did you feel there was an opportunity there? I mean you had a couple I know Tweety had three that kicked out, Ekpe had a look down low that kind of rolled off the rim. Was it a feeling that hey, we're missing an opportunity to get a little distance?
COACH DREW: Well, I think if you look at the stats, we shoot 46%, they shoot 36. I think we take that. You look at the turnovers, we have 11, they have 11. 14 11. They played great defense. You take that, you're happy with that. The big thing is the free throw line. We only shot 63%, and that's uncharacteristic in conference play. We've shot better, in postseason we've shot better. They shot close to 80%, that's what wins you close games. And second chance points is the big thing. If you take away those second chance points, we haven't lost a game by more than 7 points all year long. The 7 points is the difference right there. We hit our free throws, we don't give them second chance points, they shoot 32% from the field, and different story.
Q. Do you think the season that your program has had effectively buries the past and focuses now on Baylor's future?
COACH DREW: I really hope so. I really feel it has. I do really want to thank all the fans in the state of Texas, because I really thought they came on and supported us. I thought Baylor Nation supported us, and that was great because it's been a long time coming and we needed that. And that was super, and I'm really proud of that.
Q. From the expectations you guys had at the beginning of the year, how proud are you of your senior leaders like Tweety and Josh Lomers and guys like that?
COACH DREW: Can't put it into words what they've done for the school, what they've done for the team, what they've done for the program. To see they're both going to graduate, both have grown spiritually. That's what college athletics is about.
Q. Can you talk about the fact that your team basically stood face to face with the big bad Duke and did not show any kind of intimidation and stuck with them throughout the whole entire game?
COACH DREW: I've said this before, and I'll say it again. I'm just very blessed as a coach to have an opportunity to coach young men that all year long have done great job leading the team with their upperclassman leadership. Coaches coach a lifetime and might not have a team like that. Tremendous leadership, and they deserve all the credit and why we achieved what we did was clearly because of them.
Q. It's kind of a back and forth game. Y'all were up one and they go on a 12 1 run. What was the difference down the stretch there?
COACH DREW: I know there were a couple of key plays like there are in every game, and Duke made them. They slid over, took a big charge. If they don't slide over, take charge, you go up four, you go up five. Then you rebound the missed free throw. That's a big swing. As a coach, Duke won the game. They shot 47, 48% from three. If you look at the number, Jon Scheyer was struggling coming in. He made shots. And Nolan Smith, 4 for 6, he made shots. As a coach, it's a lot easier when the other team earns it than when you just give it away. Again, we only had 11 turnovers. Anyone coming in would have said if you can hold them to 36%, you're going to do that. So I really felt they won the game and we didn't lose it.
Q. Could you just talk about how tough a loss this was for you personally considering how you've seen these guys grow together on the court and off the court?
COACH DREW: The toughest part of every season is always just the thought that it's the last time you're going to get a chance to coach the team, and last chance they're together. That's always the toughest, especially when it's been a real close team, and a team that obviously has done wonders for our program and the school.
Q. How was Nolan able to break down your zone so well?
COACH DREW: Well, I think you really have to credit it's a team game. You can't stop everybody. Duke has multiple weapons. Some games someone's going to rise up and we all know about the big three. Today he was the one, and Jon Scheyer rose up and we did a good job controlling Singler. But those two got loose and a lot of it was because of the offensive rebounds.
Q. Reflect on the commitment in this particular group, when did it get started to get to this point?
COACH DREW: Clearly after last season when we lost the NIT Championship game, at that point the upperclassmen and leaders said, Hey, next year let's do something special. And they knew expectations would be low and people wouldn't believe. But they said, We're going to go out and we're going to do something. They put in the work over the summer with our strength coach. They did a great job in open gyms. They always talked about how tough they played open gym games. Again, great chemistry. Coaches can't deliver chemistry. That comes from players. We're fortunate enough that the players had it this year. God blessed us, we didn't have any injuries this year, any major injuries. Just had a great year.
Q. You talked about the seniors. Does this class maybe mean a little bit more given what they bought into coming here than others you've been around?
COACH DREW: Whenever you break the school record in number of wins and set so many firsts and when they've been around for four years and Tweety Carter was the first McDonald's All American. He took the chance on the school, took a chance on Baylor University. And you're always sad to see those guys go. But the good thing is we had our third straight 20 win season, third straight postseason. Had so many of our past players at the game tonight. That's great to see.
Q. Did you guys get away from your zone? It looked like the beginning of the game you did. Were you running man to man or straight up man to man on them?
COACH DREW: No, that was our zone (laughing). But they did a good job of spreading us out sometimes. I mean, they've got good players. But we just adjusted on our zone. And, again, I mean, most coaches would take 36% defensive field goal percentage.
Q. You huddled them up on the court after the game. What was your message to the team after this game?
COACH DREW: Thanks for asking that question. Because one thing that I really respect about football, for some reason has gotten this right. They always pray after games. Our guys wanted to do that this year, and we prayed after every game. We've always invited the other team. And I just think that's a great way to always finish a game and give honor to God. I wish we'd do that throughout college basketball like they do in football, and high school, college, and pro, they always do it in football. I know we're not that stupid, coaches at college, so we've got to do that. I think that's something we can do.
Q. Can you just talk about how things changed for this program now that you've had this deep run into the tournament? And you're probably not going to catch teams by surprise anymore.
COACH DREW: I think with the last two years with winning and getting to the postseason, people in our crowds are so much better at home now that when people come in, they know they're in for a tough game. I think we've gotten people's better performances because of two years ago going to the NCAA Tournament, last year the NIT. But I think this just brings your program to another level. Whenever you can advance to an Elite Eight, I think people look at you in a different light. Hopefully it will help with recruiting and continue to grow with the fan base and everything else.
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