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March 14, 2009

Robbie Hummel

JaJuan Johnson

Chris Kramer

Matt Painter


Purdue – 66
Illinois - 56

THE MODERATOR: We'll let Coach Painter make a few opening comments. We'll take questions for the Purdue players only then and then we will finish with questions for Coach. So, Coach, go ahead and start us off.
COACH PAINTER: I felt that our guys were ready to play once again. At the start of the game, they did a very good job defensively of just not letting Illinois get into a rhythm. They did have some open looks and we were fortunate they missed on that first four or five minutes, but after that I thought our guys did a good job of staying with them and staying off the glass. I thought that was key that we did a good job rebounding. I thought especially in the first half our guys did a good job of keeping them off the glass.
And then we got into a pretty good offensive flow, making some perimeter shots and just kind of having that balance of shooting the basketball and trying to drive it and also getting it inside. And it's difficult, as you see, you can have a little bit of a drought like we had in the second half. Illinois's a very good defensive team, one of the best in the country. And so we knew having that separation at 20 points at halftime was huge.
We just tried to come out with some energy in that second half. And I thought our guys the first, eight nine minutes of the second half did a great job and got into a little bit of a drought, missed some shots and got impatient. We have to do a better job in that segment of the game.

Q. Chris, Meacham hit his first two early and then I think in the last 16 minutes of the game neither he nor McCamey scored. Could you explain why that happened?
CHRIS KRAMER: Earlier in the game he came off some single-single screens and I let him get away, just get a little separation. That's all he needs. He's such a great shooter, and with him and McCamey we tried to clamp down on them and stay tight on all those screens and make them put the ball on the floor and make them make plays off the bounce.

Q. Robbie, I think last game you had five turnovers. I know you had two turnovers in the first half, I'm not sure how many you ended up with, but can you talk about the offensive efficiency both in shooting the ball and the lack of turnovers?
ROBBIE HUMMEL: Yeah, that's been very important for us. It's something we pride ourselves on. It's for us to not turn the ball over, to force their team to turn it over. So when we do that and we rebound like we did today, we're really putting ourselves into a position to win.

Q. JaJuan, there's never such a thing as a comfort level in basketball. But the three games you guys have played in Conseco this year, the first half, can you explain what it is collectively about this building that seems to appeal to the Boilermakers?
JAJUAN JOHNSON: Yes, I would say any time you get a chance to play at Conseco or a venue like this in front of a lot of people the team wants to do really well. And they've been good games for us. I don't think we need much motivation to come out and play.

Q. What's the difference between this team and the loss to Illinois during the regular season?
CHRIS KRAMER: First of all, we're healthy now. We got Rob back and we completely bought into how Purdue needs to play. We need to play as hard as we can and just play to exhaustion. And just rebound the basketball. And if we can get stops and rebound the basketball leads to good offense on the other end, and we're just taking good shots and making them and that's leading to us being able to get back on defense and stopping the opponent.

Q. Robbie, in that same vein, is this the real Purdue we're seeing now that maybe people hadn't seen before, and other teams might want to take notice now?
ROBBIE HUMMEL: I thought there were a few games this season where we really played really well. For example, Davidson, Michigan State at home, it probably helps that we're getting used to playing with everyone on the floor because we did go through a time period where it was kind of tough with injuries and sickness.
But like you said, I think it's just good for us to be on the floor together. The more time we have, the better we'll be.

Q. Chris, how proud are you of you, your teammates and their ability to bounce back after the way you guys ended the regular season, and not that it makes your season advancing to the Big Ten Tournament, but just talk about your thoughts getting to play for a Big Ten title?
CHRIS KRAMER: You know, this is huge, just being able to bounce back after two tough losses at home against Northwestern and at Michigan State. To come out and play so well in two games, especially in the first half, and this is another one of our goals. We still have a chance to win the Big Ten Tournament.
So that's another one of our goals and we put ourselves in position. So it all comes down to how we play tomorrow and just try to take Ohio State out of everything they want to do and just rebound the basketball and be effective on the offensive end.

Q. Rob, we asked you about whether or not you thought you'd be able to hold up playing two games in two days. Obviously you passed that test, huh?
ROBBIE HUMMEL: Yeah, my back feels real good. It's been good to get back out there. It's a great environment to play in out here at Conseco. I thought the fans were great today, Illinois and ours. And when we have support like that it's easy to fire up and I think the adrenaline just takes over.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you. Questions for Coach.

Q. Matt, I asked Chris the same question, but in the last 16 minutes of the game, if I would have told you this morning that Meacham and McCamey wouldn't score, what would you tell me? If you said it's possible, why would it be possible?
COACH PAINTER: It could be possible. And with Tisdale and Davis, I think their ability to shoot the basketball is really uncanny for big guys. They really stretch you out.
We made a couple of adjustments to that and tried to knock that out and when it did happen we tried to rotate some guys to them and really contest their shots with that.
And we did a good job. You talked about like with Chris's breakdowns against Meacham to start the game and after that Keaton Grant and Chris did a good job on him, and I thought we did a good job on McCamey, just keeping him in front of us and not letting him get going. He's a very streaky guy and he can get 25 points, go 6-for-6 from 3 like he did last year.
We knew they had balance and that balance scares you because you just don't know about two guys out of their leading scorers, they have four guys between 10 and 12. And they spread the wealth, sometimes that's tough to defend.

