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March 18, 2018

Matt Painter

Vincent Edwards

Dakota Mathias

Detroit, Michigan

Purdue - 76, Butler - 73

THE MODERATOR: We're joined by Purdue head coach Matt Painter and student-athletes Vincent Edwards and Dakota Mathias. Coach, an opening statement.

COACH PAINTER: Obviously it was a tough, grind-it-out type of game. I thought Butler really posed some problems for us, especially in some isos. And I thought our guys did a really good job. I thought our rebounding in the first half was really good. Just trying to make it as difficult as we can on Baldwin and Martin.

I really thought if both of those guys played well, when they played good competition they've won. And we had to make it tough for them and try to get more shots than points for at least one of them. We were able to do that with Baldwin and bottle him up and keep making it difficult for him.

I thought we really did some good things on the offensive end until the last three minutes. We lost our poise there, but we still were able to make enough plays. We made a couple of transition stops where we deflected behind. Vince made a big time block in transition. We got a couple of key reader boards there.

But obviously the play of the game was our execution in Dakota knocking down that 3 to send it to five points. So I want to give credit to Butler. Obviously they have a great program. They've done an unbelievable job. And Kelan Martin is a fabulous player, fabulous player. For a guy to score 2,000 points -- Kamar Baldwin is very difficult to deal with. So congratulations to those guys.

But just proud of our guys. We found a way. We lost the big fella and he's a big part of our team. But I think we also showed we've got a lot of pieces and we've got a lot of guys and we're able to hang in there and get this one.

Q. What was that last minute like, all the different plays that happened? And then on that final shot, what was going through your minds when that ball was in the air?
DAKOTA MATHIAS: We had a good play designed coming out there. Once it left my hand it felt pretty good. We ran that play a lot throughout the year. And it's a good designed set.

But those last couple of minutes we kind of got out of our element, forcing some things offensively, not making the right read to let them back in. And like Coach said, give Butler a lot of credit. They played hard. They're a good team. We're excited to come out with a win.

Q. Is that the biggest shot you ever had?

Q. What's second?
DAKOTA MATHIAS: I don't know right now. This is one, two, and three.

Q. Also, can you speak to the seniors really stepped up. You lose Isaac. What did it mean to you guys to play like you did on a night when you lost Isaac and obviously wanted to help him get to the Sweet 16?
DAKOTA MATHIAS: Definitely. That's what we talked about before the game. This was for Isaac. Our senior class, we've been through a lot together. I think this is the first game he's missed. So to go out there and play for him, everything he means to this program. It just feels good to find a win and for him right there.

Q. Vincent, how does it feel to be the leading scorer on your team, contributing a lot to this victory?
VINCENT EDWARDS: I mean, honestly, I don't even care that I was the leading scorer. I was just happy that we're surviving and advancing to the Sweet 16. The coaching staff did a good job of putting me in great positions to be successful. My teammates found me, and we did a great job executing. And Dakota had itself a huge shot at the end for us.

Q. The NCAA Tournament is like a book and each team has their own unique chapter. You guys showed a lot of perseverance losing your team leader. What are you guys doing to adjust and fill in the chapter?
VINCENT EDWARDS: You look sharp, man, by the way. (Laughter) I like that suit. But like you were just saying, I think our thing is, for us would be to just stick together. Losing Isaac is definitely is a big piece of something we do. And like Dakota said, he's a huge part of our program.

So we told each other we had to go out there and play for him. That's the way we had to keep it going for the rest of the ride. We don't want to stop anytime soon. We just gotta stay together and believe in each other, and I think we'll be okay.

Q. Vincent, how concerned were you when you picked up the third foul at the end of the first half knowing you would have to play the whole second half that way?
VINCENT EDWARDS: It was a little frustrating to be out there here and there, but just trying when I was out there, trying to be as effective as I could. Gotta be a little more smarter in those type of situations about picking up that foul and just try to stay out there on the floor. Can't afford to be in foul trouble, especially when we're missing a guy like Isaac.

Q. Dakota, how important is your confidence from the perimeter going 3-for-6 for this game as the tournament progresses? Do you feel confident shooting from 3?
DAKOTA MATHIAS: Definitely. I think we all do as a collective unit. Especially losing a piece like Isaac down there, we're going to be a lot more perimeter-oriented. With Carsen, Vince -- P.J. was huge again tonight. I think collectively we have to be more aggressive and confident on the perimeter.

VINCENT EDWARDS: One more thing. Shoutout to Lil B, 2YBG (phonetic). Appreciate you.

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Coach.

Q. Coach, Butler didn't seem like they wanted to go away even though you had stretches where you were able to hold him down on defense and score. What did you tell your guys to keep them going and keep telling them that this game is winnable and that you can take it all the way?
COACH PAINTER: Yeah, the game is just a game of runs. It goes back and forth, any game you watch, unless it gets lopsided. You knew when you got up 10 in that one stretch they would make plays and come back.

We were just trying to do a better job of keeping the ball in front of us and bottling them up, trying to make it as hard as we could and take up their space. And it's hard with Kelan Martin, because we put a guard on him, but he's got the size of a power forward. But yet he can move and shoot. So you're going to give in to something.

So when he gets deep, he had the one post move, a couple of spins, it's hard because he's rolling off your body and he's bigger than. And that's what made him a great scorer is just his ability to do things. We knew they would make runs, but we had to do a good job executing trying to keep the ball in front of us on the defensive end.

Like we talked about earlier, we lost our poise right there. That could have cost us. We had three to four possessions in the last three minutes where we came away from nothing and a couple of them put them into transition. So we're very fortunate to be able to pull this out after those possessions.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about your strategy for replacing Isaac? I saw that you guys went small for a little bit there without a big. You played Taylor a little bit more than he usually plays.

Q. Was that the game plan going in, and is that something you'll have to try to do going forward?
COACH PAINTER: I think you play teams that have earned their way here. But somebody like Butler and their prestigiousness of a program, I think it starts with playing hard. So you're worried about your personnel. Everybody puts it in like a schematic form. When in reality you've got to compete harder than Butler or compete as hard as Butler.

And I thought we were able to do that and match them. They played hard. We played hard. Sometimes you can get caught up in the loss of something instead of getting consumed in what you have.

I thought Taylor did some good things. Eifert did good things. Matt Haarms did some good things. But what's ironic in this game is Matt Haarms, he played 29 minutes, and the game we played the first time he played 27. It's not like we put in somebody that hadn't been playing.

Jacquil Taylor hadn't been playing. So for him to give us those kind of minutes was huge. And then Grady Eifert has a lot of energy good. He's got good physical tools. He can compete and plays hard. That being said our bench played good.

Nojel Eastern played well. Ryan Cline made a huge 3 there at the end. They kind of left him open. Proud of those other guys that had to kind of increase their role. But we didn't do anything really different.

We're not going to play through the low post is the only difference. We throw the ball to him a lot. But we're pretty balanced. Carsen leads us in scoring. Vince Edwards averages 15, Dakota averages around 13 or 14.

Q. The senior mentality that it's your last chance and you don't want it to end and you have several seniors out there, how important of a factor is it in a game like this?
COACH PAINTER: I think it's important that -- we lost our poise there, but then we also regained it. And Dakota Mathias made a huge shot but we executed that play and set good screens and moved the basketball and did what you're supposed to do. That's what you have to have.

We can still win the win the game with that one possession and we were able to do that. It's so importantly because they know what they're doing. I know that's hard. You guys say, well, you guys practice. But when you have people that have been in the same system, they started as freshmen and they grew into seniors and they've been together and they have so many experiences, it definitely helps going down the stretch.

Q. Looking ahead to the next game, what's your strategy?
COACH PAINTER: The next game, we've got to play harder than Texas Tech. It's a heck of a strategy, isn't it? But no, Chris Beard has done an unbelievable job at Texas Tech. We played them and they beat us when he was at Arkansas-Little Rock. They play extremely hard, very physical, very tough.

And we have to match that. We'll have to rebound the basketball, have quality possessions. I think more than anything, when you get into tournament play, so many people are so excited to play, go at it, but you still have to have quality possessions. When we execute and get those quality possessions, it really helps us offensively but it also helps us set our defense and make them go against a set D.

Q. This is your second straight year making the Sweet 16 of course. For your players, is there a little bit more of a focused mentality rather than they're just happy to be in the Sweet 16; is there more of like we're ready for revenge for last year?
COACH PAINTER: I think anytime you've been there before, I think it helps you. I think that experience of being there, and -- I wouldn't say a focus because I thought last year we were focused we just ran into a buzz saw. Kansas was really good in that game in the second half.

We know we're playing a quality opponent again. We know they're tough and physical. But anytime you can have an experience like that, I think it definitely helps you the next time.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach.

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