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January 31, 2018

Matt Painter

West Lafayette, Indiana

Maryland - 67, Purdue - 75

Q. If you look at the stat sheet, they out-shot you percentage-wise, had 10 more turnovers. What was the importance of taking care of the basketball in this game?
MATT PAINTER: I think obviously we didn't shoot the ball great really across the board, but we were getting shots, I think especially in the first half. I thought we really could have opened up the game if we could have made a couple open threes, finished at the rim a little bit better.

We had some opportunities to make some shots and we just didn't. That's going to happen.

I thought our ball screen defense was really good. I thought we had active hands. Obviously a couple of theirs were unforced errors, but also some of them were our hands, being able to disrupt them a little bit.

But, no, I thought taking care of the basketball and rebounding for us, it was going to be huge. Any time you have a good shooting team, you want a lot of cracks at it. Tonight we obviously took care of the basketball, and that really helped us.

Q. How come this team has so much more active hands than past teams?
MATT PAINTER: I think the other day we weren't as good in defending against Indiana, especially in the first half. Today I thought we were better in the first half. I don't think we were as good in the second half.

They also had some guys in the second half, Bruno Fernando, Morsell, make some perimeter shots, make some pull-ups, that they don't typically make. You got to give them credit for that.

We allowed Huerter to get loose on some things. Carson obviously is very fast. P.J. puts a lot of pressure on the basketball. Dakota has very good hands. Obviously Matt gives us a longshot blocker when he subs in.

Q. Seemed like in the start of the game, the first four, five minutes, every time somebody drove the lane, you had somebody there swiping at the ball. Are they more aggressive that way?
MATT PAINTER: I thought we were in better position. I think if you can get in better position, you can be more aggressive. But I'd have to watch the tape obviously. I did think our guys were ready to play, ready to defend. We just didn't shoot the ball that well.

Q. You seem kind of low-key. Are you feeling guilty about making Vince play tonight?
MATT PAINTER: No, I thought it was a great game for him. It was a real gut check in terms of having the flu and throwing up before the game. To be able to go out there and not turn the basketball over, get five assists, 11 rebounds, is huge.

If you go back and watch the first two or three shots he takes, he normally makes those shots. Didn't quite have the legs under him, have the balance to complete those plays.

I thought what he did tonight was huge. Maybe one of his best games all year.

Q. How he hit the boards early, I know you lost the rebounding by one, but what kind of tone did he set on the defensive end?
MATT PAINTER: You get under the weather, you're not feeling great, a lot of things go through your mind: trying to keep things simple, dominate in the effort category. I thought he gave a great effort. That showed up with those seven rebounds in the first half.

Q. I know you guys don't like to dwell on the win streak, but you have had back-to-back challenging games here. Your guys have found a way to finish the games. What does that say about the resiliency of this team?
MATT PAINTER: I think being comfortable in possession-type games. They cut is to 55-52. We were able to make some plays. But we also had breakdowns, and they didn't convert. They got away on a reload, Huerter wide open for three, on a good set play by Turg, out of a timeout, when it's seven or eight, Nickens just misses that shot on the top of the key. We were fortunate, got a couple breaks on a couple things.

But no, our guys, whether it's been the Louisville game, Northwestern, both Michigan games, Maryland at their place, we've been in some possession-type games. Indiana on the road. And we've been able to make plays on both ends.

Sometimes you're more of an offensive team than defense. We've been able to get timely stops. It shows the mental toughness of executing on the offensive end, then being able to get the stops or long rebounds on the defensive end.

Q. The spot where Huerter hits the three threes in a row, then you answer 7-0, what did you see in that moment from the team?
MATT PAINTER: I think it was kind of the most important stretch of the game. We were able to execute offensively. But you're not able to execute and make a run if you don't get stops. You got to be able to do both.

I think the combination of executing offensively but also getting stops defensively, getting some long rebounds.

One of those stops was them getting an offensive rebound, then missing that shot. We were very fortunate there.

Q. How have you managed to keep your guys focused day-to-day instead of listening to the outside noise?
MATT PAINTER: Yeah, I'm kind of shut off from the outside. I kind of stay in my own world no matter if we win or lose. It helps me because I don't react if it's something I don't know. I'll watch TV or highlights, watch another game. But to me, like, your goal is not to win 11 Big Ten games, your goal is to win the Big Ten. Maybe that takes 17 wins, maybe 16 wins, maybe 15 wins.

We've been through it enough to where 13-5 is tied for the league championship before, 14-4 won it last year by two games.

Stay with what your goals are. Your goal is to win the league, not win 10 games. We won our 11th conference game. It's not one of our goals. Now being able to win a road game against Rutgers, that's our challenge. We kind of stay right there.

I know that's kind of coach's talk, and it's simple, but it's what we do whether we win or lose.

Q. They came into this already missing two guys, found out about another one before the game. Does that affect game planning?
MATT PAINTER: It's disappointing. You have bad luck. You lose a great player like Jackson, a guy that could play four and five. Now they lose (indiscernible), who is a great shot-blocker. Didn't have a good game against us last game, but last year he did. He bothered Isaac last year. You have another body.

When you don't have depth, it's hard to kind of make decisions. Now when you go against Isaac, I thought those big guys did a good job. They were able to stay both of them together and kind of keep going at him, making it hard for him.

But if you have that other body, especially that shot-blocker. And he's so good in ball screens. He is such a good diver. He dives, gets those lobs, the alley-oops.

It's frustrating as a coach. When you go into the game, you want to game plan with all your bullets. When it gets taken away from you...

You look at some of their losses, besides Ohio State and Michigan State, they're right there. They are right there. They're three possession-type games that could go either way. If they have those guys, they have that depth, that could be the difference.

Q. It seemed like maybe there were some jumpers in the first half that might have been a little quick. Do you agree with that? Are they maybe a little too overconfident?
MATT PAINTER: Sometimes they are. I don't think tonight we were. Carson got fouled on his jump shot. The first three he took he got fouled. I thought we had some good looks that didn't go down.

As long as you're in rhythm, I think that's probably more important. I don't like the quick contested, especially when you get out of rhythm. Kind of the right of first refusal. Run the play, try to get the ball in the paint whether you're driving it or passing it or throwing it in the post.

Just thought we executed on our first play. That kind of can set the tone, especially when you go to Isaac.

No, I thought we were good. I just thought we missed. I'm obviously going to go back and watch it. We'll dissect it and go from there. I just thought that our guys had some really good looks and we could open up the game, but we didn't.


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