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March 18, 2017

Andy Enfield

De'Anthony Melton

Elijah Stewart

Tulsa, Oklahoma

Q. What you've seen of Baylor so far on tape, what jumps out at you? And what are they really good at and what are you hoping you can possibly exploit a little bit?
ELIJAH STEWART: They're a good team at all positions. They really don't quit. So I seen that they blew out the lead in their last game. It was a close game all the way through till like the last 15. And we just gotta come out ready to play.

DE'ANTHONY MELTON: I think it really depends on who plays harder. It doesn't matter who's better because sometimes the better team wins, the better team loses. So it just depends on who can play harder and who can get stops at the end of the game.

Q. Elijah, what's it like to play for Coach Enfield? What's the atmosphere like? Seems like he'd kind of be maybe a players' coach.
ELIJAH STEWART: I mean, we've been together for like three years now. It's just been a fun opportunity. He recruited me to come change the culture, and as you've seen we've done a pretty good job progressing year after year. And I just always try to do what he tells me, play with an offense and just be a good teammate.

Q. Okay. So let's get down to the nitty-gritty here. You guys are really becoming like the comeback kids. I don't know how many times you've been down this year in games where you look like there's no way you're going to pull this off. So where is that coming from? How is that happening? How do you guys describe it?
DE'ANTHONY MELTON: I would describe that as shows how much we want it and shows we're never out of games. Because like I said before, if you play hard and just trust what the coaches are telling us, then the ball is eventually going to go in. And we just trust our defense, our defensive principles and we're eventually going to get stops, too.

ELIJAH STEWART: No team I've ever played for has ever allowed quitting to be an option. That's since high school. He just put that mentality in the team. We've been down 20 points and came back and won by 20. It's just like a different monster in people. I feel like we just don't accept defeat very well. So if we're down 15, 20, we're always going to try to make a comeback. There's just no quitting. Quitting is not an option.

Q. But how are you getting down in the first place? I'm just curious about this whole roller coaster, how this happens that you're trailing and then you find a way to come back. Have you even discussed that amongst yourselves, like why are we getting down in the first place?
ELIJAH STEWART: A lot of games I've noticed where we take a huge hit in the first half is that the other team is just usually hitting a lot of shots, uncharacteristic plays. We try to stick to the scout -- to the -- like to the key. And sometimes, you know, this is Division I basketball, sometimes people just step up and make those plays that they don't usually make.

And once we do that, we always come back in the huddle in the second half and just congregate and get the new scout, new assignment, new game plan, and we just try to execute it.

DE'ANTHONY MELTON: Sometimes we can't control if people make shots. We can just try to alter them as best as possible. But if people are hitting shots and we're not hitting shots, then we just gotta focus in on what's working for us and we try to exploit what's not working for them or what's struggling for them. So we just want to keep struggling or making a struggle for other teams and just keep playing hard.

Q. De'Anthony, it sounds like you had a pretty good conversation with Coach Hart in the middle of that game yesterday. What did he say to you that got you going?
DE'ANTHONY MELTON: He just gave me a little confidence booster, kind of got into me talking about some -- a lot of J. Hart stuff, some of the stuff kind of just stays in the huddle. But he just really helped me and just getting my confidence back, always attacking the basket and just being a lot more active.

ELIJAH STEWART: He said during the Providence game, got us going, he was like, we supposed to be at the crib keeping one thousand. I mean we wasn't even supposed to like make the tournament. So we just kind of keep that chip on our shoulder right now and we're just riding with it.

COACH ENFIELD: We had a great game against SMU. That's what March Madness is all about. We were fortunate to be on the right side this year at the buzzer instead of last year where we lost at the buzzer. We're excited to move on and face a very /SRAUPBGing Baylor team that has 27 wins and is one of the better teams we've seen all season.

Q. Coach, what impresses you about Baylor? Just kind of their overall game.
COACH ENFIELD: They're a lot like us. They started out the year undefeated. They had some injuries like we did, and then they finished strong. They have a lot of length, shot blocking. Their guards can shoot, very physical. They're just a very well-balanced team and do a lot of things offensively and defensively to make you work. So we're extremely impressed with them.

Q. How many years do you think this group of players has taken off your life this season?
COACH ENFIELD: Well, they certainly make it interesting. When you go back and watch our game films and we study and see what we can improve, it's amazing how streaky we are for the good and for the bad. But really enjoy this group of players because they keep playing for 40 minutes, and sometimes they don't know what the score is. And they're fun to watch, but they're also a little -- it's a little challenging to coach at times because we're bad enough to get behind and good enough to come back.

But we play for 40 minutes, as you saw the other night. It was fun and exciting. And at the end of the game, you like to have a lead, but you just have to -- when you're going into the last minute of certain games you just have to make plays down the stretch, and the other night we were able to do that.

Q. How have your messages to your team evolved over this season based on how many times you've fallen behind and had to come back? Just how has your approach I understand of ebbed and flowed with this group?
COACH ENFIELD: Well, early in the season we used to get really mad at our players for falling behind, especially with teams we thought we were equally talented or had more talent than.

But now, at halftime the other night, we said, hey, this is great, we're only down 8. We were down 15 the other night. This is great. And our players started laughing. But that was our halftime speech, hey, this is awesome (laughter).

Q. Do you see some similarities in your season and Baylor's season with your 14-0 start coming from behind to win so many games? Do you see some similarities there?
COACH ENFIELD: Yeah. I think both teams have had similar seasons, if you look at the records, our wins early and then we had the injuries, and then late. So I think the teams are similar as far as their size and length. We have big guys shot blocking and we steal the ball. They're big shot blockers. Their zone gives a lot of trouble. We play zone as well.

So I think it's two very good basketball teams that have similar strengths, and I think the game is just going to come down to who can execute what they do better.

Q. Most teams don't have it in them to stage comeback after comeback after comeback like the Trojans have this season. So what is it emotionally about this group that's different?
COACH ENFIELD: It's hard to figure out. We don't try to get behind. And our players have great team chemistry, so it is nice when you're part of a team that has that type of chemistry. They rely on each other. They talk to each other. They can motivate each other. So it takes a lot off the coaches. Sometimes we have to do the motivating as well.

But they're able to stick together at times and they don't hang their heads. They just keep playing, and they have some kind of confidence about them that if they play hard enough for 40 minutes that eventually they'll be back in the game and have a chance to win. We've seen it so many times this year. We certainly don't try to get behind, but unfortunately at times we do. There's no formula.

Q. I read that you have 18 school records at Johns Hopkins and I was wondering which of the 18 you're most proud of?
COACH ENFIELD: I don't like to talk about myself because it's really about our players here. But I guess my NCAA free throw record is probably the record I was most proud of, at 92 and a half percent for my career. I think I had it for 17 years. It was broken by Blake Ahearn of Missouri State who was a better shooter than me. But it was something that I took a lot of pride in, and it really made my career as a shooter. And then I was able to break into the basketball business and coaching through that shooting ability.

Q. You had a play-in game to get here. Do you see that as maybe playing that extra game was beneficial because you all have kind of gotten on a little bit of a roll here.
COACH ENFIELD: The play-in game into the NCAA tournament, that was great. We enjoyed that, to go to Dayton and have that atmosphere and compete against the team from the Big East in Providence. It was ironic. We played them last year but they're a totally different team and so are we. Wow was that exciting. And we were able to come here.

The NCAA tournaments are the same all over the country, the anxiety, the anxiousness. You walk out and the crowd, the excitement. You saw, we've had two kind of epic March Madness games here this week, so hopefully it'll be a third tomorrow. But that's what this tournament is all about. You win, you stay in it; you lose, you go home. And that's why you see all the emotions of the players and the fans and the families who attend. It's just a special, special event.

Q. Coach, what are some of the more important nuances or aspects of the low-post game that you see in facing Baylor with Motley and Lual-Acuil, and how do you think you can kind of attack that?
COACH ENFIELD: They love the high-low action to use their size, so we have to be prepared for that. Motley has great footwork in low post, and he can also step out a little bit. But they're one of the best low-post scoring teams we've seen. I think last night they only had 4-3s in the whole game, 4 for 8, I believe they were. So they can dominate the low post. They had 50 points in the paint in the first round game. So we can't give up 50 points in the paint and expect to win. We have to do a good job of playing man and zone and hope they miss some shots.

Q. The Pac-10 has had three teams that have spent a lot of time in the Top 10 this year. How is going against those teams and some of the others prepared you guys for this?
COACH ENFIELD: It's the Pac-12. Pac-10 is -- the three teams in the top of our league, all ranked in the Top 10 and we played those teams seven times. We also played SMU twice now. So we've played nine games with teams that have 28, 29 more wins. I think we're the only team in the nation that has done that. Our league prepared us for this NCAA tournament because of the talent perspective and the toughness and the talent across the board in the Pac-12. This is no different than our league games, and it's a different stage and it means a lot more here than in a typical Pac-12 regular-season game because this is the biggest event in the country.

But from a preparation standpoint, we feel like we can compete with anybody, and I think you've seen that. We just have to play well tomorrow.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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