March 14, 2009
THE MODERATOR: We'll let Coach Painter make a few opening comments. We'll take questions for the Purdue players only then and then we will finish with questions for Coach. So, Coach, go ahead and start us off.
COACH PAINTER: I felt that our guys were ready to play once again. At the start of the game, they did a very good job defensively of just not letting Illinois get into a rhythm. They did have some open looks and we were fortunate they missed on that first four or five minutes, but after that I thought our guys did a good job of staying with them and staying off the glass. I thought that was key that we did a good job rebounding. I thought especially in the first half our guys did a good job of keeping them off the glass.
And then we got into a pretty good offensive flow, making some perimeter shots and just kind of having that balance of shooting the basketball and trying to drive it and also getting it inside. And it's difficult, as you see, you can have a little bit of a drought like we had in the second half. Illinois a very good defensive team, one of the best in the country. And so we knew having that separation at 20 points at halftime was huge.
We just tried to come out with some energy in that second half. And I thought our guys the first eight, nine minutes of the second half did a great job and got into a little bit of a drought, missed some shots and got impatient. We have to do a better job in that segment of the game.
Q. Chris, Meacham hit his first two early and then I think in the last 16 minutes of the game neither he nor McCamey scored. Could you explain why that happened?
CHRIS KRAMER: Earlier in the game he came off some single single screens and I let him get away, just get a little separation. That's all he needs. He's such a great shooter, and with him and McCamey we tried to clamp down on them and stay tight on all those screens and make them put the ball on the floor and make them make plays off the bounce.
Q. Robbie, I think last game you had five turnovers. I know you had two turnovers in the first half, I'm not sure how many you ended up with, but can you talk about the offensive efficiency both in shooting the ball and the lack of turnovers?
ROBBIE HUMMEL: Yeah, that's been very important for us. It's something we pride ourselves on. It's for us to not turn the ball over, to force their team to turn it over. So when we do that and we rebound like we did today, we're really putting ourselves into a position to win.
Q. JaJuan, there's never such a thing as a comfort level in basketball. But the three games you guys have played in Conseco this year, the first half, can you explain what it is collectively about this building that seems to appeal to the Boilermakers?
JAJUAN JOHNSON: Yes, I would say any time you get a chance to play at Conseco or a venue like this in front of a lot of people the team wants to do really well. And they've been good games for us. I don't think we need much motivation to come out and play.
Q. What's the difference between this team and the loss to Illinois during the regular season?
CHRIS KRAMER: First of all, we're healthy now. We got Rob back and we completely bought into how Purdue needs to play. We need to play as hard as we can and just play to exhaustion. And just rebound the basketball. And if we can get stops and rebound the basketball leads to good offense on the other end, and we're just taking good shots and making them and that's leading to us being able to get back on defense and stopping the opponent.
Q. Robbie, in that same vein, is this the real Purdue we're seeing now that maybe people hadn't seen before, and other teams might want to take notice now?
ROBBIE HUMMEL: I thought there were a few games this season where we really played really well. For example, Davidson, Michigan State at home, it probably helps that we're getting used to playing with everyone on the floor because we did go through a time period where it was kind of tough with injuries and sickness.
But like you said, I think it's just good for us to be on the floor together. The more time we have, the better we'll be.
Q. Chris, how proud are you of you, your teammates and their ability to bounce back after the way you guys ended the regular season, and not that it makes your season advancing to the Big Ten Tournament, but just talk about your thoughts getting to play for a Big Ten title?
CHRIS KRAMER: You know, this is huge, just being able to bounce back after two tough losses at home against Northwestern and at Michigan State. To come out and play so well in two games, especially in the first half, and this is another one of our goals. We still have a chance to win the Big Ten Tournament.
So that's another one of our goals and we put ourselves in position. So it all comes down to how we play tomorrow and just try to take Ohio State out of everything they want to do and just rebound the basketball and be effective on the offensive end.
Q. Rob, we asked you about whether or not you thought you'd be able to hold up playing two games in two days. Obviously you passed that test, huh?
ROBBIE HUMMEL: Yeah, my back feels real good. It's been good to get back out there. It's a great environment to play in out here at Conseco. I thought the fans were great today, Illinois' and ours. And when we have support like that it's easy to fire up and I think the adrenaline just takes over.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you. Questions for Coach.
Q. Matt, I asked Chris the same question, but in the last 16 minutes of the game, if I would have told you this morning that Meacham and McCamey wouldn't score, what would you tell me? If you said it's possible, why would it be possible?
COACH PAINTER: It could be possible. And with Tisdale and Davis, I think their ability to shoot the basketball is really uncanny for big guys. They really stretch you out.
