March 8, 2012
THE MODERATOR: Coach is going to make an opening statement, then go to questions for the student athletes. Coach.
COACH PAINTER: Well, obviously we were able to get off on pretty good start in the game. I thought the difference for us was our ability to make our 3s and be able to thin them at the 3 point line. And then the rebounding in the second half, we were up I think a couple rebounds in the half, then ended up being eight for the game, so got rebounded by six, but we had a stretch during the second half where we made a nice run, making some shots, kinda pushed the game out, but we also dominated the glass.
So very important for us to defend them on the perimeter but not let them get loose from three, and I thought we did a pretty good job of that.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Rob, Anthony, and Ryne right here.
Q. Rob, if you would, you and Lew (Jackson) both got two fouls in the first half and Anthony and Terone just seemed to stretch the game out. Just talk about how significant their play was tonight, especially in the first half when you guys were in foul trouble.
ROBBIE HUMMEL: Yeah, I think it was a great job by those two guys and just that lineup that we had in there. Anthony got a few baskets going to the rim. Terone did as well, and then you had some guys make some 3s in there. I think it was D.J. (Byrd) and Ryne.
So I thought it was a great team effort and it was really a team win.
Q. Robbie, your team has been one of the hottest teams in the second half of the Big Ten Conference season. Can you just talk about how important it is to come into here running the momentum like that and also to push that toward the NCAA Tournament as well?
ROBBIE HUMMEL: Sure. Yeah. I think the last five or six games we've played extremely well. And I think that's what you always kind of strive for. You want to peak at the end of the season and get your momentum going to the end of the tournament.
So I think that we can certainly use this tournament as a springboard for the NCAAs. And tomorrow's a huge game for us, I think not only in terms of getting our opportunity to play a ranked team, but it's an opportunity to improve our seeding.
Q. This is for Robbie. In playing the last game tomorrow, just what's the biggest difference between Nebraska, between playing Ohio State? You guys were able to hit your 3s and you were able get off to a great start against Ohio. So what's the extra mile you have to go to get that win this time?
ROBBIE HUMMEL: I think controlling the glass will be huge. I think when you have a guy like Jared Sullinger, you always keep a body on. We definitely have to do a very good job of boxing him out and then just guarding all the other guys. It's pretty obvious, I think rebounding and defense are going to be huge.
Q. Anthony, can you talk about your game today and the progression throughout the season. You've had some ups and downs, but do you feel like it's starting click now?
ANTHONY JOHNSON: I just try to come in and be aggressive and give it some energy starting off with defense and rebounding. And if the offense comes, then I'm going to take advantage of it. So I'm just really coming in, trying to give my team a spark.
Q. Anthony, you led the team in scoring, but what were they doing or what were they not doing that allowed you to really get on a roll?
ANTHONY JOHNSON: Well, I think it was our ball movement and them staying so close to guys like Robbie, Ryne, and D.J. And that was giving me the opportunity to drive the lane, and there was no help. And they're usually packing it in, so I was able to get some easy floaters and some layups.
Q. Ryne, in each game against Nebraska, you guys made 13 3s. You tied a tournament record, single game record tonight. They were different, I guess, a little bit, but how much did it help that Terone and the guys were getting to the basket, Anthony? And that seemed to really open some wide open looks on the perimeter.
RYNE SMITH: That's huge for us. I think when Anthony and Terone and Lewis can get to the rim like that, it opens up just a ton of stuff for our offense. And especially when we move the ball early in the possession and we can get open lanes to drive, and they do a great job of kicking it. And thankfully, we were fortunate enough to get some going down today.
Q. Robbie, you had the opportunity to come back for this season, and obviously this is what you come back for, a chance to play in post season, chance to get to the NCAA. How important is it to you to make a good run here and then again in the tournament?
ROBBIE HUMMEL: It's very important. This is the end of my career, and same could be said for Ryne and Lewis. So I think that we're all looking forward to making a nice little run here to cap off four or in my case, five great years of playing at Purdue.
Q. Robbie, the last game at Ohio State was a 3 point difference. Obviously you guys made a lot of 3s in that game also. You talked earlier about defense and rebounding. In your mind, is that what that last game came down to?
ROBBIE HUMMEL: Yeah. I thought we did a pretty good job on the glass at Ohio State. It was just they've got so many weapons. They could be hard to guard when you have a guy like Jared Sullinger, Aaron Craft, and William Buford, and the list goes on and on. They have a very talented team, so it's essential for us to stick to our defensive principles.
Q. Ryne, in the first half there, you guys went on a 17 0 run. They went a good probably seven and a half minutes without scoring. What was working for you guys at both ends of the floor there that you were able to kind of turn the game around there?
RYNE SMITH: I think we just started getting defensive stops. I think very early on in the game, I think they got a couple easy buckets, and we weren't where we needed to be defensively. But once you have got that squared off, it helps us on the offensive end.
Q. Anthony, will you talk about when Robbie and Lewis were out with the two fouls, did you feel the importance to have to step up offensively to provide more of a spark?
ANTHONY JOHNSON: You know, when I come in, I just want to bring a spark. Robbie, if Robbie and Lewis are in with me, I still want to try to bring a lot of energy, so I didn't go in noticing that they are out like, 'I need to do this, I need to do that.' I just wanted to come in and bring energy for my team.
Q. Robbie, again, could you just talk about what going through the grueling schedule of the Big Ten does for a team heading into the tournament where all these different styles that are played?
ROBBIE HUMMEL: I think the Big Ten Conference definitely does, if not the best, one of the best jobs in the country of preparing its teams for the post season. It's just such a physical league. I think the scouting is at an incredibly high level from team to team.
So it's something where I think it gives us a tremendous advantage because you're playing against the best teams in the country and the best coached teams in the country, night in and night out.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you. We'll take questions for Coach Painter.
Q. Coach, I know foul trouble played into it a little bit with Robbie and Lewis, but they only played 25 and 26 minutes. And when you're trying to go four games in four days, is it nice to have them not have to go 40 and then talk about the production of some of the bench players to help them offset that?
COACH PAINTER: Well, I think more importantly, when guys go out and other guys step up and play well, I think it really helps you. It helps your confidence because it's going to happen in other games. You're going to get in foul trouble.
And I thought it was great that Anthony Johnson came in and played within himself but was still aggressive and was definitely on the hunt and looking to drive the basketball, but he did some other good things. He had four assists. He had six rebounds. He just didn't score the ball for us. So that was definitely his best game of his career so far.
Q. Just the same question I asked Ryne: That first half run you guys made, I think you turned it over. It was I think you went on a 17 0 run, just I guess what was working at both ends of the floor for you there because you were scoring and they weren't?
COACH PAINTER: Well, we got a couple things in transition. But we also I thought we did a good job of attacking them off the dribble and just kind of making the right decision. They do a good job of stopping the basketball, but if you get them on run and get them behind the play a little bit, you can get to the rim. If not, you can still get the ball in the paint or penetrate and pitch to the shooter.
So I just thought we had a healthy balance of just making the right decision and making the right play.
Q. Matt, that first game in Columbus, your pick and roll game played a big part in your success on offense. Two questions. I was wondering, did the penetration come first and set up your 3 point shooting, or did the 3 point shooting set up your penetration? And the second part of that question, with not having Kelsey (Barlow) anymore, has that diminished that part of your game?
COACH PAINTER: Well, he definitely was good in that area and his athleticism helps you in ball screen action. Obviously Lewis does a good job with it.
Terone is a little bit different. Terone does a better job of probing the defense instead of just attacking in the open court.
But I think the threat of those other guys that shoot the basketball also opens up some things. And we still have some guys that can really shoot it, and I think it's more important in our game, no matter who we play, just to make the right decision, whether we're in screen action or whether we're in ball screen action or rerun the set. Just the decision making.
And I thought in the first half tonight we had way too many turnovers. We ended up with 10 for the game, but our average for the year is eight.
So we gotta give ourselves a chance against no matter who we play and just take care of the basketball.
Q. Coach, knowing what Robbie has been through, how satisfying is it and how happy are you to see him have such a great end of the season?
COACH PAINTER: Well, while you're in the middle of it, you don't sit around and really reflect on it. You try to talk to him about what he can improve on and what he can get better. The thing with him is he's been really confident after getting into a good rhythm here in the past month, and you can just see him getting better and better with each game.
I think he's going to be really good here in a year or two. He gains more confidence. He gets more comfortable on the court, but it's great for him. But good things happen to good people. He never made an excuse. Even if he wouldn't have come back and played, he wouldn't have been one of those guys it's been hard for him, but he's never made excuses. He's always kind of plugged and not said why me and just kept his head up and kept fighting. And when do you those things, it's going to work for you.
