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March 15, 2009

Jon Diebler

Thad Matta

Evan Turner


Purdue – 65
Ohio State - 61

THE MODERATOR: Go ahead, Coach.
COACH MATTA: Well, it was a hard-fought basketball game. I think Purdue made some huge plays down the stretch and took the lead on us. I thought our guys, I told them afterwards, proud of our effort here in the three days. You know, it was one of those things where we -- I thought that we had our chances. We didn't finish. We didn't rebound the ball. The rebounding was something that really got us.
We hold them 34 percent, 28 percent in the first half. I thought our defense was pretty effective. But they had some guys step up and Moore really got going there in the second half and got inside us and forced rotations and we just weren't able to recover from them.
But like I told our guys, this was a great experience for a young basketball team. Proud of what they've done. We have to get ourselves picked up and get ready to go next weekend.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach. Questions for Jon or Evan.

Q. Evan, can you talk about how different Purdue is when they have a healthy Robbie Hummel versus when he's either not playing or not 100 percent for them?
EVAN TURNER: I can't really judge that. I mean, I just think they're a good team in general. And I think that they're such an even-keeled team they know how to play together. And they all just do their part.
So I can't -- I mean, he helped out a lot. And I think it's a good leadership for them on the floor, and it probably gives them more confidence or whatnot. But they're a good team all around.

Q. Jon or Evan, in the second half, it looked that -- especially in that segment of time when Purdue took the lead, it just looked like they raised the level of play to a level that you guys weren't immediately comfortable with, and that was enough to get behind and not recover from it. How did that -- number one, was that accurate? And, number two, how do you describe the level of play during that time when you guys lost the lead?
JON DIEBLER: I just don't think we played with enough intensity on defense. Again, they made some big shots in the corner, especially E'Twaun Moore. He had some big 3s.
And like Coach said, the rebounding got us. We didn't come out with the intensity we needed to, which we did in the last two games coming into this game, I thought coming into the second half we did. But this game, it just wasn't there coming out of the gate, and they took advantage of that.

Q. Evan or Jon, can you talk about maybe the growth of this team from -- where it was before the tournament to where you think you are now?
EVAN TURNER: I think we accomplished a lot. I think we get better and better every single day, and just to make it to the final day that's -- is battle. It's just an amazing accomplishment. We're not done, there's a lot more ahead of us.
And we did a lot of things and a lot of players stepped up, and just thinking about losing David Lighty and how much our freshmen progressed and our sophomores and people who haven't played since they've been here have just progressed. It's real good. I think there's more to come.

Q. Kind of along those lines, with the way you guys played, for either of you guys, over the last couple days, confidence-wise for this team, knowing there's something ahead, we don't know what yet, next weekend, do you feel you've progressed a lot in that area over the last couple of days?
JON DIEBLER: We feel confident going into next week because I don't think many people gave us a chance to get into the championship game coming into this tournament. We had confidence that we could do it, but this game Purdue played great. We didn't get the job done. But, again, we're still very confident in our ability to get the job done in the tournament.

Q. Evan, during that time you guys were making the comeback, when Dallas missed those two free throws and then he got an extra one because of the lane violation, you went up after the second miss and said something to him, kind of had your fist pumping a little bit. Tell me a little bit about maybe the conversations you guys were having to kind of will that comeback that finally fell short?
EVAN TURNER: I was giving -- I know Dallas is -- he's capable of making free throws. I see him shoot free throws. Every time I remind him you shoot these every day, it's no big deal, make them and let's get a stop.

Q. Jon, you mentioned Moore getting hotter in the second half. What did you notice about him and how was he getting those shots from your perspective?
JON DIEBLER: He was finding the open area, and I don't think we communicated well on defense, and especially from the top, from the perimeter I don't think we had enough ball pressure in there, just kind of moving the ball quickly along the perimeter.
He's a great player. He got hot, was knocking down shots, and I just don't think we had enough awareness where he was at. And, again, I think it starts at the perimeter and we have to communicate better on defense.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you. Questions for Coach.

Q. Thad, you're up 38-37. And I looked at the monitor, and they were 12-of-42 at that time. I guess my question for you is, with you doing such a good job defensively, would you hope at that stage to have a bigger margin than one point with Purdue shooting 12-of-42?
COACH MATTA: Yes, but they're a heck of a defensive team, too. I think that's kind of what they hang their hat on. And I thought they were defending us very well, as well. It was a defensive battle there for a stretch.
They're a team that got hot there.

Q. Thad, it looked like a couple times when B.J. came out of the game you were talking to him about specific things, whatever. Looked from B.J.'s body language that he was a little frustrated about things. Do you think he got frustrated at all today or did that affect him?
COACH MATTA: I think he wasn't flowing out there the way he needed to be, and we picked up on what they were doing there, and we were showing him in time-outs you have to be here and here and he was slow to react.
I don't know, this wasn't quite Mackey Arena, but it was pretty doggone close. And we needed him to be a little bit more active and come up with a couple of rebounds where Johnson slid off him and got around him and got the ball back.

Q. Thad, the same question I asked the players, where do you think you are now compared to where you were coming into this tournament? Do you think you made strides here?
COACH MATTA: Yeah, I do. I think that this team has gotten a lot better in three days. And you look and you beat a very good Wisconsin team. You knock off the No. 6 team in the country.
You know, you're there against Purdue, which I think is a terrific basketball team. And I saw us making some plays. Maybe the fatigue, you think about for a few of these guys, at one point Buford was sitting in timeout we had to take him out. He was dizzy. He was spinning around. And those guys haven't gone through this at the level.
And so to see the progress we've made, to see the fight, that you go back to three weeks ago we're playing in West Lafayette and they put a run on us and we kind of -- we couldn't answer it.
And, you know, to get back in it, we had a couple of attempts to keep chipping away, cut it to 1, and it just didn't happen for us.

Q. You guys had a fantastic tournament, there's no question about it. Are you concerned at this point? What's a big concern? The big men are having huge troubles finishing off. There's no question about it. If that element was different, is there a lot of other things that you're really worried about, or is that a major one?
COACH MATTA: Number one thing I'm worried about right now is our guys start finals tomorrow morning. But I think that -- and we talked about it last night with our team, with the post -- and in yesterday's game against Michigan State I felt like we got great play from all the positions all the way across the board. And I think for Dallas and B.J., Dallas probably put together his best three consecutive games maybe since early in the season. That excites me.
I worry a little bit about B.J., long season, trying to get him -- we need him back jump-started, because when our post play is what it's supposed to be, I think that makes us that much of a better basketball team.
So I think that's one of the things that I've got a concern of, just can those guys get back to doing their job. And I think they can. I really do.

Q. Jon talked about the lack of intensity coming out for the second half on defense. I wondered, you haven't used any excuse of the short rotation and guys playing a lot of minutes all year. I wondered if, number one, if that finally might have caught up with you, three games in three days, and, number two, were the shots that Moore made today maybe shots that Michigan State and Wisconsin had but they just didn't make?
COACH MATTA: I was a little bit concerned. We weren't as shorthanded as we were three years ago or four years ago in this thing when Matt had his appendectomy, we were down to six guys. We were trying to get guys a break here and there when we could.
It's one of those things, quite honestly, where we're talking about it and I'm like, hey -- to the coaches, hey, this is the championship; we'll rest afterwards.
So I think that is something maybe we could have rested them, just looking at Purdue's minutes and our minutes, a little bit of difference. And they had two easier games coming in than we did.
The second part of the question?

Q. Moore's 3s?
COACH MATTA: Yeah, Moore's 3s, honestly they did a good job of spacing us. We didn't cover out when we were supposed to. I can visualize three of them right now where everybody saw it from the bench saying go, go, go, go, and we just didn't move. And I think that's more what Jon was alluding to with the intensity of seeing one pass ahead.

Q. It seems like Big Ten people are constantly defending the conference. And I wonder if you think this game says anything about the conference, maybe this particular game, and what it might reflect about what the conference is about and that sort of thing?
COACH MATTA: It's funny you say that, because I do get a little bit tired of having to defend the No. 2 ranked conference in the country. I think that there's -- I mean, this to me was a big-time, high-level, high-caliber, talent was high on the court. I think you look and you look at the youth of this league and say to yourself, you know, it's just going to keep getting better.
And I think the one thing -- and I told somebody this the other day about this league, why I'm so proud of our guys, we played in this championship now three out of four years and we've done it with completely different basketball teams. And I think you look, and if you truly studied it, one of the biggest things that's probably been a little bit different in our league, and ironically it's our school, is guys have left early.
You can go down to Chapel Hill in the ACC and guys, Hanbrough stuck around for four years and those guys have been in there. And for whatever reason it hasn't worked for us. But you think about, and not that I ever have, who we could have been starting today and still wanted to start a senior on the court, and four of them have started in the NBA.
And so I think that's where you have to defend a lot of the talent. But I think from coaching to environments, to just across the board, this is a great league. It really is. I don't know if I answered your question there.

Q. Jon started the ball game out knocking down a 3 for your first score, then a couple 3s right before half, then started the second half with one but then didn't get another bucket until at the buzzer. Your thoughts on the sophomore and, boy, how Purdue took him out of the ball game after he hit his first 3 there in the second half?
COACH MATTA: I tell you what, I'm so excited about the way Jon Diebler has played for us this year. And I think that Purdue obviously was really keying on him throughout the course. I mean, Hummel was guarding him there early, and his size -- Robbie plays extremely hard.
We were trying to shake him loose, as much as we could. But they did a nice job. And kind of goes back to the gentleman's question there of the post play. You know, you gotta have one and the other going at the same time. And Jon made a couple of nice passes off there. And what it does, it kind of softens the blow for him when he's able to do that and we're able to finish.

Q. Follow up on the previous question, 10 minutes from now, how many Big Ten teams would you expect would be in the tournament?
COACH MATTA: I'd love to see eight. I really would. I don't know if that is going to happen. I haven't followed it as closely as maybe I should have. I was more worried about us all the way through.
But with the top four or five, Wisconsin in there and then Michigan and Minnesota and Penn State, you'd love to see that shape up for us. And I don't know what the feasibility is of that, how that works.
But I know this, going through this league, we played eight NCAA Tournament teams throughout the course of this season.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach.

End of FastScripts

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