We made a couple of adjustments to that and tried to knock that out and when it did happen we tried to rotate some guys to them and really contest their shots with that.
And we did a good job. You talked about like with Chris' breakdowns against Meacham to start the game and after that Keaton Grant and Chris did a good job on him, and I thought we did a good job on McCamey, just keeping him in front of us and not letting him get going. He's a very streaky guy and he can get 25 points, go 6 for 6 from 3 like he did last year.
We knew they had balance and that balance scares you because you just don't know about two guys out of their leading scorers, they have four guys between 10 and 12. And they spread the wealth, sometimes that's tough to defend.
Q. Going back to yesterday and the same theme, you guys get running and get just flowing right off the bat, it just seems to crumble teams sometimes, if you can get a couple down.
COACH PAINTER: Yeah, it has to start with the rebounding. And I think that's when we do a good job rebounding, when we do a good job of forcing some turnovers, even though today we weren't able to force turnovers, able to get some rebounds and get the breaks started, and then even when it's not there immediately, just reversing the basketball and trying to attack while they're trying to get their man or rotate and trying to stop dribble penetration, it really helps us, because now you're just not scoring in the half court, you're not scoring off the glass. You're scoring in transition while they're trying to adjust.
Q. Yesterday you said that you needed to out tough Illinois, that didn't happen the first two times. At what point in the game today did you sense that your guys were going to out tough them?
COACH PAINTER: About midway through the first half. I sensed it when we played in West Lafayette, I sensed it in Champaign the other way. It's a heck of a feeling when you see your guys are quick to the ball, they're making the 50/50 plays. When the ball got loose in that first half and every single time it got loose it seemed like we got the basketball.
The first two games Illinois got those balls, and that's the difference between winning and losing especially when it comes down to a close game like it did in Lafayette. I was proud of our guys for being ready and playing hard, and at times that's not good enough. That ball has to go in the basket. Our guys have to step up and make some shots and get that good lead going into halftime.
Q. The opportunity to play for a Big Ten Championship and obviously improve your NCAA Tournament seed, can you talk about that?
COACH PAINTER: I think any time you have an opportunity to play a quality team like Illinois who is going to be right in that mix with a good seed, you're going to help yourself. And today this really helped us, with our seed. Maybe you don't move up as much as you would like, but you know it's definitely going to help you.
With our team, we talk about the things that we need to do to beat Illinois, to be successful and to do those little things, but in the grand scheme of things, you're trying to improve your spot in the tournament. Anybody can beat anybody, but you still want to try to put yourself in the best position you can.
Q. Matt, you talked after the win yesterday that you thought the positive of losing the last two games of the regular season was that it would potentially put your team on edge. Is that something you've sensed these last two games?
COACH PAINTER: In the two games I did. Not coming into it I didn't. You never know as a coach how they will rebound from getting beat three out of four in the last two games, but our guys have done a great job. They played harder, they played tougher. They did a better job on the glass. And that's what we're going to have to do. Not turning the basketball over and just giving ourselves a chance is huge. And in both games we haven't turned the basketball over.
And this was a big game for us because Illinois is a very good defensive team to not be able to turn the basketball over like we did really gives us a chance in these games.
Q. Matt, when the selection committee looks at your seed, do they need to look more closely beyond the record but at your record when you have all your guys out there?
COACH PAINTER: I think it's something that probably a lot of teams across the country go through. I think you have to look what that person or persons mean to your team. And with Rob, it's just more than just points and rebounds. I think he brings a lot of intangibles to the table. We didn't have Kramer for one game.
But there's a lot of teams out there that played this year without some of their best players. So I don't know how they look at it. Obviously we're a better team with him in the lineup, and I think we have proven that and it gives us more balance on both ends of the court.
So I don't know. I don't know how to really answer that question. Because they really never give you that answer. You never hear somebody on the committee come out and really talk about something of that nature, especially before it happens.
Q. Can you talk about the matchup tomorrow?
COACH PAINTER: All right. I think it's going to be a good game. They're a very good basketball team. Evan Turner and William Buford, we simply could not stop in Columbus this year. I think they combined for 50 points against us. B.J. Mullens is a very tough matchup for anybody. And they balance it with him and Lauderdale at the five, both of them can block shots. Both of them are good at the basket, and to go along with that they have Diebler who is a great shooter, one of the best shooters in the country.
With that being said, I think their zone has given a lot of people trouble throughout the year. They do different things with it. They tilt it different. He does a great job with making adjustments with it. We're going to have our hands full. It's going to be a great challenge. I know our guys are looking forward to it.
