March 13, 2009
MICHIGAN STATE QUOTES
THE MODERATOR: We'll start off with an opening statement from Coach Painter and then questions for the players, and then we'll finish up with questions for yourself.
COACH PAINTER: First of all, I thought we were playing a very good team today. Penn State is a very physical team. They have a lot of quickness. Talor Battle and Pringle are a tough matchup in their quickness and ability to shoot from 25 feet, and Cornley is very difficult to keep off the glass, very difficult matchup with his strength and his ability to shoot and drive.
But I thought our guys did a good job, just jumping on them from the opening tip and just staying with it and really never letting them get started in terms of getting a lead or putting a stretch together where it had us backpedaling or getting behind.
We got that early lead and just stayed with it. And we did a good job on the glass in the first half; didn't do as good a good job in the second half. But the whole game we took care of the basketball. It's a good sign for our offense because when we give ourselves a chance, I feel we're a good offensive team.
Q. You had said the other day that it was frustrating to sit and watch the first two Penn State games, and I think the phrase you used to me was maybe I can get in there and help. Obviously this was more like what you had imagined and what was it about tonight that got it going for you?
ROBBIE HUMMEL: I mean, I think it was a total team effort. I think everybody played well, from Bob to Nemanja to Green, to the guys who started the game. I thought everybody was really focused in and ready to play. I think the team was sick of losing. We lost two in a row, it had been a while since we won, and it felt good to be back in the win column.
Q. Robbie, how big was this game for you guys? Lost three of four coming into this. Was this kind of a must win, or in that regard to kind of get your confidence back and get back rolling to where you guys were earlier in the year?
ROBBIE HUMMEL: I think we took the approach that every game is a must win from here. It's single elimination. Obviously we have the NCAA Tournament but our goal was to win the Big Ten Tournament. It would have been a major disappointment if we didn't come out ready to play today.
Q. Any of you, how good was it to see your offense flowing this well since it hadn't flowed this well in a little while?
E'TWAUN MOORE: We did a good job spacing out our whole team. Every time we drove and they committed to us, kicked, got open shots. That's how Keaton and Rob got a lot of open shots.
We just did a good job of not turning the ball over also. I mean, didn't have many turnovers in the game gave us a chance to win.
Q. Guys, I think it was the last time you played here in Conseco, you guys had the great 3 point shooting half against Davidson and this was almost the same thing. Do you guys just like it here?
KEATON GRANT: I think I definitely like the rim. I like shooting here. It feels like you're more loose and I think the offense flows a lot better when we're in this building.
Q. Any of you guys, the beginning of the game you guys always play tough defense but you really jumped on and pressed a little bit. Did Matt say anything about them having played last night, you had four days' rest, that your legs were probably going to be a little fresher than theirs were, and was that true or not?
KEATON GRANT: I think definitely that has something to play into it. I know we wanted to jump on them the first five minutes. Coach said in the pregame speech, he said make sure we go out there and play defense. We didn't want Battle and Pringle to get loose on us. We just wanted to follow the scouting report like Coach said.
Q. Robbie, just talk about playing Illinois for a third time and what you guys have to do to be successful tomorrow against the Illini?
ROBBIE HUMMEL: I think we have to stop dribble penetration, because really once you help Davis and Tisdale it's like it's almost an automatic two points. We have to be able to contain their guards and not let Davis and Tisdale get off. If we can do that, we'll be in good shape.
Q. How concerned were you with the way you've been playing the last two weeks?
E'TWAUN MOORE: I mean, we definitely have some ups and downs the last few weeks. We lost a few games. That was the end of the regular season. So now it's the start of a new season since it's the Big Ten Tournament. We've just got to be ready to come out and play. Our guys did a good job tonight getting the win, and we've definitely got to be ready for tomorrow.
Q. Robbie, can you talk about the matchup with Cornley? One of the most intense players in the league, and down the stretch he was obviously battling pretty hard when they got behind. Can you talk about that matchup?
