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February 20, 2016

Tom Crean

Bloomington, Indiana

Indiana - 77

Purdue - 73

COACH CREAN: Purdue can beat you in so many ways, the way they can run their break, get offensive boards. They can obviously score in the paint. They can score from three. You just can't let them come down and be comfortable.

I thought the fact that our guys really acted with their feet and hands, we had 57 deflections tonight, 33 at halftime. Troy had 13 at halftime alone, ended up with 18 in the game. That is a huge thing for us because of the activity.

Good passing team, shooting team, they're very skilled. You just can't let them get to their comfort level. They did it a few times. They caught the ball deep in the post. That's a problem. That's a problem for everybody trying to deal with them.

We wanted to put pressure on the ball. When we did that, we did a good job. We created turnovers, which is rare to do against Purdue. We took care of the ball, which is also rare to do against Purdue.

Those were key, key points in the game for us. A lot of good basketball from a lot of guys. Yogi played a tremendous game. The only way Rob was coming out in that second half was the way he came out, unfortunately. So we'll deal with that. It's too early to tell what his status is right now. He's continuing to be evaluated in there and looked at.

Troy played a phenomenal game. Troy's had an excellent week. Very locked in and focused. Troy was incredibly committed on the defensive end this week. It's amazing what happens to your offense. You try to get these guys to understand all the time, when you focus on the defense and the rebounding, making simple plays with the ball, it's amazing how well you play. That's exactly what he did.

I thought all of our inside guys were up to the task. It's no easy task to go to battle with the three centers that they have. But they responded. They carried their own on the offensive end, as well.

Very proud of the way that they played. Our crowd was incredible. I didn't think it could be louder than it was for Iowa from start to finish, but it was. It was tremendous. We know we beat a really, really good team. That is going to play for a long, long time. Obviously has the potential to play for a long time in the tournament.


Q. (No microphone.)
COACH CREAN: That was the number one key. I'd have to count this up to see what our guard rebounds were. We needed to be in in the paint. It's a fight. We got guys in their getting stitches. It's a battle. They're very good at it. They have great footwork in the post, they get deep position and they are quick. Those guys are all quick. You have to be down there.

You have Edwards who is just a machine on the glass. It was key. That was the number one key of the night, that we limited them as much as we could to one shot. If we got a turnover, so be it. We ended up getting some that we turned into points, which was huge.

But that was the biggest key. For us to carry that out is probably one of the main reasons, that with the activity we had on defense, for the way we won the game.

Q. Thoughts on IU guards' ability to penetrate?
COACH CREAN: Well, that's the key. We had to stay true to the concept of what we wanted to get done, who we wanted to come off of. There's a little bit of cat and mouse involved in that because you don't want to give up too many shots. It's a risk with P.J. Thompson, he's shooting over 40%.

Nobody has guys right now that can guard those guys one-on-one. I haven't seen it. So you've got to do a great job. It's not just the scoring, the post position, but they can shoot. Especially A.J. Hammons and Caleb Swanigan. They can pass, especially A.J. Hammons.

To me, that was the key. There were a lot of hands in there, a lot of hands, a lot of activity. The post defender didn't feel like he was in there by himself. They capitalized when he was in there by himself. A couple times we gave too deep of a position and a couple times we didn't put enough hand pressure on the ball.

That was absolutely key the guards were active, alert, aware and able to recover.

Q. 12-3 in the Big Ten. What's pleased you most about the team?
COACH CREAN: I would say the biggest thing is how they've stayed focused on each game. I know that sounds cliché-ish, but it's absolutely true. I don't think we'd have this record without that.

Going back to December, they have stayed centered on the day, the preparation that goes into it, practicing really hard. We didn't even practice on Thursday. There's a risk with that, right? Because Purdue has been sitting there since Tuesday night, I believe. We didn't even go Thursday on the court at all because we hadn't been away from the court a week from Monday, from the previous Monday.

When you have that, and when they're in there watching film, when they're in there putting things together, they're communicating with the coaches, they're locked in. They're not just bought in, they're locked in.

I think that's been the biggest thing to me, has been that consistency of focus that they've carried.

Q. (Question regarding starting Max.)
COACH CREAN: I think that's great leadership. I think that's really good. We decided to go with Max because we didn't want to start Thomas on Hammons. I'm glad I didn't do that. Thomas only had one foul at half, I believe. That was a good situation. I know Matt is going to see that matchup and attack it even more so. We've seen that in the past.

Max has been excellent. Max has been, I hate to use the term big brother, but I've said this before. We didn't need him to come in here and be a baby-sitter, we needed him to come in here and show leadership with a bunch of young guys. That's exactly what he's done.

Those three young players respect him, like him, look up to him because he has always been a part of it with them. There's always a risk with that. When you bring in somebody that age, somebody that is with a different program, they're brand-new guys, that says a lot about Max, but it also says a lot about the young guys.

That's what's been impressive. I don't think you'd have the focus that this team would have if you didn't have a bunch of guys that really like each other, respect one another.

Q. Talk about so few turnovers tonight.
COACH CREAN: Just the night. I can't answer that in a proclamation because it could turn around for us, right?

We want to play fast, we just don't want to play reckless. I think they have a lot of respect for Purdue. They know how good that defense is. They put a lot of pressure on you.

So to me, make the simple play. We had some open shots. In fact, at the end of the game those shots were open and they were all good shots, but we probably needed to reverse it a little bit more. You don't want take the foot off the gas. At the same time when a team like that can score off the break, score off the boards, score in the post, score from three, you don't want to give them that many opportunities.

I couldn't fault the openness of the shot, but we probably needed to reverse it a bit more. I think they moved the ball. In answer to your question, they moved the ball all night long.

At the end of the first half, we took a couple shots that we needed to get it reversed, right, play through the paint a little bit better. We were 13-16 through the paint in the first half. We were 3-15 not through the paint in the first half. That's the first thing that went on the grease board at halftime. They understand that.

They're not purposely trying to go through the paint because they're getting shots they think they can make and that they do make. But we need to go through the paint. When you do that, it cuts down trying to make home run plays that are not there.

Q. (Question regarding the last possession.)
COACH CREAN: Yeah, really wanted to clear out, not the screen. We had a different lineup on there. It's a different play when you have more shooters on the court in that situation. We wanted him to be able to get to the basket. You know he's really, really good. Drive it underneath that backboard. We call it our ice. He's very, very good at that.

There's enough time to make that play. But we want it in his hands. I thought it was the right call. Did you? Good, I'm glad you agree.

Q. (Question regarding Troy's turnaround this week.)
COACH CREAN: The worst thing that could happen when somebody is struggling is you keep reminding them of it, right? There's enough talk on the outside of slump this. That's not what's relevant. For us, it's not about the percentages. If we played other team's percentages, we'd probably lose more games. You've got to play the players and play the personnel, play the other team. It's the same thing with your own team.

The last thing we want to do is dwell on what's not working. We want to make sure we're spending enough time on what is and try to refine it.

It was key, not only that we talk about being more aggressive, but that we actually put him in situations where he can be, in practice, and hold him accountable a little bit more, which I do. Then it just carries out into the game.

His focus is really, really strong. I love him. I absolutely love him. He's just getting better all the time.

Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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