Big 12 Tournament: Baylor Presser

The transcript of Thursday's post game press conference, featuring Baylor head coach Scott Drew and athletes Taurean Prince and Royce O'Neale, provided by ASAP Sports...

THE MODERATOR: We are ready to begin with the Baylor Bears, Coach Scott Drew, and student-athletes, Royce O'Neale and Taurean Prince. Coach, we will call on you first. Congratulations.

COACH DREW: We knew coming in that any game you play was going to be a war and playing on one or two possession games and you've got to operate late and I thought our guys did a great job operating down the stretch. Having a senior point guard and a senior like Royce O'Neale leading us and two juniors, Rico and T.P. that did a really good job keeping everyone focus and making sure we operated properly down the stretch.

Credit our guys for grabbing rebounds and not letting them get second and third opportunities down the stretch and contesting threes, because they made a ton early on.

Q. Taurean, talk about that play where you had the breakaway, kind of lost the handle on it and looked like you were going out of bounds and found Rico for the dunk.

TAUREAN PRINCE: I just lost the ball. Gotta be ball strong. As I was going out-of-bounds, I whipped my head around and saw Rico coming down the middle and shot it to him and he made a great play.

COACH DREW: It's hard to miss that big body!

Q. Taurean, you guys seemed to pick up the defense in the second half, got some big steals, were y'all being more aggressive or what was going on?

TAUREAN PRINCE: We got a little bit more focused than we were the first ten minutes of the game, flew around more, closed out and went inside and rebounded the ball, just active with our hands and got fast breaks. Credit to Lester, Royce and Kenny, they did a good job of operating fast breaks toward the end of the stretch and we came out with the win.

Q. Royce, Coach talked about it, but y'all's poise down the stretch, a one-possession game last five minutes, talk about what you were able to do there?

ROYCE O'NEALE: Starts with me and Kenny being seniors, with the help of T.P. and Rico being juniors, and we had to keep everybody poised and Isaiah stepped up off the bench when we got in foul trouble so you never know who is going to step up but we had to steady it as a team.

Q. Royce, I believe the last count was you had 12 baskets in the second half. Ten of those were assisted baskets. What's it say about this team not only in this game but I guess throughout the season?

ROYCE O'NEALE: That we're all unselfish guys, really, we love playing with each other because we're always going to find the open person. Our main goal is to get to the paint, penetrate, find an open person for an open shot. You might have a good shot, but somebody else might have a better one.

Q. Taurean, you guys have beat ten West Virginia pretty handily the first two times. This was a much more competitive game. Is that what y'all expected?

TAUREAN PRINCE: Most definitely. We expect that in every game we play. The first two times, it was pretty -- those were tough games, too, we just kind of caught a run at the end, the very end.

They're a tough team, they play very hard, tough team to outrebound, but we did what we needed to do tonight and we came out with the win.

Q. For both of you student-athletes, I was curious, you guys are probably in the moment, but in the back of your mind are you aware that you might have a chance to be playing your way into a four seed, three seed, maybe a chance to be in the Houston regional going forward, things like that that might factor into it if you have a good tournament?

ROYCE O'NEALE: Right now we're focused on the Big 12 tournament, taking it one game at a time. After the tournament, we will look at that.

TAUREAN PRINCE: Same what he said, just focusing on what team we have next. You can't look forward because you have got some good teams in the Big 12 and we've gotta prepare for them and not think about the future.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you to the student-athletes. Congratulations.

Q. In what ways did Bob's decision to have to sit out Juwan Staten and Gary Browne affect your preparation from playing them a third time?

COACH DREW: Well, the last time we faced 'em, both of them sat out, and I think we all saw when they played Kansas how they played Oklahoma State, Coach Huggins did a great job getting them ready and adjusted. Obviously every coach would like to have all your players and ready to go and I'm sure if they would have been ready to go, he would have played them. Hopefully they will be ready to go for the NCAA, because I know how much that means for the seniors.

Q. Scott, on Ish, was that a foul situation or were you hoping to get him minutes like that playing back home?

COACH DREW: I think he earned them. He did a tremendous job in the minutes that he had. He had 7 points, 6 rebounds, in 15 minutes, and a steal. We had foul trouble and he was playing well so it made it easy to play him longer.

Q. You guys have played in so many tight situations down the stretch where it comes down to one or two shots. Are you used to that by now and how gratifying is it to see them constantly perform under pressure the way they did today?

COACH DREW: That's the great thing about playing in the Big 12, when you play 91% of the conference games involving a ranked team, if you're going to win, they're probably going to be close games. A lot of different styles, so hopefully this prepares us all for the NCAA Tournament.

But in the meantime definitely you have gained experience throughout the year. Playing in hostile arenas in front of tough crowds, you have to learn how to play in tough situations and, again, it helps when you have a senior point guard like Kenny Chery.

Q. Coach, they were shooting the ball well. How were you able to adjust?

COACH DREW: That was a big thing, they made six, threes in the first half, 11 for 9, and we were up 2 points. So you had to feel good about that situation. We shoot a lot of threes, we're the best three-point percent shooting team for threes in the Big 12 and showed them we could win other ways. We outscored them in the paint 40-20. Against Coach Huggins' team that's hard to do because they're a tough team.

Q. Third time I think you've beaten a team, three times in one season. How tough is that to do?

COACH DREW: It's tough beating anybody, let alone a team as good as West Virginia, I think they got, what, nine losses on the year? That's tough to beat them, period.

Q. Scott, you guys handled their press again really well, ten turnovers, what's the key?

COACH DREW: Royce, Kenny, Lester did a tremendous job and then everybody else who contributed with that, but predominantly those three, they did a very good job.

Q. Scott, you talked about it a little bit, but the defense down the stretch, I think you held them to zero field goals in the last six and a half minutes, but the back-to-back turnovers, how critical was that to separate?

COACH DREW: Huge, because it's one thing to get a turnover, it's another thing to get a turnover and a conversion. And for us to get easy baskets, keep the momentum, that puts more pressure on the other team, so those are huge plays.

Q. Coach, how do you -- now that you're going into tomorrow, winner of Kansas/TCU, how do you prepare for tomorrow with who you think you might play?

COACH DREW: That's the great thing about the Big 12, doesn't matter who you play you're in for a battle, playing each team twice, you know a lot about them. We'll find out who wins, I'm just hoping for a five overtime game. (Laughter.)

THE MODERATOR: Thanks, Coach.

Transcript courtesy ASAP Sports.


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