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NIT POSTSEASON: SEMIFINALS & FINAL


April 4, 2013


Isaiah Austin

Scott Drew

Pierre Jackson

Cory Jefferson


NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK

Baylor テや 74
Iowa テや禿つ 54


COACH DREW:テつ The game I thought A.J. Walton really set the tone on the defense end and Cory and Isaiah really protected the rim for us, and then on the offense Pierre really second half controlled things and was dropping dimes right and left to give us a chance to pull away.テつ Iowa is going to be a great team in the next couple years.テつ Everyone is going to know how good they are.テつ Fran has done an unbelievable job with them in a short period of time.
But I'm proud of these guys.テつ '09 we were runner ups, and we saw teams celebrate.テつ We've been to two Big 12 championship games, saw the other teams celebrate, so it's just great that this team could win the first championship for the Big 12 conference in the NIT and also the first championship for the school.
Really proud of their heart and determination, and they'll always be remembered.テつ Whenever you make history, you don't get a lot of chances to do that.

Q.テつ Pierre, ending your career with an NIT title, what are your emotions right now?
PIERRE JACKSON:テつ I'm just extremely proud of my team.テつ The way we played tonight, it was domination.テつ Isaiah had a great game, A.J. started off on the jump just firing us up.テつ My emotions are really high right now.テつ I'm trying to relax in here.

Q.テつ Pierre, for you and Cory, their defense kind of held you guys in check for the first half.テつ Was it just you guys saying it's a matter of time before we go on that run or we hit that scoring streak?
PIERRE JACKSON:テつ I don't really think it was in check.テつ My game plan was‑‑ I don't know, sometimes unfortunately I coach but try to get my teammates involved, and in the second half they were getting some good screens for me to get to the paint, and I got to the right spots and knocked down shots and dunks.

Q.テつ Isaiah, can you talk a little bit about the team's defense, just seemed like that got things going tonight?
ISAIAH AUSTIN:テつ From the jump A.J. Walton had six steals, he was muscle on the ball, and then me and Cory, we just protected the paint for us.

Q.テつ Cory, can you talk a little bit about that defensive effort?テつ Seems like it might be the best defense y'all played all year.
CORY JEFFERSON:テつ Yeah, I think so.テつ It started with A.J. on the ball on defense, just locking down whoever he was guarding, getting steals.テつ That energized everybody and got us playing defense that much harder.

Q.テつ Can you talk about your emotions right now?
CORY JEFFERSON:テつ I can't even explain it, really.テつ This is the first championship Baylor has won for the men, so that's something great.テつ And the first NIT for the Big 12.テつ It's just great to be a part of this team right now.

Q.テつ Scott, can you expound a little more on the defense, just kind of how it got‑‑
COACH DREW:テつ Yeah, I think Iowa does a great job pushing the ball up, and then they really execute their half court offense very well, and I thought A.J. really was able to take them out of it by the pressure he was able to put on the point guards.
I thought that really set the tone and hit some great steals.
I mean, when you're active enough that you're cramping up, that means you're really leaving it all out there.
A.J. with this win finished the all‑time leading winner, wins total for a Baylor player, as well.テつ This was a big game for him in a lot of ways.

Q.テつ 10 years ago when you took this program over and now in the last five years two NIT Finals, one championship tonight and the Elite 8, talk about how far this program has come.
COACH DREW:テつ I think first of all we've had great leadership from our administration, President Starr, Ian McCaw, they help us have the resources to be successful, and we've been blessed to bring in talented guys that care about a team and putting others in front of themselves.テつ Again, any team that makes postseason probably has good chemistry and has good leadership and has good kids that care about the right things.テつ We've been blessed to have a lot of that.テつ Again, really happy for them because I've seen enough teams celebrate before, and it's great with two Big 12 runner‑ups and then the NIT runner‑up, it's great to win the championship.

Q.テつ What has this tournament done for Isaiah Austin's maturity and development as a player over the last couple of games?
COACH DREW:テつ Isaiah is someone who really started out with a bang, and as every freshman he had some ups and downs and I think defense has really keyed on him, and that's frustrating for 18 year olds.テつ But I thought in this tournament he really had an opportunity to get back to playing how he did earlier in the year, and his performances the last two games were how he played earlier, and obviously we wouldn't win without him, and he was tremendous.

Q.テつ You lose nine out of 13 down the stretch before you go on this run‑‑
COACH DREW:テつ You've got to bring that up.

Q.テつ Talk about the resiliency of this team to go from that to the championship.
COACH DREW:テつ Well, I think you look at most teams in the NIT they probably lost a lot of close games, and with our team we lost some close games, and the common denominator was when we shot over 70 percent from the free‑throw line we won, and when we shot in the 50s and 60s we lost.テつ That's with a young front line with all first year college players except for Cory, really it's his first year playing.テつ Normally the longer you're in college the more consistent you become at the free‑throw line.テつ I thought the longer we played the better we've gotten from the free‑throw line.テつ Tonight we were 18 for 23, and you'd win a lot of games at 78 percent.
So that was a big thing, and I think, again, the NIT, it's such a great experience, a lot of people don't realize until you've been here, come to New York, I mean, this is something‑‑ our '09 team went to the NCAA the year before, and that '09 experience is something that they still all talk about.テつ The committee and everybody really does a good job of making this special for them.

Q.テつ Going back to Isaiah, after what Iowa did to Alex Len two nights ago, can you talk about the poise that he had as a freshman to be able to sort of exploit that defense and have the kind of game that he had being so young?
COACH DREW:テつ Well, I think one thing about Isaiah is he's versatile, and because of that he can step out and shoot the ball, which allows him more opportunities maybe than so much limited to just inside.テつ I think the other thing is when you have senior guards like Pierre Jackson and A.J. Walton, they provide easy opportunities for a big so they can finish, and I think Isaiah definitely can finish.テつ So that was good.

Q.テつ Since they just played their last game in the Baylor green and gold, can you reflect on their careers, A.J. and Pierre?
COACH DREW:テつ Well, I think Pierre Jackson is somebody that when he came in, he just won a national junior college championship, was national MVP, we came off an Elite 8 and we didn't go to postseason; he comes in, we go to the Elite 8, school record 30 wins, really was tremendous the entire year.
This year down the stretch, I mean, he was‑‑ you put his numbers up with any guard in the country.テつ To have an NIT record of 16 assists, to have a game against Providence 13 assists, zero turnovers, the bigger the stage, the bigger the moment, the better he performs.テつ He really cares about winning, and because of that he has an Elite 8, 30‑win season and an NIT championship.テつ So he's done a great job.
A.J. Walton leaving as the winningest player in Baylor history, that speaks for itself, and he's been here four years and done a tremendous job.
And Jacob Neubert, he's a guy behind the scenes, a walk‑on who's there to serve everybody else, gave a great chapel service today.テつ If we'd have probably had him do a couple more, we'd be in better shape.テつ But those three really have meant a lot to our program, poured a lot into it, and glad to see them get this championship.

Q.テつ Have you ever been involved in a game where you give up 20 offensive rebounds and still win by 20 points?
COACH DREW:テつ No, the offensive rebound, they kept coming into time‑out, "we've got to rebound, guys."
But at the same time our defensive field goal percentage was 26, so when they got the rebounds a lot of times they didn't score.テつ It was only 10 to 4 in second chance points, and I think the length of Cory and Isaiah helped with that, obviously.
But Iowa, they play hard.テつ They're a tough team and a very good team and a young team that's going to be very good.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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