Big 12 Semifinals: Baylor Presser

The full transcript from Baylor's Friday press conference featuring head coach Scott Drew, Kenny Chery, and Rico Gathers, courtesy of ASAP Sports...

THE MODERATOR: We are ready to begin with Baylor University and the head coach, Scott Drew and his student-athletes tonight in the interview room are Kenny Chery and Ricardo Gathers. Coach, we will look to you first for an opening comment.

COACH DREW: I thought defensively we put ourselves into a position to be successful. Rebounding-wise we did as well.

Unfortunately we didn't take care of the ball well enough. Shooting, obviously wasn't good, wasn't pretty, but the turnovers got us, especially in transition. I think we had seven in the first half or way too many, and we are too good of a rebounding team not to give ourselves a chance to get second-chance points off the glass.

Credit Kansas's defense, but I know some of them we did to ourselves, similar to them. I'm sure the 18 that they had, some of those were self-inflicted as well.

Q. Rico, you guys have been playing so well offensively the last couple of games. What do you feel like happened tonight?

RICO GATHERS: I just felt everybody is entitled to a bad shooting night. I guess tonight was one of those nights for us.

If we would have made half of our shots that we took, we would have ended up winning the game. That's just something positive to look at.

Going forward, I just hope we don't have no more shooting nights like that, but that let us know we gotta get better and Coach Drew and the coaching staff will do a good job of making sure we achieve that.

Q. Kenny, are you watching it and just thinking, what's going on out here, with the way the shots weren't falling?

KENNY CHERY: It happens to the best of us, like we said we wasn't making shots today and you can't do nothing about it and just go out there, play defense. We had good stops and we had good execution and we just didn't hit 'em.

Q. Kenny, did Kansas show you anything defensively that they hadn't showed you the first two games? Talking about both the shooting and the turnovers, is there anything you can put your finger on?

KENNY CHERY: They're a good defensively team and we executed what we should have executed. We had some careless turnovers, which they converted into points, and we just gotta take care of the ball.

Q. Rico, you guys play with such confidence normally. Did you guys see this weekend as a chance to make a national statement for yourself and have other people get some confidence in you and feel like you missed that maybe today?

RICO GATHERS: We saw this weekend as a chance to make a statement, a stand for our program. We really wanted to come out victorious for tomorrow and hopefully bring home a Big 12 championship. We fell short.

Just looking forward now, we're trying to win a National Championship and we're going to do a good job of listening to our coaches and going over Xs and Os and stuff like that to see where we can get better so we can make that happen.

Q. Rico, along those lines of going forward, some projections have y'all as a 3-seed, some as a 4-seed, what is the excitement level right now for Baylor getting into this thing and to try to make noise?

RICO GATHERS: The excitement comes from we are one of the first teams to ever go back-to-back NCAA Tournaments. We're not just excited about making the tournament, we're trying to make a run.

Hopefully, you know, we could get a 3- or 4-seed so we will have a better chance to make it to the Sweet 16 and the Elite Eight and hopefully a Final Four.

Q. Kenny, you guys got down 14 early in the second half, cut it to 4, but never could get over the hump. Did you ever feel like if you could catch up and get over the hump that you could kinda get on a roll?

KENNY CHERY: The one thing I can say about this group of guys is we are going to keep fighting. We could be down 30, we're going to keep fighting. We always believe. We were out there playing our best and they was making shots and we wasn't, but we were still fighting.

Q. Kenny, your thoughts on going to the NCAA Tournament? How excited are you?

KENNY CHERY: We're excited and we feel confident. And today was a lesson for us, we're going to watch film and prepare ourselves for the next match-up.

THE MODERATOR: Okay, guys, we will let you go back to the locker room. Thank you and good luck next week.

Q. Scott, clearly shooting-wise that wasn't y'all tonight. So in your mind, do you just sort of automatically disregard what happened tonight and move on? Is there something you take out of this?

COACH DREW: I think, first of all, for both teams neither shot well. Give credit to the defense, the intensity of the game, playing back-to-back nights in the best conference in the country there is fatigue and that affects you physically and you see that in the shots and it also affects you mentally. Make some decisions, take some shots you probably wouldn't take if you were mentally sharp, probably make a couple extra passes.

And then let's face it, shooting is confidence. You miss a couple -- now, normally teams let up on the defensive end. If you shoot this poor against a team as talented as Kansas, most teams lose by 20 plus. Credit our guys for fight and heart to continue to battle.

Besides Kenny, we're 0 for 15 from three. You're not going to win a lot of games when you shoot 32%, and yet you give yourself a chance. If we weren't stuck on 35 or 36 for what seemed like an eternity in the second half, we would have a chance down the stretch.

Q. Coach, how much stock did you put in the weekend for elevating your seed for next week?

COACH DREW: We were encouraged not only by trying to make as good of an impression for our seed because we know the higher the seed the better chance you have to advance and win in the tournament, but I think playing in the Big 12 Tournament is such an honor.

I mean, cut down the nets here, bring home a championship, that was motivation in itself and these guys wanted to do that. That's why you're all upset when you lose when you don't have a chance to do that.

Rico was talking about it would be the first time ever we've gone back-to-back to the NCAA Tournament. And the great thing is because of the work we have done all year long, our RPI was 9, strength of schedule was 3, so hopefully we get a good seed and we will put ourselves into -- and you're never in a position where you play back-to-back games again either. So you get a day of rest in the NCAA, which allows you to hopefully make a couple more shots because I don't know if people would like to watch basketball if no one ever made anything.

Q. Scott, Bill talked about the first half setting the game back a little bit. When you are 5 of 25, 1 of 10 from three and I don't know how many turnovers, you feel fortunate to be down by 8 at half?

COACH DREW: No question. You go in the locker room and 20%, 5 for 25, that many turnovers and single digits? Again, that's a tournament like this, where the intensity is so high it affects you mentally and physically. What it does though is it does prepare you for the NCAA Tournament and that's the best thing about the Big 12, they do everything just like the NCAA.

So next week our guys will be ready for it and that day off they will recover a little more and hopefully we will have better performance if we are able to make it to Game 2.

Q. Scott, what are the reasons you feel like your team could go far in the tournament?

COACH DREW: I think, first of all, defensively you see people are going to have off shooting nights. Hopefully not as off as tonight, but you got to be able to defend and rebound and give yourself a chance to be successful. We've taken care of the basketball, that's why that to me is the biggest disappointment. The 17 turnovers, I mean, you can't win like that. But for the most part, we have done a good job.

And West Virginia, we had 10 turnovers. So as long as we do that with the rebounding we have, being the No. 1 offensive-ranked rebounding team and that's why turnovers are so tough because when you turn over, they get an easy on the other end and so your defense isn't set which ours is tough to score on. And the second thing is then you don't give yourself a chance to offense rebound which we do so well.

Q. Coach, 4 of 22 from three today. You went 4 of 14 yesterday. You guys are the best 3-point-shooting team coming into the Big 12, what do you think the reason was for struggling?

COACH DREW: I think defense, and when you play everybody a third time, everybody knows each other's offense, their sets, nothing comes easy.

So sometimes results are more one-on-one play and one-on-one play against good team defense is tough to score. So I think no matter who any of us play, it will be somebody different and when you're not scouted for that third time, that should help.

Q. Scott, everybody has been talking about how great the Big 12 has been in the regular season and it was great last year. To validate everything, does the conference need a couple teams to go on nice tournament runs as well? You guys didn't have anybody in Regional Finals last year, is that something you would like to see?

COACH DREW: No question that helps with perception, winning a National Championship, getting to Final Fours. But I guess it all comes down to how do you -- which team has the two best in it or which team from top to bottom. If you're looking top to bottom, the Big 12 has been the best. I think people advancing and getting to the Final Four, National Championship, helps with nationwide recognition, but if you're judging a conference on top-to-bottom, and that's what how they do the RPI, and you get your conference ranked -- and I think we've been the best the last couple of years according to the computer.

Q. (No microphone.)

COACH DREW: Last year you look at Kentucky and UConn, what were they seeded, 7 and 8? Look at how many Big 12 teams are going to be seeded higher than 7 and 8. That's parity in college basketball. You look at UConn and Florida this year, and not the same turnover, transition, the one-and-dones and all that. It's really hard with parity nowadays and it's hard to be consistent. That's why Kansas's feat of the conference championships in a row is really impressive.

Courtesy ASAP Sports


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