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March 24, 2017

Scott Drew

Johnathan Motley

Ishmail Wainright

New York, New York

South Carolina - 70, Baylor - 50

THE MODERATOR: We'll start with a opening statement from coach.

SCOTT DREW: Well, obviously, the game didn't go like we wanted it to go. But you really got to credit South Carolina. I thought Coach Martin did a great job prepping his guys and they really made it tough for us to score, to say the least. 25 percent first half, we got a little bit better in the second half, cut it down to 11. Their two seniors answered with two big threes, but proud of what the guys have accomplished this year, coming from not ranked to first time ever in school's history being ranked number one, tying the best record in the regular season. Disappointed we couldn't have played a better game tonight, but some of that credit, a lot of it, I would say, goes to South Carolina.

THE MODERATOR: Questions for the student-athletes, please.

Q. How frustrating was it going against that defense? It seemed like they always had two guys, somebody helping out when they were covering you.
JOHNATHAN MOTLEY: Man, it was extremely tough, but that's what they game planned for. And they did a great job of executing their game plan. We couldn't, really couldn't buy a basket, and like coach said, they did a great job, we shot 25 percent in the first half and even though we picked it up in the second half, we still only shot 37 percent, so you can't win like that. Especially the way they were shooting.

Q. Y'all did have a run there in the second half, scored 10 in a row, to get it to 11 and they hit the back-to-back threes. How difficult was that when you seemed to be finally getting on a run?
ISHMAIL WAINRIGHT: When we were on a run, like coach said, they answered. Their seniors, that's what seniors do, they answer. Yeah, that's it.

Q. Was that the best defense you've faced all year or did it rank right up there and what were they doing?
ISHMAIL WAINRIGHT: It's one of the best defenses that we came across. West Virginia also has the same defense. But they just executed, they double teamed, they triple teamed Mot and made it tough to score the ball every time we caught it. Every time we got a catch, there was somebody right there and, I mean, it was, Coach Martin did a great job with the guys and they're a great defensive team.

Q. Did any of that surprise you or anything at all they did kind of getting back to their defense, where you're going up and there's one guy on you and one guy coming over the top?
JOHNATHAN MOTLEY: You know, you kind of plan for it, you know how they were going to be, but it's kind of different when you're out there. They were playing extremely physical, the game was extremely physical, so it's hard. You got the first guy being extremely physical with you and then you got another guy over the top you got to worry about, so, yeah, it was tough. But like I said, Coach Martin, that's the game plan and they executed it to the T and they did great job.

THE MODERATOR: All right. We'll excuse the student-athletes and take questions for coach.

Q. Tell us kind of how tough it was to go in that locker room after that, knowing that as close as you are with Ish, it's maybe his last game, and maybe Johnathan's last game too?
SCOTT DREW: That's always tough at the end of the year, especially when a team over achieves in many people's eyes, but more importantly because of the character of the young men. They have done a great job on the court, but even a better job off the court representing the university like it wants to be represented. And for coaches, every day coming to practice was a joy, because they made it fun.

Q. Obviously, you've run into West Virginia's defense and other good defenses throughout the year, but where does the defense that you encountered tonight rank?
SCOTT DREW: Well, I think that, analytically, I think it's fourth, so I think it's the highest we faced. What they do a great job of is making it difficult and then basketball's such a game of momentum and after you get off to a bad start, sometimes it's hard to get in a rhythm or hard to get in a flow. You can even seeing that carry over to the free-throw line, shooting 68 percent from the free-throw line. The first two rounds I think we missed one or two free throws and really we shot well from the line there. But again, when you miss the first couple, instead of the basket getting bigger, it gets smaller.

Q. Ish and Johnathan are saying that it's a lot like West Virginia's defense. Did you see the same thing?
SCOTT DREW: Well, West Virginia's a little more in the full court, theirs is more in the half court, where they really buckle down and don't allow you to run offense. So then you play more off the bounce and if you can get by your man you have some advantages. We just didn't take advantage enough of those. And, again, I think, early on, we had an opportunity to make some baskets and I think that would have made the game a lot easier for us and we missed some shots and then their good defense contributed to that. And in transition, we had nine opportunities, I believe, in the first half, come away with, what, six points. So, we couldn't get on a roll. Second half we did, cut it to 11. And then credit Thornwell and Notice for hitting two big threes. And when you put in all that work and then all of a sudden two big threes like that, it took the air out of us.

Q. You just talked about that, did you even kind of sense that with the team, y'all were kind of waiting to get on a run, you finally got on one and then they answered it?
SCOTT DREW: Well, and we haven't quit all year, so I knew we would come back and answer, because that's the type of team we have. And being down, I think we were down what, 15 against Louisville, with nine to go, so we knew we would make a run. Just, you got to credit them for answering. That's why, at the end of the day, it's, a lot of times you don't play well, but people don't credit the team that you play for how they execute and how they perform. And those are two big threes by two seniors that didn't want to go home.

Q. I know it's kind of tough right now, but can you kind of put the year in perspective and how far you got?
SCOTT DREW: As I told the team afterwards, from receiving no votes in the pre-season to, I believe, nine weeks later first ranking ever, No. 1 ranking in school history. No one will ever do that again for the first time. So, that's something that this team will always have. And at the same time tied a record total for season, regular season wins. And more important than that, they have been all we could ask for as far as individuals and the character in which they have represented themselves and our school.

THE MODERATOR: All right, thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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