Q. Matt, what are the biggest concerns about Ohio State for tomorrow?
COACH PAINTER: Just their personnel, when it gets down to it. William Buford was great in the game we played. Obviously Jared Sullinger's one of the best players ever in the Big Ten. We have a lot of respect for Aaron Craft and how hard he plays and just a winner. Deshaun Thomas can just score points in a bunch. You can play good defense on Deshaun Thomas. He's a shot maker, and he's really improved his game.
And then you look at a guy like Lenzelle Smith who didn't play at all last year, just a hungry player. Plays hard, defends, does whatever they need. He'll hit eight threes in one game and might not shoot the next game. He's helped them win a Big Ten Championship, and that's what it's all about. They're just a winning program, and for us, we're going to have to be able to limit them in some area.
So if you have any advice how to do that, I'm up for suggestions. But, no, we've got a lot of respect for them. And they're dangerous. They're a dangerous team. I know you can't allow them second chance opportunities and you can't allow them transition opportunities because they're pretty good in the half court, and then if you allow these two things, they're going to score more points than you.
Q. Can you just talk about the dynamic of your team since the incident where you dismissed Kelsey? I think a lot of teams thought maybe that you would struggle after that.
COACH PAINTER: I think you want to keep your focus, as a coach, on what you have instead of what you don't have. I think back and reflect on it a little bit. Do we get in as much ball screen action? Probably not. Do we pressure on defense as much? Probably not.
We've tried to do a better job of just containing the dribble, not fouling, and just trying to stay with just the strengths of our team. I think we're still about the same team. But I think our guys have and we had guys like it last year because E'Twaun (Moore) and JaJuan (Johnson) were good players, and they didn't get much attention. And any time somebody doubts you, I think it's just the best motivator.
A coach can try to do a lot of different things, but when people generally doubt you like you can't do the job, I think that's the best motivator. And I think our guys have really stepped up and played well, but also we haven't tried to be a team that we're not. We're not going to outsize you and we're not going to come with this unbelievable athleticism, but we are pretty skilled, and we do have some guys that can shoot the basketball and we can spread you out.
We can be smart, we can take care of the ball, we can make shots, and that's what we're going to have to do. And if we can't do that, then we're probably going to get beat.
THE MODERATOR: Coach, thank you very much.
COACH PAINTER: Thank you.
MODERATOR: Coach Sadler will make an opening statement and then we'll go to questions for the student athletes. Coach?
COACH SADLER: Well, I thought starting the basketball game, I was really pleased with our effort, and I thought our guys played really hard and the game was going along there. And there's about a six or seven minute span there in the first half that we didn't get the ball inside and we got them in the foul trouble a little bit to where we could go with the bonus, but we didn't take advantage of it as much as we needed to. But then we finished the first half pretty strong and kept the ballgame down under 10 and started the second half going inside and got some easy baskets, cut the lead and didn't the whole night defensively they just kept us completely they kept us completely off balance.
I mean, we knew going into the game that we wanted to take away the lane, and that's something that we definitely didn't do. And you give a team 13 threes, I think that's the same amount that we gave them before. Maybe they didn't have 13 tonight, they had yeah, 13 tonight also. And you can't give them the lane and the 3 point, and that's what we did, and we came up a little bit short.
MODERATOR: Questions for Brandon and Bo?
Q. Brandon, just in general, how would you summarize this season?
BRANDON RICHARDSON: It's been a tough season, especially not playing with (Jorge Brian) Diaz and Andre Almeida due to injuries. But we didn't never use that as an excuse. We went out there and we competed and we gave it all we got. And we came up short for the most part, but I'm proud of our guys. They stuck in there. We fought to the end. And I couldn't be prouder of our guys.
MODERATOR: Questions for Coach Sadler?
Q. Coach, can you just talk about the first season in the Big Ten and your overall thoughts about the transition going from the Big 12 to the Big Ten?
COACH SADLER: Well, again, I think obviously both leagues are very, very good. And I've said on numerous occasions the Big 12 and the Big Ten are two totally different leagues, kind of like in football. In the Big 12 it's a more athletic, faster league. In the Big Ten I think the players are more mature. They're older. I think the teams are much tougher, and only because of the upper classmen.
But both leagues are very, very good. The five years that I spent in the Big 12, I mean, at times it was considered the best league in the country. This year this league is considered the best league in the country. So I've had the great opportunity to be in two great leagues for six years and it's been fun.
Obviously we're disappointed in what we did in our first year, but at the same time it's a fun league to coach in because you've got to compete really, really hard. Possessions are going to be very, very important. It's just a totally different basketball game than it is in the Big 12.
MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach.
COACH SADLER: Thank you.