ROBBIE HUMMEL: He's obviously a very big, strong, physical guy. He really wanted to win, and, I mean, obviously they're still playing in the tournament. I think they should be in. But you never know, I guess. So I'll have to wait until Sunday to see that.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you. Questions for Coach.
Q. Matt, can you talk about what your thoughts were with your offense, how well you thought you guys played offensively?
COACH PAINTER: Any time you make shots, everything's going to look better. Then it gets contagious, obviously when Keaton Grant makes those 3s and Calasan makes those 3s, you're getting the production from your bench, you're going to have success on the offensive.
I thought our guys took better shots today, our shot selection was better. We moved the basketball. Got the ball off the rims a couple times where we couldn't finish, but for the most part we didn't change anything we were doing. We just tried to be more efficient and play a little smarter.
Q. Coach, going back a little ways, last time we saw you was quite a ways back, Davidson, you started this game out it seemed like a mirror image of how you played. It's really predicated on that. You guys start moving the ball like that, that's really your flow. Have you been concerned that when that flow doesn't happen that you're in a bit of a mess?
COACH PAINTER: Yeah, I think a lot depends on who you're playing, whether it's somebody zoning or somebody who is pressing or playing man to man. We've had success against all of that. We've also had some failure against all of that.
And when we force things and we don't take good shots, and we press a little bit, that's when we have struggles. But when we're patient and I like to call it aggressively patient, you've got to be able to probe the defense. Sometimes it's there after a pass. Sometimes it's not there after seven or eight passes.
It is a concern the past couple of weeks because we've been pressing. You want your guys to be confident, because we have some good offensive players, but they also have to understand what's a good shot and what's not a good shot, time and score, how many you've made, how many you've missed. There's a lot of factors that go into it. It's not an easy thing to do.
But I think when you see us play together and be unselfish and share the basketball, we can score the ball like we did today, especially in the first half.
Q. Matt, how impressive was this victory especially considering you did get little to nothing from JaJaun?
COACH PAINTER: I think it's a good sign any time one of your primary guys gets in foul trouble and you're still able to have success. And that goes right down the line with any of our guys that have been in foul trouble throughout the year. If we can have success with one of them on the bench or one of them injured, I think it's a plus.
And you have to learn to play without your guys, whether that's injuries or foul trouble. And tonight he got into foul trouble and got a couple quick ones and got a couple obviously in the second half, and I thought Nemanja did a good job in playing more minutes and helping us.
But I think all our guys did a good job staying smart out there. Hopefully he can stay out of foul trouble and play more in tomorrow's game.
Q. Is there any real significant injury to Kramer?
COACH PAINTER: I don't even know what happened. He said he got kneed by Cornley. So I don't know if it's just a charley horse or what it was. I thought at first it was a cramp. But he said Cornley got him with a knee.
Q. Talk about how important this start was for you guys, I think it was 12 2 in the first couple of minutes of this game especially considering how the guys have been playing and they've been shooting coming into the tournament. How big was that start given the way the team ended the tournament?
COACH PAINTER: I think any time you can start off that way it gives you confidence. It just gave us confidence. Also you can jump out to leads like that and you can think it's going to be easy. And you've got to try to keep your guys on edge knowing that it's going to be very difficult.
And it was difficult but we still had to have patience, and we didn't try to hit home runs and try to knock them out right there. Just keep playing possession basketball. Keep pushing it when it's there. When it's not there, have patience and move it and try to break the defense down.
Q. The struggles the last two weeks, were you curious how your team would respond tonight? And have you been losing any sleep with the way the team has been playing?
COACH PAINTER: I thought they would respond in a positive fashion. And I knew they would play hard. I was just hoping we could make a shot. And we have good shooters. We have guys that are capable. I think that's obvious. But sometimes in a season you get into slumps. Just like hitters in baseball. You get into those slumps and it was good to see our guys kind of have a bounce back game and be able to go out and score the 51 points in the first half to give them that confidence. I think that was important.
