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February 9, 2017

Tom Crean

Bloomington, Indiana

Purdue - 69, Indiana - 64

TOM CREAN: De'Ron. De'Ron took a hard blow to the face. He wasn't feeling well. He had to leave the game to be evaluated. He wasn't able to return. We'll continue to evaluate him, and hopefully he'll be okay. That's straight from our doctors.

As far as the game, great battle. We accomplished a lot of the things that we wanted to accomplish, but our margin of error is not very big. We would never get over the hump offensively because we didn't shoot it as well. We played well around the rim but we didn't shoot it as well, and a couple things like miss a block-out. I think it was a two-point game. Was it two-point and it goes to four? Those things are monumental in a game that's coming down to the wire like that.

Highly disappointed. We know we lost to a really -- probably a great team, and when you look at the numbers, which I've just looked at barely, very even in a lot of areas. So when it's like that, it's going to come down to -- obviously we were playing without De'Ron, we were playing without Juwan, Thomas at the very end. We haven't used that as an excuse or a burden inside our program, and we're not going to start now. It is what it is.

But we've got to continue to take care of what we can take care of. It doesn't mean we're going to get the ball. We can't miss block-outs. We can't have that. We can't be late on a rotation coming out of a time-out. Those type of things.

But it was a great crowd, great atmosphere. I'm certainly proud of how hard they battled and competed and played through things. But again, like I said, our margin for error is not high at this present time, and we've got to do a better job of handling the details of the game.

Q. Do you have a sense for how the double foul changed things, changed the game towards the end there?
TOM CREAN: Oh, yeah, it was a momentum, no question. I'll have to watch the film, but it was -- no question. It's a one-possession game with that basket, right? Was it a one-possession game? Would it have been one?

Q. Down five.
TOM CREAN: Yeah, potentially if they call a foul, the basket went in, right? You're either getting the two points or you're getting an and-one. So...yep. There's not much more I can add than that, but definitely momentum.

Q. Defensively you were able to contain Haas and contain Swanigan for the most part. Talk about that.
TOM CREAN: Biggest thing was the three-point shooting. They were shooting 45 percent going into the opponent's arena in the Big Ten, and as good as Haas and Swanigan are, you've got to defend the three at a very high level against them and in transition, and for the most part, we did that. But so did they. Our shooting, I think we were 8 of 34, I think; is that right?

Q. 8 of 24.
TOM CREAN: No, with our three guards, 8 of 34 with our three starting guards. That's not good. That's not good.

So again, I go back to our margin for error. We're not just lighting it up, and again, I thought James did a good job for a guy that's practiced sparingly the last couple days, and again, to have an expectation that he's going to come out and play great basketball in his first night back, no, I don't think any of us thought that. He missed shots he usually makes.

But would have been a great win because we got a lot of really good effort plays. Thomas was phenomenal at times tonight, no question about it. Zach McRoberts came in and battled, Freddie McSwain continues to get better. He came in and battled.

But again, we didn't shoot it as well, and a couple mistakes, a couple momentum changers, and they come out with the win.

Q. The block-out you've mentioned a few times, is that the P.J. Thompson offensive rebound?
TOM CREAN: Yeah, yeah, he should have just been blocked out. It's a tough one, right? You're in the area -- guard rebounding is huge in this game because it's going to be a battle, right, with the front line. And I've even totaled up what our guard rebounds were. When we've been really good, that's part of -- we had 13. We had 13, yeah. That's part of making up for that margin for what we don't have with OG. Juwan is good. He's still not even -- a fact is a fact. He's not even close to being the level of explosive athlete that he is. He's not. But I give a lot of credit for -- he's cleared, and obviously I give him a lot of credit for the way that he's battling and working through things, but he's not the player that he is when he's healthy. So our guard rebounds are huge, and if you're not going to get the ball, you've definitely got to block out. Those things get over-magnified when you're in a close game like this and in the sense that we just don't have that many guys to make up for it during the game.

Q. And you don't think Davis has any structural damage?
TOM CREAN: I hope not. I don't think so, no.

Q. No tests scheduled?
TOM CREAN: No, no, I just talked to the doctor right before I came in here after I saw the recruit.

Q. You talked about -- you said Thomas was phenomenal at times, and I think it's the third out of four games he's scored 24 or 23 points. How important was he tonight going against Haas and Swanigan?
TOM CREAN: Well, he's grown confidently. They're really all getting better. I know it doesn't show up in the won-loss record. They're really improving. Our freshmen, Freddie, these guys are improving, and Thomas is improving. You want your best players to continue to get better throughout the year. James was really getting better -- look at the Michigan State game, he was moving at such a high level in that game, I mean, his separation ability was so good, he was defending well, and then he gets hurt early in the Michigan game. It's not the same, and we've dealt with all that. Devonte gets hurt Friday lifting a bar, okay, gets a back spasm in the weight room, lifting a 35-pound bar to put it on the rack. You can't make this up. It is what -- he hasn't been the same since because he's in and out of practice, he's recovering from the back spasm. It just is what it is.

Guys like Thomas have to continue to get better, and it's really hard because De'Ron is a freshman and we didn't have him as much tonight, but he's playing without his partners out there in the sense that OG could cover a lot of ground and make up for things, especially on the glass, and a healthy Juwan can do that. I think the way Thomas is playing, when you look at an individual thing, is really, really impressive because he just keeps getting better and better, and he had the foul trouble in the first half, he recovered from that, I mean, look, the way he's shooting the ball, he's doing a lot of good things for us, but he needs some rest, too, at times, and we weren't able to do that as much tonight.

Q. You mentioned you guys have a small margin for error. When you need to get some wins down the stretch to get to the NCAA Tournament --
TOM CREAN: Well, you know what, I don't mean to cut you off. We've got to get ready to play Michigan, okay. I really -- I'm not smart enough to think past that in all honesty. We've got to get ourselves ready to play that game, and we've got to keep making the improvements that we have to make, and that's our next game, and they shoot it phenomenally well, and we'll put our game plan together, and that's what our focus has got to be.

Q. That play when Davis was hurt, is there any sportsmanship issue with Purdue going -- or is that just the way it goes?
TOM CREAN: That's the referee's call. Yeah, I don't think they can stop the flow. I mean, I don't know. It's a good question. That's a good question. I don't know what the exact rule is on that. But they did score the basket, right. They did score.

Really in all honesty, for that to not be anything -- I mean, call the foul on De'Ron, right? When you end up on the floor, something happened.

Q. Call it on both maybe?
TOM CREAN: Or call it on De'Ron. I don't even mind that. Yeah, you can't be on the floor and there not be some sort of contact that came. So it is what it is. I expressed that.

But I could have lived with a foul on him at that point. But no, that's -- I don't know the answer to that. I should, but maybe they can't stop the flow. I'm not going to look at it as sportsmanship, though. I mean, you've got to follow the referee's whistle on that. They played hard. They earned the victory. They're really good. They are really good. He's done a great job building that, putting shooters around those big kids, and again, as good as those guys are, our number one focus was defending the three.

Q. You've lost twice in a row to really experienced teams and both of them were really close games. Is that where it really makes a difference in games like this?
TOM CREAN: Sure. Oh, absolutely. Yeah, down the road this really helps the team. It just doesn't feel very good right now. James is out, and we started two different freshmen. Two different freshmen got starts. We just -- we have one of those -- we won these games a year ago, right, for the most part. We won those close games because experience really does matter. But we've just got to continue to understand how important the details are, and again, I've said it maybe a couple times. It gets over-magnified in a game like this because it is so close and because that margin is so small. Again, when you've got your full front line the way we've had it, there's so many things we can do defensively, there's so many things that it makes up for, there's so many rebounds that you get that guards don't have to get, and that's not where we're at now, so we've just got to keep getting better with that. But I'm not down on them at all, at all. They were ready to fight.

Our week was great. The preparation was excellent. They were ready to go. They weren't too hyped in the sense of losing their mind because of the rivalry. They were ready to go. They said all the right things because that's how we try to do it. It's always extra tough when you lose to a team that's close in proximity that's got the rivalry like that, but it was the same on Sunday, came down to a couple plays, and we've got to figure out how to get over the hump on that. Okay? Thank you.

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