March 19, 2021
Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
Lucas Oil Stadium - Unity Court (South)
Postgame Media Conference
Baylor 79, Hartford 55
SCOTT DREW: Well, I thought coming into this game, I knew teams would be nervous. A lot of guys didn't play in the tournament last year. A lot of guys it was their first time in the tournament. We'd been here for a little bit and the anticipation was high, and I thought the beginning of the game that was indicative and maybe why teams got off to a slower start offensively.
But the big thing I wanted to see was defensively we worked really hard this week trying to get back to form and how we were playing pre-pause days, and I thought defensively we were for most of the night really good and much improved.
Proud of that because at the end of the day we wouldn't have a chance to advance in this tournament if our defense wasn't back.
As far as a big win by Oral Roberts, really excited for them and Coach Mills, as well.
Q. After about 10 minutes you got into a really good offensive rhythm, hit 12 of 17 shots to end the first half. What did you feel like was going on there?
SCOTT DREW: I thought the nerves kind of calmed down and we were able to get in transition and the guards really were sharing the ball well, getting good looks. Once we got a couple breakaways, John had that dunk, I thought the guys started to relax and feel a lot more comfortable. At the same time with feeling more comfortable on the offensive end, I thought defensively we kept up our pressure and intensity.
Q. Mark gets his second foul at about 18 minutes. What did you see from your defense after that?
SCOTT DREW: Well, Mark is such a great defender, normally when he goes out of the game, first and foremost you worry about the loss of intensity and focus and he covers up a lot of mistakes with his aggressiveness and toughness and his rebounding. Matt really did a great job -- when MaCio played there he did a great job, and I thought the team really picked him up. He did a great job staying involved, and then second half more of the same situation. The good thing is he's rested for the next game.
Q. You had a week off between games. Did you see the effects of finally being able to get in the gym, practice, do the kind of stuff to play catch-up to get back to where you were, did you see the benefits of those practices in today's game?
SCOTT DREW: Most definitely. You hold a team to 35 percent that had really been playing well offensively in the last five games, really shooting at a high clip, and you held them to 29 percent in the first half, you forced 24 turnovers. So defensively a lot of the rotation mistakes, a lot of our one-on-one, being able to contain the ball was just a lot better and we were a lot sharper, a lot crisper. Really credit to the guys for working hard this past week, and sometimes you go into a tournament and you're worried you don't want to get injured so you try to save yourself and those guys knew that we had to get better and they really got after it, and I thought it showed. We made some improvements today.
Q. Today was the fourth straight game that MaCio led the team in scoring and Jared Butler had nine assists. What have you seen from those guys the last couple weeks that they've been in such a groove?
SCOTT DREW: Well, I think Jarrod finished with nine assists. He didn't have a great shooting night, but we'll take nine assists and five steals any day. Of the week. He really made a couple of -- some of them were easy passes to Mace, some of like that corner pass he threw him, the drift pass when he dribbled in the lane was a great find. I think Jared did a great job knowing that MaCio was starting to feel it and trying to find not only the open guy but the hot guy and at the same time the one good thing about Jared is you know he doesn't stay cold. Usually if he's off shooting one night, the next night he's on.
Q. You referenced Paul Mills and the ORU victory. I don't know if you noticed it, they ended up on the big board here, showing the final seconds of that Ohio State game. Did you sneak a peek at all during the time-outs or not?
SCOTT DREW: I think I was the only one not sneaking a peek. I'm talking, all the guys are watching, our coaches are watching. I'm like, what's going on, and then they told me Coach Tang was actually crying he was so excited. I think I was the only one on our team not watching. That's what you get for facing the wrong way.
Q. I remember we talked about after the Big 12 tournament kind of getting pushed a little earlier and then settling in, being able to settle into your rhythm a little bit. Do you feel like this was one of those games, weird environment, a lot of different things in play but you feel like your guys figured it out and they're in a rhythm moving forward?
SCOTT DREW: Well, defensively I thought we had taken a big step forward. Offensively as coaches you always worry about shooting in domes, and we'd only gotten in here one time. I think the more you get practice time in here and the more you shoot in here, the more you'll feel at home because it is a different environment. Teams usually -- I mean, we play in a lot of different arenas, you just don't play in many domes.
Q. Your bench had been struggling for the previous couple of games, but for Adam in particular hitting a couple of those threes, how big was that for him because you really needed him to give you something if you're going to make this push.
SCOTT DREW: Well, we need everybody to give us something, and that's the great thing about a bench and having a starting rotation. I mean, we've got a lot of different guys that can score 20, and it's not going to be your night every night, so you've got to have other people capable of stepping up, and I thought Adam got in a nice rhythm, had some good looks, and what I really liked was he had three offensive rebounds and two steals, so defensively he was very good, and going to the glass he was really good, too.
Q. What did you see from the pick-and-roll defense tonight and how John was doing in pick-and-roll defense and calling things out?
SCOTT DREW: I thought our hands were a lot more active. I thought we contested passes a lot better. Again, our rotations were earlier, crisper. We did a better job communicating who had what. I think, again, a couple days' practices really translated.
Q. I don't know if you've had any chance to look at North Carolina or Wisconsin, any just general thoughts about both those teams?
SCOTT DREW: Yeah, I'm hoping for a five-overtime game and we look forward to playing the winner.
Q. I know you talked about the practices over the last few days. I was wondering what the energy was like in those practices and if you could go a little more into detail on what exactly y'all worked on during that time.
SCOTT DREW: We worked on the defensive end, a lot of our defensive drills that we did in the non-conference preseason to get ready for play, and things that when you're playing games you don't really -- you can't do because you can't tire guys out going into games and you're more worried about fresh legs, scouting opponents, making sure that offensively, defensively you're ready to execute rather than just getting back to the basics of what our defense is about and just the basic close-outs and rotations and schemes. We were able to really get back to the basics and improve that and refresh their memory.
Q. I guess just in general, how gratifying is it just to be able to play in the first round of the NCAA Tournament a year after it was taken away from not only you guys but everyone?
SCOTT DREW: Well, I think, again, that's part of what goes into the excitement right now. A lot of people dreamed of playing in the tournament last year and were looking forward to their first opportunity, and our team several came back to school at Baylor to do this. The buildup, the excitement, the adrenaline, kind of like all year long with COVID, coaches can breathe a sigh of relief when the ball is tipped because that means that game is being played.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports