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December 16, 2017

Vincent Edwards

Carsen Edwards

Matt Painter

P.J. Thompson

Indianapolis, Indiana

Purdue - 82, Butler - 67

Q. Really for anyone who wants to take it. Let's talk about the defensive tone. What was the approach? Why did you think you were able to so effectively build that lead in that first half?
P.J. THOMPSON: I thought we executed our game plan. We knew they had really good guard play. Jorgensen can really shoot the ball. He didn't get going until late. I thought we did a good job on him until late. He was 5 for 19. I thought we pressured him and made things difficult.

Same with Kelan Martin. I thought we really stuck to our game plan and really executed.

Q. You guys had all five starters in double figures. That's not the first time this year that you guys have done that. What do you think about the way you guys are sharing the basketball and kind of using a multi-facetted scoring approach?
VINCENT EDWARDS: It makes the game easier when guys are attacking and the shot is falling. It's contagious. When the shot is falling, the next person gets going. It comes from sharing the ball. We've been playing with each other for a while now. Coming with chemistry, and we just got to keep going.

Q. Carsen, with the way you guys have played for the majority of the season, you guys have looked pretty consistently solid. You had the two losses in the Bahamas. As we reach this point near the end of the nonconference schedule, I wanted to ask you how your team has adjusted and thrived after losing a player the caliber of Caleb?
CARSEN EDWARDS: It's hard to replace a guy like Caleb. We just come into every game just working hard, just listen to our coaches and the scouting reports and things like that. We practice hard every day. We just come together and just play, play hard, and try to come out with the win.

Q. Just for whoever wants it, you guys were the highest scoring team in the Big Ten last year, obviously, got a lot of notoriety for your three-point shooting and stuff like that. Just how did you get to the point here where you're winning games so decisively with defense?
P.J. THOMPSON: I think we learned from our mistakes. We know we can score the ball with anybody in the country. We can really score at a high level. But what's going to separate us and allow us to be really successful throughout the rest of the season and in the postseason is defense.

I think we assured that up from when we were in the Bahamas because we knew we could outscore those teams. We didn't come ready to play defensively, and it kind of bit us.

We really -- I mean, we've really toned it up defensively. I think we've gotten a lot better, as you guys can tell, throughout the season, and I think there's still room to improve.

Q. Aside from the defense, was there anything else in particular that you guys didn't do well in the Bahama tournament that you've done well since? I mean, you've beaten these guys, Arizona, Louisville, et cetera.
VINCENT EDWARDS: I would just say, like you said, in the Bahamas, we just didn't do what we did today. Following our scouting report and playing with a sense of urgency, our preparation for each game has been better and better as time goes on.

As you can tell, we've been coming out read. I think that's good on our part. Our coaches really challenged us, as time went on, after those two losses in the Bahamas. So we responded well, and we've been ready.

Q. A few of you guys last year and Matt last year talked about maybe the emphasis shifting a little bit more toward containment. I don't want to say being a little more passive, but being a little more containment-oriented. Is it different this year in terms of what you guys are trying to do from a pressure perspective that you can have a game like this where you pressure the way you did in the first half?
VINCENT EDWARDS: When you've got guys like this sitting next to me, P.J. and Carsen, they really get up and pressure the ball. Dakota is a good defender. And you've got guys that can protect the rim like Matt and Isaac. It makes it easier for the perimeter players to be up and pressure a little bit. Even when Matt comes in, to have a shot blocker like Matt, it makes you a little more comfortable when you're out there pressuring. I think that's what kind of changed the dynamic a little bit.

Other than that, it's just been us working and practicing and pushing each other and making each other better every day. That's what's made us better this year too.

Q. Carsen, do you feel like you're defending better as the season goes along, and how does that help you use your speed as you were using it as a weapon today?
CARSEN EDWARDS: I mean, I hope my defense is getting better. I'm going to keep working and following the scouting report and things like that. I hope, if I'm able to play good defense and things like that, hopefully, it will turn into offense and get in transition, but also pressure the ball and get deflections and things like that.

Q. Do you feel like there was anything about your style of play down the stretch that helped Butler get into that -- make that start of that comeback that they never finished?
VINCENT EDWARDS: Basketball is a game of runs. We just got comfortable a little bit and didn't keep that fight that we had early on. So that was on us to grow and mature as a team. Every game you know it's coming. Someone's going to make a run, but can you withstand that run and hold on to the league and take care of the ball when it's crunch time?

Adversity hit us a little bit, and I think we showed that we can be mature and take it and still be able to execute down the stretch.

Q. Just for everyone to answer, actually, Carsen, since you made one of them, just how important was it to make those two early threes in the second half? Obviously, after you got some momentum going into halftime, you wanted to start well. To be able to make those two shots early seemed really significant.
CARSEN EDWARDS: Yeah, I mean, it's always good to see a three ball fall, to be able to hit one of those and kind of stretch the defense a little more. And then we can go inside and let guys like Vince and Isaac get in the paint and things like that. So it's good to see those fall. But always when a three falls, you're able to stretch the defense out more, so we can get into the lane and things like that, get to the basket, fouls, free throws, things like that.

Q. Vincent, P.J., Butler's kind of had your number. It's been a long time since you guys have beaten them. Is it a little extra meaning getting this one, especially here?
P.J. THOMPSON: Yeah, definitely. I'll definitely have my last collegiate game in Indy in front of fans and family and the Purdue family was awesome. We think we're the best team in Indiana. So protecting our state.

And our record in the Crossroads, Purdue is 1-5. Vincent and I finished out .500, 2-2. Lost to Notre Dame and Butler early on. I think we have Purdue on the right track, so next year Carsen can lead those guys to the win.

No, I think we came out, did our job. It was really cool for me winning on home court in Indy.

VINCENT EDWARDS: Yeah, just to piggy-back off what he's saying, I told him in the locker room today, I said, we finished .500. Of course we lost to a really good Notre Dame team freshman year and they went to the Elite Eight. So they were really good.

Then sophomore year, we ended up losing to Butler, letting one slip. We didn't execute down the stretch like we did today. To be able to get two rematches and be able to win both those games. Last year we won and a good comeback. This year we were able to stay out and stay ahead and finish the game. So I think it's kind of a good feeling and to break that curse of not beating them. So it was really good.

Q. Matt, there are a few teams that are as efficient and quick on offense and grinding other teams on defense late into the shot clock the way you guys have proven to be this season. With that as backdrop, did Butler come at a really good time with the way you've been playing and the way you were able to execute against a team that runs the way they run?
MATT PAINTER: I thought we did a good job of just sticking with certain guys. It wasn't a good game for Baldwin because he's a guy that can go make plays. So I thought he never really got it going, and that was important for us because now we didn't have to over-help, and we could stick with those shooters.

At the end there, we just -- you know, you let Jorgensen get the one three, and you let Kelan Martin hit those other two threes. We were just staying with them. Why we left them and let them shoot them, I don't know. But I thought our defense in the first half was great, and I thought our guys were ready to play.

I thought we had some shots early that normally go down for us that didn't in that first half, but we stayed with it. We grinded it out. Cline hits a huge three to close the half. I thought that was a good momentum boost for our team.

Q. What sort of development are you seeing from Carsen in a season that's allowing him to use his speed more, especially on the defensive end?
MATT PAINTER: Well, just him being accountable and guarding certain guys, I think that's -- we're going to have a Mathias guard the other team's best player, if we can. Sometimes quickness really bothers him.

From a physical standpoint, Carsen can guard a lot of different people right there, but it's just kind of sticking with it and staying with it. He just goes under Jorgensen there at the end and allows him to have one when you've got to just stay with him. He's much better at following scouting reports and doing things of that nature, but sometimes he'll let something on one end of the court affect the other end of the court. Just trying to keep that focus and understand.

He's a very talented guy, but he's got to be able to pick his spots. A couple times a night on drives, he's driving through three or four people. But he also went one-on-five early in the game and scored it.

So as a coach sometimes it's difficult, when he gets going, to kind of put the reins on him and pull him back. Sometimes you've got a little bit of a give and take.

He's done a much better job in terms of those things, kind of the intangibles.

Q. What's the biggest difference between this Purdue team now and the one who walked off the court in Western Kentucky?
MATT PAINTER: I would say that just shot selection is a little bit better. I thought we've done a much better job of not trying to shoot the ball so quick. I thought we were shooting the ball entirely too quick.

The other team, we weren't making them work for things and really just trying to harp on our guys to push the basketball, take open rhythm threes, get to the rim, get a quick post-up. If not, execute. We went to a lot more sets because of it, so we kind of forced them. Tried to put up a lot of stop signs just to make them run sets and to make them be efficient on the offensive end.

When you have somebody like Isaac, and he only played 16 minutes, they have to worry about him. If you're constantly taking perimeter shots, they have to worry about him. Allow him to touch the ball. He doesn't have to shoot it, but allow him to touch the ball when he's in there. Get their bigs in foul trouble, get to the free-throw line. He shoots a high percentage. Get him in rotation so now you can get more rhythm, inside-outside type threes.

When we have a better balance like we've had since there, it really helps us, and it also allows us to set our defense. So a lot of times in our sport, the two ends are connected. So the better you are on offense, the more you're going to be efficient on the defensive end. If you go look at our turnovers and look how we play and go look at Butler's turnovers, if Butler doesn't turn the basketball over, where are they? You don't know. They turn the ball over. If we don't turn the ball over at the end, they don't make a comeback.

If you take care of the basketball, you give yourselves a chance. But you also set your defense. There's not a lot of teams out there that are going to score versus set defense all the time. They're just not.

Q. You've had a lot of success this year with the offense for defense late in games with Haas and Haarms, especially with Haas having the four fouls. How important has it been for Haarms to develop so quickly, especially on the defense?
MATT PAINTER: Matt, he's got a high basketball IQ and we can switch late in the clock with him if we need to, but he changes a lot of shots. He's around the basketball, and he has energy, and it's really helped us.

From an offensive standpoint, he's a good player. He's not like he's a liability. He's not the low post player that Isaac is.

The one thing about people pressuring and getting after you and extending their defense, if you throw it inside, they've got a long run double, especially if you want to leave ball side. We try to go inside as much as we can late in the game. We just couldn't pass and catch there for a while, and so that really hurt things.

But Matt's been great for us.

Q. It looked like you called a couple of time-outs after lapses when you were up 20, looking like you're trying to get out in front of trouble.

Q. And then the trouble came later. What do they have to do to play with bigger leads more effectively than they did there for a while?
MATT PAINTER: I just thought Butler picked up their intensity and pressure. You just have to cut harder, just be stronger with the basketball. Like I said earlier, I know it sounds simple, but just pass it and catch it. We had two or three post feeds that somehow we don't complete. We can't enter a pass a couple times offensively. We're trying to throw bounce passes to start offense. So just some basic fundamental things we didn't do a good job of.

I think it's a by-product of having a big league. One team always picks it up, and the other team relaxes. I think you see that a lot in basketball, but as a coach, you obviously try to prevent it.

Q. Coach, Isaac only played 16 minutes, but you got 15 points out of him. Is that efficiency offensively with him, an evolution of his game this season?
MATT PAINTER: No, he's always been efficient, I just haven't always played him as much as some people would like. But A.J. Hammons was pretty good, and Caleb Swanigan was pretty good too. He's been in a stack.

What upsets me is the first foul he has. You know what I mean? You just stay big, and he hits down. There's just no -- you're not going to get anything from that play. Just play big, make him score over you, make Tyler make that jump hook. If he makes it, good for him. You stay in the game. That two points really doesn't matter.

And he has those moments still, and that's what we've got to get away from him because I didn't think they had an answer for him. And then we really prefer somebody to double, to be frank with you. It makes us have better balance and lets everybody touch the basketball. I think it's better that way anyways.

Q. You started to touch on the defense, especially in the first half. Just how would you evaluate the way that your team has developed defensively since the beginning of the season?
MATT PAINTER: Well, I think we matched up with them. I thought Mathias matched up with Kelan Martin, even though he scored the basketball, and that helps us. You make improvements, but also in the matchups, kind of go your way. And then we were able to back up off Thompson even though he made some plays and try to clog some things up. So we were constantly trying to clog things up.

Then we found out McDermott was going to play, and that concerned us just because they can put another skill guy out on the court, but obviously he's not 100 percent. No, we've definitely made improvements with little things.

Sometimes when you get on a winning streak, you can take some steps backwards too, like I thought we had some breakdowns there in the second half where our ball screen defense, we weren't as tight. We didn't show our hands. We didn't stay connected. We like to get our big guys as high as we can get them without hedging. So then just to try to not let those guys get in those little creases and break us down.

Q. Coach, how valuable is it to play in an event like today this close to conference play starting up again?
MATT PAINTER: Oh, it's great. Any time you can play on a neutral site. Obviously, I know conference play is coming, but this is more for an NCAA Tournament type thing. A lot of people don't realize you can get in the NCAA Tournament and just have an absolute sellout and be unbelievable. But sometimes you'll get, half of the gym is a little bit empty and half the gym's not. It's kind of sporadic at times. That was kind of the way it was at the start, and then as the next game's coming, it started to fill up a little bit more, and you have more people.

I like it from an NCAA Tournament standpoint. I think it helps all four teams. I think it's great for the state of Indiana and the fans and everybody here. We're just happy we finally actually beat butter.

Q. Just when you kind of take a step back from this one and you look at the big picture, it seemed like after Butler missed their last ten shots of the half, and Cline makes that three to put you up 16, making those two early threes to start the second half really important in terms of keeping them at arm's length. Was that kind of where the game -- was that the biggest moment of the game maybe?
MATT PAINTER: We talked about our game from last year and how we were down. We now how it feels in that other locker room. We didn't want them to be able to bring that energy. We should have talked about doing it for 20 minutes. I thought our guys were ready to play. Sometimes it's fool's gold. The ball goes in for you a couple times, and we just feel better about it. We did get a couple of good shots and knocked them down. We had the lead up to 26.

I thought our guys were ready to play at the beginning of the first half and the beginning of the second half, and those were pretty important times.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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