Q. How different was this Illinois team defensively without Chester Frazier? How did you guys take advantage of that?
COACH PAINTER: We didn't talk about it. I don't know if we did anything different in terms of taking advantage of him not being out there. There's no doubt that they're a better team with him. He's their glue. I thought yesterday was a big time game for them beating Michigan without him. Especially in the style that they beat them in the second half. They had a great second half.
And it just proved they've got some good players. But now having back to back games, not having that energy, not having that glue, that's difficult, because when we played the first time, Frazier guarded Hummel. He did a great job. We played the second time, Rob didn't play but Frazier guarded Moore and did a great job.
There's no doubt that Illinois is a better team with Chester Frazier and we thought he was an All Conference guy. That's how much we value guys like him, Travis Walton, Kramer, Chester Frazier. Those guys just help you win games.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach.
THE MODERATOR: We'll go with our same format. Coach, if you'd open us up.
COACH WEBER: Credit to Purdue. They came out very ready to play. Obviously we've had some pretty good games against them. The overtime win here last year in the tournament and the last two times beating them this year.
So I think they probably had something to prove. They played like it. They played very aggressive, very strong, just took the game to us, I think.
And then when they shoot the ball from 3 that well, it really puts you in a bind. So we had an emotional game yesterday. I've been proud of our guys all year. I was very proud of them yesterday. Probably didn't have the emotion to get through today.
But at least in the second half we didn't quit and it gave an opportunity for some guys off the bench without Chester to get some minutes and a little bit of confidence, and hopefully in the long haul it's going to help us as we get into the tournament.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Jeff, Calvin or Trent.
Q. Trent, you guys had a big win yesterday and a loss today was kind of hard. How do you regroup now to head into the postseason after coming off of this?
TRENT MEACHAM: We've got no choice but to regroup. Here we are, going to the NCAA Tournament, and it will be a great opportunity for this team. And wherever we're at, we're excited and we've got to have a good week of practice and this is the biggest time of the year. So there's no question we're going to regroup fine and be ready to go.
Q. Calvin, how different was this Purdue team from the team that you beat twice during the regular season?
CALVIN BROCK: I mean, they came out with a chip on their shoulder because we beat them twice both times early this year. But they just had more motivation because there was a lot more on the line. It was a hard fought game. I don't think there was a difference. They played tough all the games we played them and they made shots and made plays down the stretch when they needed it.
Q. Trent, you came out and hit two early 3 pointers first couple of shots and then really didn't get any good looks after that. Was it something they did defensively, were they not looking for you? What happened there?
TRENT MEACHAM: I think they may have picked up their defense a little bit. But the team we didn't get many good looks. Especially for the stretch there in the first half, it was one shot and done. Just couldn't get a whole lot after that. And we just didn't they pushed us out to half court on defense, for our offense, and really we had a hard time doing anything offensively for a good portion of that game.
Q. Calvin, these last two games you've gotten your feet wet a little more than you have in a long time. How do you feel going into the postseason with what looks like your new role?
CALVIN BROCK: I'm pretty confident. I think I've been confident all year. I know my role bringing energy off the bench, do the small things and just do whatever it takes to help my team win, so that's what I'm going to do from here on out.
JEFF JORDAN: I think it's a confidence builder, just coming in to the tournament. We knew Chester wasn't going to be here. We knew we had to pick it up along with the other bench players and just give a little spark. So hopefully we can carry that into the tournament and get some more wins.
Q. Calvin, to follow that up, how is it different starting?
CALVIN BROCK: It's not really that much different. I probably have to say it's a little more pressure on you if you start, but for the most part it's all the same basketball game. You have to do whatever it takes to help your team win, as we have to do from here on out.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you. Questions for Coach Weber.
Q. Bruce, when you play against Matt, is it like playing a mirror image, as far as the team goes and the coaching?
COACH WEBER: I think Matt talked yesterday a lot that the first two times we out toughed them. Today they probably out toughed us. And when you play somebody, timing, I said we caught them I think we maybe caught them off guard probably the first time. Maybe they didn't respect us enough at their place. We gutted out a game in overtime. They came to our place, we caught them without Hummel and we win a game by a good margin.
So now we catch them when they had a tough week last week, as we did, but I think Matt they had the scoring drought last week at Michigan State. So I think he got after them this week at practice. They rose up. Played like I thought they would all year. But it is similar. And they take away a lot of the stuff you do, and if they're playing good on defense like they were in the first half, it makes it tough for any team in the country.
Q. Bruce, Demetri didn't play that much after he didn't do too much. Can you talk about him heading into the post season? Was his leg all right from yesterday?
COACH WEBER: He wasn't very aggressive. And Jeffrey was playing good, gave us minutes. Trent, Calvin. So you play the guys that are playing well, playing with emotion and energy. And it is just one of those games. I didn't do it on purpose or whatever.
Demetri has been a key for our success. Probably didn't get going today like we needed to. So, again, you give credit to Purdue's defense. They get up on them. He has to learn to do things without the ball, because now Lewis is getting after him or Kramer or whoever it is. And now he's got to learn to move without the ball. And that's his next step, to be able to deal with different defenses and still stay involved with the game, even though he can't do anything just with the ball.
Q. I was wondering, how big of an impact did you think this last impression against Purdue is going to play on the tournament committee and what kinds of things do you want the committee to look at besides this loss, what kinds of things do you think they should take into account when recording your seed for the tournament?
COACH WEBER: Well, again, I think we've had a pretty good season. They talk about the total package. We had good wins in non conference, on the road, neutral sites, played a lot of deep people from different leagues. We've won games in the league on the road. And beat Purdue, as we said, twice. One at Ohio State. So we've played good basketball all year.
And there's a lot of people in the country that lost, that some of them didn't even, Kansas didn't win their first game. You go on, Washington, UCLA go on down the line every league. North Carolina lost today. So we didn't play well. But that's not we're not the only team in the country that got beat today or yesterday.
And, again, I would think they're well educated. They keep talking about the whole season. I think we've given them a pretty good resume. Whatever happens, happens. I don't know if we're four, five, six, seven, eight, whatever, I have no idea, doesn't matter where we go, just have to be ready to play with a desire to make, to make the NCAA Tournament, go a while for us, and your mental approach is I think so important.
Q. In the first half when Purdue went on the run and really broke the game open, you seemed to have a hard time getting shots inside. Everything you took was a jump shot from perimeter. Is that a guard or big man issue?
COACH WEBER: I think it's both. Tisdale has to get stronger where he can seal. But that's where Chester would get his stability in. If you remember back, both games he was the one that got into the paint, dished it to people. The first time at their place I think we were 24 assists, 25 assists to six turnovers for the whole game. And tonight we have six turnovers in the first 10 minutes. So that's where he's a stabilizing factor. And we needed to get some touches inside. I thought we panicked a little bit. I'd say make a play, they'd jack up a 3. Not a good 3 either.
So you have to learn from it. Hopefully we won't have this situation again, but I think in the long haul going through this we haven't had a game really to get kicked, butts kicked in the first half like this really all year.
I hope maybe it gives us a little mental edge going into the tournament. And also, as I said, it allows us to play the bench and give me a little more confidence in them and they hopefully will have confidence.
Q. Bruce, I know you're disappointed, but at the same time how proud are you of Matt leading his team to the Big Ten Tournament championship game as well as turning the Purdue program around?
COACH WEBER: Well, Matt's done a great job. He's got a great group of kids. They're young. That's the scary thing. I said before, I've thought maybe they were the best team all year. They've had some setbacks, maybe some chemistry issues, I don't know. A lot of different things. Now they seem to be playing good at the right time. Yesterday was pretty impressive.
Think about it, a week ago they were really but that's basketball. That's life. You know, your mental approach. They played with a sense of urgency today and yesterday. Hopefully they can continue that into tomorrow and then into the NCAA Tournament.
They have the ability to make some noise and to dance. I don't think there's any doubt. Especially if guys like Hummel and that shoot the ball so well.
Q. Coach, you've played now 20 games, similar styles for 20 games, the same teams that know you so well. How much have you looked forward to playing a different style, a different league?
COACH WEBER: I hope it gives us an advantage. One, we've got to keep guarding like we always do. And I hope that's we take a lot of pride in that. Our whole league takes pride in it, preparation, defending, playing hard.
We probably didn't play as hard as we needed to in the first half. Our play hard chart was way down, especially picked up in the second half, but too late, too little too late.
But I hope it's different. We'll have to see. And NCAA success a lot of times is matchups, how you match up with people. And but we just have to see what happens and go in with a good framework. I'm very proud of our guys and what they've done. Twenty-four wins, I gave them that goal. They reached it. Now hopefully they got a little bit of greed inside and a positive way to keep making this season go for a while, maybe get 26, 27, whatever.
Q. What do you think has got more Gene Keady in him, you or Matt?
COACH WEBER: I was with him longer, so probably me. I'm more mean and grumpy. Matt is still young. I think probably Matt in practice, he's pretty tough. Obviously he was with me and he's pretty tough. He's a little more calm on the bench. I'm a little more emotional probably on the bench. In practice I sit back, but when I do go crazy I do go a little too crazy. So a little of the family history in both of us.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach.