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March 13, 2009

Keaton Grant

Robbie Hummel

E'Twaun Moore

Matt Painter


Purdue – 79
Penn State - 65

THE MODERATOR: We'll start off with an opening statement from Coach Painter and then questions for the players, and then we'll finish up with questions for yourself.
COACH PAINTER: First of all, I thought we were playing a very good team today. Penn State is a very physical team. They have a lot of quickness. Talor Battle and Pringle are a tough matchup in their quickness and ability to shoot from 25 feet, and Cornley is very difficult to keep off the glass, very difficult matchup with his strength and his ability to shoot and drive.
But I thought our guys did a good job, just jumping on them from the opening tip and just staying with it and really never letting them get started in terms of getting a lead or putting a stretch together where it had us backpedalling or getting behind.
We got that early lead and just stayed with it. And we did a good job on the glass in the first half; didn't do as good a good job in the second half. But the whole game we took care of the basketball. It's a good sign for our offense because when we give ourselves a chance, I feel we're a good offensive team.

Q. You had said the other day that it was frustrating to sit and watch the first two Penn State games, and I think the phrase you used to me was maybe I can get in there and help. Obviously this was more like what you had imagined and what was it about tonight that got it going for you?
ROBBIE HUMMEL: I mean, I think it was a total team effort. I think everybody played well, from Bob to Nemanja to Green, to the guys who started the game. I thought everybody was really focused in and ready to play. I think the team was sick of losing. We lost two in a row, it had been a while since we won, and it felt good to be back in the win column.

Q. Robbie, how big was this game for you guys? Lost three of four coming into this. Was this kind of a must-win, or in that regard to kind of get your confidence back and get back rolling to where you guys were earlier in the year?
ROBBIE HUMMEL: I think we took the approach that every game is a must-win from here. It's single elimination. Obviously we have the NCAA Tournament but our goal was to win the Big Ten Tournament. It would have been a major disappointment if we didn't come out ready to play today.

Q. Any of you, how good was it to see your offense flowing this well since it hadn't flowed this well in a little while?
E'TWAUN MOORE: We did a good job spacing out our whole team. Every time we drove and they committed to us, kicked, got open shots. That's how Keaton and Rob got a lot of open shots.
We just did a good job of not turning the ball over also. I mean, didn't have many turnovers in the game gave us a chance to win.

Q. Guys, I think it was the last time you played here in Conseco, you guys had the great 3-point shooting half against Davidson and this was almost the same thing. Do you guys just like it here?
KEATON GRANT: I think I definitely like the rim. I like shooting here. It feels like you're more loose and I think the offense flows a lot better when we're in this building.

Q. Any of you guys, the beginning of the game you guys always play tough defense but you really jumped on and pressed a little bit. Did Matt say anything about them having played last night, you had four days' rest, that your legs were probably going to be a little fresher than theirs were, and was that true or not?
KEATON GRANT: I think definitely that has something to play into it. I know we wanted to jump on them the first five minutes. Coach said in the pregame speech, he said make sure we go out there and play defense. We didn't want Battle and Pringle to get loose on us. We just wanted to follow the scouting report like Coach said.

Q. Robbie, just talk about playing Illinois for a third time and what you guys have to do to be successful tomorrow against the Illini?
ROBBIE HUMMEL: I think we have to stop dribble penetration, because really once you help Davis and Tisdale it's like it's almost an automatic two points. We have to be able to contain their guards and not let Davis and Tisdale get off. If we can do that, we'll be in good shape.

Q. How concerned were you with the way you've been playing the last two weeks?
E'TWAUN MOORE: I mean, we definitely have some ups and downs the last few weeks. We lost a few games. That was the end of the regular season. So now it's the start of a new season since the Big Ten Tournament. We've just got to be ready to come out and play. Our guys did a good job tonight getting the win, and we've definitely got to be ready for tomorrow.

Q. Robbie, can you talk about the matchup with Cornley? One of the most intense players in the league, and down the stretch he was obviously battling pretty hard when they got behind. Can you talk about that matchup?
ROBBIE HUMMEL: He's obviously a very big, strong, physical guy. He really wanted to win, and, I mean, obviously they're still playing in the tournament. I think they should be in. But you never know, I guess. So I'll have to wait until Sunday to see that.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you. Questions for Coach.

Q. Matt, can you talk about what your thoughts were with your offense, how well you thought you guys played offensively?
COACH PAINTER: Any time you make shots, everything's going to look better. Then it gets contagious, obviously when Keaton Grant makes those 3s and Calasan makes those 3s, you're getting the production from your bench, you're going to have success on the offensive.
I thought our guys took better shots today, our shot selection was better. We moved the basketball. Got the ball off the rims a couple times where we couldn't finish, but for the most part we didn't change anything we were doing. We just tried to be more efficient and play a little smarter.

Q. Coach, going back a little ways, last time we saw you was quite a ways back, Davidson, you started this game out it seemed like a mirror image of how you played. It's really predicated on that. You guys start moving the ball like that, that's really your flow. Have you been concerned that when that flow doesn't happen that you're in a bit of a mess?
COACH PAINTER: Yeah, I think a lot depends on who you're playing, whether it's somebody zoning or somebody who is pressing or playing man-to-man. We've had success against all of that. We've also had some failure against all of that.
And when we force things and we don't take good shots, and we press a little bit, that's when we have struggles. But when we're patient and I like to call it aggressively patient, you've got to be able to probe the defense. Sometimes it's there after a pass. Sometimes it's not there after seven or eight passes.
It is a concern the past couple of weeks because we've been pressing. You want your guys to be confident, because we have some good offensive players, but they also have to understand what's a good shot and what's not a good shot, time and score, how many you've made, how many you've missed. There's a lot of factors that go into it. It's not an easy thing to do.
But I think when you see us play together and be unselfish and share the basketball, we can score the ball like we did today, especially in the first half.

Q. Matt, how impressive was this victory especially considering you did get little to nothing from JaJaun?
COACH PAINTER: I think it's a good sign any time one of your primary guys gets in foul trouble and you're still able to have success. And that goes right down the line with any of our guys that have been in foul trouble throughout the year. If we can have success with one of them on the bench or one of them injured, I think it's a plus.
And you have to learn to play without your guys, whether that's injuries or foul trouble. And tonight he got into foul trouble and got a couple quick ones and got a couple obviously in the second half, and I thought Nemanja did a good job in playing more minutes and helping us.
But I think all our guys did a good job staying smart out there. Hopefully he can stay out of foul trouble and play more in tomorrow's game.

Q. Is there any real significant injury to Kramer?
COACH PAINTER: I don't even know what happened. He said he got kneed by Cornley. So I don't know if it's just a charley horse or what it was. I thought at first it was a cramp. But he said Cornley got him with a knee.

Q. Talk about how important this start was for you guys, I think it was 12-2 in the first couple of minutes of this game especially considering how the guys have been playing and they've been shooting coming into the tournament. How big was that start given the way the team ended the tournament?
COACH PAINTER: I think any time you can start off that way it gives you confidence. It just gave us confidence. Also you can jump out to leads like that and you can think it's going to be easy. And you've got to try to keep your guys on edge knowing that it's going to be very difficult.
And it was difficult but we still had to have patience, and we didn't try to hit home runs and try to knock them out right there. Just keep playing possession basketball. Keep pushing it when it's there. When it's not there, have patience and move it and try to break the defense down.

Q. The struggles the last two weeks, were you curious how your team would respond tonight? And have you been losing any sleep with the way the team has been playing?
COACH PAINTER: I thought they would respond in a positive fashion. And I knew they would play hard. I was just hoping we could make a shot. And we have good shooters. We have guys that are capable. I think that's obvious. But sometimes in a season you get into slumps. Just like hitters in baseball. You get into those slumps and it was good to see our guys kind of have a bounce-back game and be able to go out and score the 51 points in the first half to give them that confidence. I think that was important.
But as a coach, you know, you lose sleep whether you're winning or losing, it's just kind of the way it is.

Q. Can you talk about your strong start offensively? How much of a part of you that was you guys seemed to really push the tempo. Were you doing that more than usual or were you just doing what you do?
COACH PAINTER: We've been trying to push the tempo the whole year. At times we get into ruts where you go back and you watch film and you're asking yourself why aren't we pushing the basketball. Why are we walking the ball up the court.
And I think we play some people in our league that dictate tempo and the possessions just mean so much, and you just have fewer possessions against certain teams in our league. And I think it kind of grinds you into that mode, and we really wanted to take those long rebounds, and we wanted to take the turnovers and really push the basketball, and then our guys did a good job tonight.
Kramer did a good job couple times attacking after makes. We got the ball out quick. Keaton pushed it, passed ahead to Kramer, we're able to attack one time, we got a layup the other time, we got to the free throw line.
That's what we want to do. We have athletic guys. We want to push the basketball and try to get the defense on their heels.

Q. I don't want to put words in your mouth, but did Penn State run into you guys at a particularly bad time coming off two or three losses? You're not used to losing. And you had rest also.
COACH PAINTER: We played well and sometimes it's just like you said, it's the timing of everything. You don't know how it's going to balance and everybody said do you like your seed, do you like who you're playing. No, I don't want to play anybody in the Big Ten, to be honest with you. I think we have a lot of good teams in our league, but I just said we lost three out of four, if the silver lining to it is it puts us on edge and we play better in the NCAA Tournament or the Big Ten Tournament, not necessarily in that order, maybe it's a good thing.

Q. That does happen.
COACH PAINTER: There's no doubt that happens. There's no doubt that it can be a wake-up call and you can play better. But time will tell. We'll see how we play tomorrow.

Q. Just what you love to do: face Bruce's team for a third time this season. Just your thoughts on that matchup and the Illini really have had your number recently.
COACH PAINTER: It's one thing to have somebody's number and to outplay them. But Illinois has just really out-toughed us. More than anything Illinois has just been tougher than us, been quicker to the basketball, they've been stronger. They've got more rebounds, and I think that's been a staple for Coach Keady's program and we've tried to get it to that point. I don't know if we're at that point yet.
But we've just got to play harder and we've got to play tougher than Illinois. Obviously the last three times we've played them they've been able to do that and that's why they've won.

Q. You've talked about playing harder since the Northwestern game. I mean, against Michigan State you got outrebounded, maybe took away from it a little bit. Did you feel the energy was there and the guys gave the effort for the whole way?
COACH PAINTER: I thought the other night at Michigan State we did some good things defensively. If you look at our body of work on the defensive end, we do a pretty good job of guarding them. We just couldn't get the second-chance points. And that's part of the game also. That's part of defense. You had to finish your defensive position with a rebound, I understand that. But we did some good things against them, and I think sometimes at a loss you've got to take that positively.
I thought we had a good effort. I thought we worked pretty hard. I don't know if we played real smart, and I don't think we were real patient, and any time you're against a great team like Michigan State, they're going to take some things away, and when they do you have to be patient, and you have to put them on defense for long periods of time when they take things away.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach.

End of FastScripts

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