But as a coach, you know, you lose sleep whether you're winning or losing, it's just kind of the way it is.
Q. Can you talk about your strong start offensively? How much of a part of you that was you guys seemed to really push the tempo. Were you doing that more than usual or were you just doing what you do?
COACH PAINTER: We've been trying to push the tempo the whole year. At times we get into ruts where you go back and you watch film and you're asking yourself why aren't we pushing the basketball. Why are we walking the ball up the court.
And I think we play some people in our league that dictate tempo and the possessions just mean so much, and you just have fewer possessions against certain teams in our league. And I think it kind of grinds you into that mode, and we really wanted to take those long rebounds, and we wanted to take the turnovers and really push the basketball, and then our guys did a good job tonight.
Kramer did a good job couple times attacking after makes. We got the ball out quick. Keaton pushed it, passed ahead to Kramer, we're able to attack one time, we got a layup the other time, we got to the free throw line.
That's what we want to do. We have athletic guys. We want to push the basketball and try to get the defense on their heels.
Q. I don't want to put words in your mouth, but did Penn State run into you guys at a particularly bad time coming off two or three losses? You're not used to losing. And you had rest also.
COACH PAINTER: We played well and sometimes it's just like you said, it's the timing of everything. You don't know how it's going to balance and everybody said do you like your seed, do you like who you're playing. No, I don't want to play anybody in the Big Ten, to be honest with you. I think we have a lot of good teams in our league, but I just said we lost three out of four, if the silver lining to it is it puts us on edge and we play better in the NCAA Tournament or the Big Ten Tournament, not necessarily in that order, maybe it's a good thing.
Q. That does happen.
COACH PAINTER: There's no doubt that happens. There's no doubt that it can be a wake up call and you can play better. But time will tell. We'll see how we play tomorrow.
Q. Just what you love to do: face Bruce's team for a third time this season. Just your thoughts on that matchup and the Illini really have had your number recently.
COACH PAINTER: It's one thing to have somebody's number and to outplay them. But Illinois has just really out toughed us. More than anything Illinois has just been tougher than us, been quicker to the basketball, they've been stronger. They've got more rebounds, and I think that's been a staple for Coach Keady's program and we've tried to get it to that point. I don't know if we're at that point yet.
But we've just got to play harder and we've got to play tougher than Illinois. Obviously the last three times we've played them they've been able to do that and that's why they've won.
Q. You've talked about playing harder since the Northwestern game. I mean, against Michigan State you got out-rebounded, maybe took away from it a little bit. Did you feel the energy was there and the guys gave the effort for the whole way?
COACH PAINTER: I thought the other night at Michigan State we did some good things defensively. If you look at our body of work on the defensive end, we do a pretty good job of guarding them. We just couldn't get the second chance points. And that's part of the game also. That's part of defense. You had to finish your defensive position with a rebound, I understand that. But we did some good things against them, and I think sometimes at a loss you've got to take that positively.
I thought we had a good effort. I thought we worked pretty hard. I don't know if we played real smart, and I don't think we were real patient, and any time you're against a great team like Michigan State, they're going to take some things away, and when they do you have to be patient, and you have to put them on defense for long periods of time when they take things away.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach.
PENN STATE QUOTES
THE MODERATOR: Coach, if you'd start us off with an opening statement.
COACH DECHELLIS: I just thought Purdue played very, very well tonight. They shot the ball extremely well from 3, and, you know, they just had it going offensively. We just didn't have any answers for them defensively, and I thought they just played well. I don't know if we just we didn't play bad. I just thought they played really, really well. So credit to them.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Talor or Jamelle.
Q. You guys played obviously last night and they came in fresh. How much of a challenge did that present to your guys and how much of an advantage was it for them coming in fresh?