Q. Going back to yesterday and the same theme, you guys get running and get just flowing right off the bat, it just seems to crumble teams sometimes, if you can get a couple down.
COACH PAINTER: Yeah, it has to start with the rebounding. And I think that's -- when we do a good job rebounding, when we do a good job of forcing some turnovers, even though today we weren't able to force turnovers, able to get some rebounds and get the breaks started, and then even when it's not there immediately, just reversing the basketball and trying to attack while they're trying to get their man or rotate and trying to stop dribble penetration, it really helps us, because now you're just not scoring in the half court, you're not scoring off the glass. You're scoring in transition while they're trying to adjust.

Q. Yesterday you said that you needed to out-tough Illinois, that didn't happen the first two times. At what point in the game today did you sense that your guys were going to out-tough them?
COACH PAINTER: About midway through the first half. I sensed it when we played in West Lafayette, I sensed it in Champaign the other way. It's a heck of a feeling when you see your guys are quick to the ball, they're making the fifty/fifty plays. When the ball got loose in that first half and every single time it got loose it seemed like we got the basketball.
The first two games Illinois got those balls, and that's the difference between winning and losing especially when it comes down to a close game like it did in Lafayette. I was proud of our guys for being ready and playing hard, and at times that's not good enough. That ball has to go in the basket. Our guys have to step up and make some shots and get that good lead going into halftime.

Q. The opportunity to play for a Big Ten championship and obviously improve your NCAA Tournament seed, can you talk about that?
COACH PAINTER: I think any time you have an opportunity to play a quality team like Illinois who is going to be right in that mix with a good seed, you're going to help yourself. And today this really helped us, with our seed. Maybe you don't move up as much as you would like, but you know it's definitely going to help you.
With our team, we talk about the things that we need to do to beat Illinois, to be successful and to do those little things, but in the grand scheme of things, you're trying to improve your spot in the tournament. Anybody can beat anybody, but you still want to try to put yourself in the best position you can.

Q. Matt, you talked after the win yesterday that you thought the positive of losing the last two games of the regular season was that it would potentially put your team on edge. Is that something you've sensed these last two games?
COACH PAINTER: In the two games I did. Not coming into it I didn't. You never know as a coach how they will rebound from getting beat three out of four in the last two games, but our guys have done a great job. They played harder, they played tougher. They did a better job on the glass. And that's what we're going to have to do. Not turning the basketball over and just giving ourselves a chance is huge. And in both games we haven't turned the basketball over.
And this was a big game for us because Illinois is a very good defensive team to not be able to turn the basketball over like we did really gives us a chance in these games.

Q. Matt, when the selection committee looks at your seed, do they need to look more closely beyond the record but at your record when you have all your guys out there?
COACH PAINTER: I think it's something that probably a lot of teams across the country go through. I think you have to look what that person or persons mean to your team. And with Rob, it's just more than just points and rebounds. I think he brings a lot of intangibles to the table. We didn't have Kramer for one game.
But there's a lot of teams out there that played this year without some of their best players. So I don't know how they look at it. Obviously we're a better team with him in the lineup, and I think we have proven that and it gives us more balance on both ends of the court.
So I don't know. I don't know how to really answer that question. Because they really never give you that answer. You never hear somebody on the committee come out and really talk about something of that nature, especially before it happens.

Q. Can you talk about the matchup tomorrow?
COACH PAINTER: All right. I think it's going to be a good game. They're a very good basketball team. Evan Turner and William Buford, we simply could not stop in Columbus this year. I think they combined for 50 points against us. B.J. Mullens is a very tough matchup for anybody. And they balance it with him and Lauderdale at the 5, both of them can block shots. Both of them are good at the basket, and to go along with that they have Diebler who is a great shooter, one of the best shooters in the country.
With that being said, I think their zone has given a lot of people trouble throughout the year. They do different things with it. They tilt it different. He does a great job with making adjustments with it. We're going to have our hands full. It's going to be a great challenge. I know our guys are looking forward to it.

Q. How different was this Illinois team defensively without Chester Frazier? How did you guys take advantage of that?
COACH PAINTER: We didn't talk about it. I don't know if we did anything different in terms of taking advantage of him not being out there. There's no doubt that they're a better team with him. He's their glue. I thought yesterday was a big-time game for them beating Michigan without him. Especially in the style that they beat them in the second half. They had a great second half.
And it just proved they've got some good players. But now having back-to-back games, not having that energy, not having that glue, that's difficult, because when we played the first time, Frazier guarded Hummel. He did a great job. We played the second time, Rob didn't play but Frazier guarded Moore and did a great job.
There's no doubt that Illinois is a better team with Chester Frazier and we thought he was an All-Conference guy. That's how much we value guys like him, Travis Walton, Kramer, Chester Frazier. Those guys just help you win games.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach.

End of FastScripts

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