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March 17, 2016

Matt Painter

Dakota Mathias

Vince Edwards

Denver, Colorado

Little Rock - 85, Purdue - 83, 2OT

THE MODERATOR: We are joined by Purdue.

Coach, if we could start with you and get some of your thoughts on today's game.

COACH PAINTER: Well, first of all I want to congratulate Little Rock. I thought we had the game in control, and they kept fighting. They made a lot of plays on the defensive and offensive end, especially Josh Hagins, I thought he was great. Just made some tough shots over our guys, kept them in it. You have to give Little Rock credit for being resilient and continuing to battle.

I was proud of our guys for fighting and putting themselves in a great position. We've had this happen a couple times throughout the year where we just don't make the necessary plays and take care of the basketball to secure a victory when we have a double-digit lead.

At that time we had to give ourselves a chance, get some stops, but also be fundamentally sound on the offensive end. We weren't. It wasn't from a lack of effort.

We got a great bunch of guys. I just feel bad for our players, especially our seniors, because they worked really hard to get here. Two years ago we were not a very good basketball team and we've worked hard to put ourselves here in the tournament. Just unfortunate we couldn't advance.

THE MODERATOR: We'll now take questions for the student-athletes.

Q. Vince, can you talk about those frantic last three and a half minutes of regulation and what happened.
VINCE EDWARDS: Little Rock just kept fighting, man. Hagins made some tough shots to keep them in it. We turned the ball over here and there. They go down, capitalize on it.

That's just the game, man. Like coach said, that's been our Achilles tendon all year. It hurts. They did the necessary plays. They kept fighting. We got up double-digits, 10, 11 points. We thought the game was over.

We got complacent with our lead. We didn't put our foot down and take control of the lead and keep it going, stay strong.

Hats off to Little Rock.

Q. Vince, after they hit the big three to tie it, you got the ball inbounds, were you not aware of how much time was left there?
VINCE EDWARDS: No, I was not. I wasn't aware. That's a mistake on my part mentally. Just not knowing time, knowing score. So, no.

THE MODERATOR: We'll dismiss our student-athletes at this time.

Thank you.

We'll take questions for coach.

Q. You went with largely the same five guys throughout. What was the reason for that?
COACH PAINTER: Well, we went smaller to defend them. They went smaller. So that's what we tried to do is, is we tried to match them up. That would help us also because we were struggling with the press. We wanted an extra ball handler in there to help us with that.

You have to give Little Rock credit because they threw the kitchen sink at whatever big guy we had in there and they made us be able to play on the perimeter and make some shots and plays. They forced our hand. We just didn't make enough shots.

Q. You out-rebounded them, but they were able to keep things close. Was it something with their footwork?
COACH PAINTER: No, what they were able to do is they were dropping at least one guard, sometimes a weak-side guy and a top guy in the paint. We might catch it, but then we were getting swarmed by two or three people once we did catch it.

It's nothing different than we've seen throughout the year. We actually had a lot of people early in the year do that, that was really extreme. We made a bunch of shots.

Tonight they forced our hand. Like I said earlier, we didn't make enough shots. We thought going smaller and putting two or three guys out there that can handle the basketball and shoot a little bit better on the perimeter and help us match up on the other end was definitely going to be beneficial for us.

In the end, we didn't execute well enough.

Q. Once Isaac picked up his flagrant foul, we didn't see him anymore. Was that because you were sort of protecting him?
COACH PAINTER: We just stuck with Hammons. He had six blocks on the game. We just stuck with him.

Q. I know it's a quick turnaround, but how do you assess the season as a whole and where the program is at this point?
COACH PAINTER: I thought we had a good season. I thought we could have had a great one. Obviously getting into the tournament and how you play in the tournament's going to really put the stamp on it if you're going to have a great season.

But I thought we made a good run in the Big Ten tournament. I thought we put ourselves in a great position today to win this basketball game.

What happened today, we've had that happen three or four times throughout the year if you followed under the circumstances. It was something that was an Achilles of ours that we got better at at times, but then it came back to bite us today.

But, no, I think we had a good season. We have to get better at some of the things you saw today there at the end. If we want to be a team that can win our league, be a team that can advance in the tournament, we've got to make some improvements.

Q. Do you think next year's team can win a Big Ten?
COACH PAINTER: I think so. But we have to improve. We have to get better at handling pressure, being consistent on the perimeter, things of that nature. I got to be better.

Today, when you said that about Vince Edwards, getting basketball, not knowing the time, I should have got a timeout right there. I started to get it, I saw Little Rock was really not getting back. So I thought we were five seconds.

We got that quick outlet, be able to attack. Our guys didn't recognize that the score was tied. That's my fault.

Then with 17 seconds in the one situation, we're up three, I don't foul there, I thought it was too much time. I thought they would look to attack. Most people don't wait till the end to shoot a shot with 17 seconds. They look to attack. If they can get a quick three, great. If not they can get a quick two, then they foul.

They kept dribbling, dribbling, dribbling. In hindsight, I should have got a foul there at the very end. It's hard as you get out of the huddle and talk about those different things.

I've got to be better as a coach, too.

Q. When you talk about those games you had over the course of the season, do you feel that may have haunted them mentally down the stretch?
COACH PAINTER: I don't know the word 'haunted' is correct. It's not a strength of our team and a strength of a couple individuals that are good players. We just got to continue to work and get better and make improvements in those areas.

We were able to do that throughout the course of the year. When people would come and do some of the similar things, we did have some good moments. Today obviously we didn't.

Q. Specifically with Swanigan not playing towards the end, that was part of what you were describing before?
COACH PAINTER: Yes. You feel terrible because those guys, Swanigan, Haas, are great players. They played such a particular way, the way they pressed us, the way they swarmed the ball, we were trying to get as much skill as we could get out there to help with the press and the halfcourt. Then to match up with their personnel as they went extremely small.

Q. With the game on the line, you looked to spread the floor and drive to the basket with Johnny and Vince. Is that what you were looking for?
COACH PAINTER: We were looking for the dribble handoff to Vince. We told him he had to take it strong and drive it to get that guy in so you could get that pitch back. But we said, If you can get an alley and get to the rim, we wanted you to be able to do that. He definitely was able to get there, and then obviously it didn't work out.

Q. What was your view on the final drive? Did you think there was a foul there?
COACH PAINTER: I thought there was definitely contact. I couldn't tell 'cause he kind of long-stepped through the contact. I thought he got hit, but I haven't watched it yet, you know, to confirm that.

Anytime you put yourself in those positions, it can work for you, and sometimes it doesn't work for you.

Q. Tomorrow people are going to look at the paper and will see Purdue, Little Rock. Most people don't know it. In reality, what's the gap between the two programs? You know better than anybody.
COACH PAINTER: You talk about the two programs or the two teams?

Obviously, you know, their lead guard was really good. He was able to make plays. A lot of times when you get into the tournament, when you have a play-maker such as him, that ended up being the difference in the game, in my opinion.

But, you know, on a neutral court, I was at Eastern Illinois and Southern Illinois, you fight for these opportunities, to be able to get into these situations and get these wins.

They were able to hang in there. You have to give them credit.

They're a very, very good defensive team. Their numbers speak for themselves. He's a very good coach. Their guards, you know, that kid there can play anywhere.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you very much for your time, coach.


FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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