JAMELLE CORNLEY: To be completely honest, we thought we had the advantage with shooting in the arena last night, coming off of a win. We understood they had lost three out of their last four conference games. So we really thought we had the advantage. We're a momentum team. So regardless if we played last night or not we really thought we could come out and put on a great showing tonight.
Q. Jamelle, talk about whether or not you believe that you guys have enough in your resume to make the tournament?
JAMELLE CORNLEY: We were just outside talking about it. And it's a situation where it is absolutely out of our hands. And that's the bad part from a player's standpoint, is that we want something else. We wish there was something else that we can do. But honestly I think we do. I think that everybody looks at the strength of schedule issue and, again, that's out of our control. But we got a great record against the top 50.
And we just hope that that's enough. I think we've had a fairly successful year, a pretty good year, and we'll see come Sunday.
Q. Talor, how tough is it when they're playing the type of defense that they do for the whole game, pressing, trapping, how demoralizing is that?
TALOR BATTLE: It was just tiring. I feel like really playing I played 40 minutes but really like 80 because they pressured me full court and then I have to turn around and guard at the same time.
They do a great job at that, just wearing you down and it's hard to go 40 minutes trying to bring the ball up, and that slow pace, that's tough because they try to speed you up. Credit to them. They do a great job at that.
Q. Jamelle, what was going through your mind in the last in the middle of the second half? You were pacing back and forth like a lion. I was back there talking to some of these guys and they really admire your fight. What was going through your head, if you can describe it?
JAMELLE CORNLEY: As a senior you want to leave everything out on the court. And this was my last game here in the Big Ten Tournament. And I just want to go out with respect. I wanted to make it respectable, and I wanted to leave everything I had out on the court and I expect the same thing out of my teammates.
But I think they understand I think they understand why I do the things I do and why I try to leave everything on the court. I hope once they become seniors they'll understand why you have to leave everything out on the court.
But that's just the way you should play the game because you only have 40 minutes. You're not guaranteed to play all 40 minutes. So while you're out there you might as well play as hard as you can.
Q. Talor, you talked about their defensive pressure obviously. You still put up 65 points against a very good team. Were you satisfied with your offensive output or do you think you could have done more defensively maybe to shut them down?
TALOR BATTLE: Offensively, we could have executed a little better. But we scored like you said, we scored 65 points. But, I mean, defensively, you know, we definitely Coach mentioned they played a really good game.
But we could have done a little more. We gave them a lot of open shots. They did hit some tough ones, but still the open ones, transition baskets we gave up. We could have done a better job at that. But Coach was saying in the locker room, 35 points at the half, you think we'll be right there with them. But they got 51, that's the most we gave up all season and the most they scored.
So we did a poor job at that.
Q. Talor, they have five days rest, you guys have 26 hours. What do your legs feel like and what do you think their legs felt like?
TALOR BATTLE: Man, I'm young. My legs felt good going into the game. I was excited. I mean, there's no excuse. The fatigue thing, there's no excuse. You can ask all the guys. We were ready to play. They just came out.
They had a lot of fans behind them and they just shot the ball great. Credit to them. Not taking anything away from Purdue. They played a heck of a game.
Q. Either of you guys, will you be watching what's going on around the country for the next 24, 48 hours?
TALOR BATTLE: I won't.
JAMELLE CORNLEY: I'll be completely honest, I probably won't. I'll make myself sick if I do something like that.
But I'm going try my hardest to keep an open mind and try to be as optimistic as much as possible. And it's in someone else's hands now, and we'll see what happens.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you. Questions for Coach.
Q. Obviously those guys said that they thought they had an advantage coming into this game. What did you think as far as the rest issue was concerned?
COACH DECHELLIS: I thought we talked about we tried to sell our guys on the advantage that we shot, we played in here, we had momentum.
I thought that was all positive. I give Purdue credit. They just played well. They just shot the heck out of the ball. I think Keaton Grant didn't miss a 3 the first half. They had it going offensively from the perimeter. Then we pushed out and they got the ball inside. I think they had 20 points in the paint in the first half. I think their offense defensively we were trying to guard. Were we a step slow? Yeah, we were a step slow on some stuff. But I'm going to give the credit to them.
Q. Have you ever seen Jamelle like that in the second half, like he was? He looked like he was possessed, like he wanted to start a street fight or something.
COACH DECHELLIS: I've seen him in practice that way. We try to get him out at the 12 minute mark just to give him a quick blow. But he didn't want to come out. We thought we could give him a quick blow to make a run at the last 12 minutes.
But he's a competitive kid and he has a heart of a lion. I love him dearly. He wanted to leave it all out there on the floor and I think he did, he just willed some of the balls into the basket. And I thought he played well and a lot of heart and toughness.
Q. First of all, they jumped out with a big lead. Obviously their shooting got them out there. What were you thinking about in terms of trying to get caught up?
COACH DECHELLIS: What were we thinking to do to get caught up? We didn't just guard them. I thought we didn't score early. And that put us in a little bit of a bind. But at the defensive end we were trying to guard them and we just didn't do a very good job guarding them. And they just made some open 3s and some tough shots, some hands in the face.
But we had no answers for that.
Q. And your thoughts about your team's opportunity to be in the NCAA?
COACH DECHELLIS: Well, I think we have a great opportunity to be in the tournament. I think we've got 22 wins. We're 10 8 in the league. Got a lot of wins versus the top-50 RPI teams. We have some wins versus the top 25. I think we're one of the best 65 teams now. We'll wait to see what happens on Sunday night.
Q. When you're down by 20 plus, is it difficult to keep this team sort of motivated, to keep playing through it?
COACH DECHELLIS: I don't know if it's motivation. I think it's pride. It's your character. It's your toughness. It's all the things that we talk about in athletics. It's easy to go the other way, but they haven't done that all year. And I told them to play hard and play the way we wanted to play, and the kids did that.
And that's what all this stuff is supposed to teach people, how to pick themselves up off the ground when things aren't going well, continue to fight, continue to work hard. And that's what this team has done all year. They've been resilient all year. They've had big comebacks, made big plays to win games, and I wouldn't expect anything less out of them.
Q. Why didn't you play the freshmen earlier being down so much with their 3 point shooting?
COACH DECHELLIS: [We didn't play] the freshmen earlier, because we felt like with the guys we could go with in terms of defense. And it just didn't work.
Q. What do you tell your guys in the next 48 hours to do, basically, with everything outside of their control?
COACH DECHELLIS: Well, I talked to the guys after the game about all the positive things that we've accomplished this year. We were 10 8 in the league, second time in the school's history we've had a winning record in the Big Ten. We have 21 regular season wins. The most in the school's regular-season history.
We had wins at East Lansing, wins at Champaign. We had a lot of great things happen this year to this team. And those were all the positives I pointed out to this team. What happens over the next 48 hours, we can't control it now.
I think we've made our case. We've won big games. We've beaten good people. And now the chips have to fall where they fall.
Q. Coach, this was the first time you played Purdue with Hummel. Are they just so much better with him in the lineup? Is it almost night and day?
COACH DECHELLIS: I don't know if it's night and day. I think he adds a dimension, perimeter jump-shooting, that's important for them. And I thought you look at our bench points.
Our bench, they really outscored us at the bench. It was 24-5, I think. And Keaton Grant was the guy who hurt us tonight. Robbie Hummel is a good player and I understand where you're coming from, but I thought their bench was really key for them tonight. Especially Keaton Grant coming off and knocking down all the shots that he did and kind of give him the cushion that they needed to play a little loose and a little free.
But Rob's a great player. And he certainly adds a different dimension in terms of guarding him and a guy who can knock down shots from the perimeter, and has very good pass through as well.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach.