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March 12, 2010

Lewis Jackson

JaJuan Johnson

E'Twaun Moore

Matt Painter


Purdue – 69
Northwestern - 61

THE MODERATOR: We'll ask Coach Painter to make an opening statement.
COACH PAINTER: I felt it was a hard fought game, and that's what you get every time when you play Northwestern. They're a tough basketball team that makes you prepare differently. And we've really struggled with them. They've beat us the last two times. That was the only team in the league we haven't beaten this year, and there's a reason why, because he does a great job. They really stretch you out, they shoot a lot of threes, they break you down, do a lot of backdoor cuts, and then they're switching man-to-man defenses tough. They're always maneuvering and adjusting to how you're playing and what you're doing, and then they go to the 1-3-1 with their length and their size.
So I thought our guys did a great job in the second half with their effort and getting on the glass, and I thought that was the difference in the game for us was our effort in the second half. Lewis started it with two offensive rebounds right away. He's really known for his offensive rebounding. (Laughter). And did a great job of really getting us going, and very important, JaJuan got one soon after that. I thought when it came down to it just getting those extra cracks at it off the glass after we struggled to rebound in the half first.

Q. You guys got off to obviously a very slow start offensively, 1-for-11, but it seemed like you both kind of just finally -- E'Twaun hit a three from the corner and got it going. Did you have to maintain your patience through that drought?
JAJUAN JOHNSON: Yeah, it happens like that sometimes if you get in the game. We did a good job of keeping our composure and just staying about the flow of things, and it started working out for us really in the second half and towards the end of the first half.
E'TWAUN MOORE: Sometimes when you start off slow like that, you kind of want to rush and hurry up and take quick shots. But we just had to be patient and just still be aggressive but not force shots and just let it come to us, and we did a good job of that. We finally found our rhythm about middle way of the first half, and took off from there.

Q. For Lewis, coach talked about the start of the second half, a couple three-point plays. Also distributing the ball to your teammates, and you had quite a few assists that second half. What was the difference from the first half to the second half?
LEWIS JACKSON: I think the first thing mainly was defense, just the coaching staff and players told me to quit worrying about it because Northwestern runs a good scheme in basketball, and I didn't play that first time because I was injured, so I was mainly concerned with what the coaches told me, to get aggressive, and then once I started driving, I got guys like JaJuan and E'Twaun better shots, and I think that really opened up our offense, and that's what I'm known to do, just getting guys better shots?

Q. You picked up two quick fouls early in the game. Talk about your mindset trying to stay aggressive, because to me even, though you came out a few times and then went back in, you seemed like you were pretty aggressive even with two fouls.
JAJUAN JOHNSON: I think it's always easier on the offensive end, staying aggressive. But on the defensive end is where kind of -- you kind of try to not get that third foul or that fourth foul, and really I just tried to move my feet, keep my hands up as much as I can just to avoid foul trouble.

Q. Lewis, in what ways do you feel like your team has progressed in terms of learning how to play without Robbie?
LEWIS JACKSON: I think guys like Keaton Grant and Chris Kramer understand we have to step up more, but we still know that we have a guy in JaJuan Johnson in the inside that can really be a big presence. A guy like E'Twuan Moore, once he gets it going, he's unstoppable. So we know once we can feed off him, and we just have to step up and make big shots, but we also know going to that glass because Rob was so big on production and rebounds that everybody has to come in, me Keaton, everybody, E'Twaun has to help with the rebounding. Once we get it, we can push it and have fun like we did on the offensive end because we have enough weapons?

Q. Can you talk about your aggressiveness? You had 16 points in the first half. You ended up with 17 free throws. Just talk about your aggression today, and did you feel good offensively?
E'TWAUN MOORE: Yeah, they did a lot of switching, so I had big men on me a lot. I just tried to drive the ball strong until someone stopped me and try to get all the way to the rim. That opened a lot of things up for us because after that they started sticking guys in, then after that started kicking it out to Keaton and Lew and other guys started getting open shots, and that definitely opened up a lot for JaJuan. We had to be patiently aggressive.

Q. On that matter of the first half, at about eight minutes to go, you guys were down eight or something like that and you got in groove there knocking down threes, and then as you commented on, just back on your aggressiveness. You kind of got in the zone there?
E'TWAUN MOORE: Yeah, coach did a good job of drawing up a few plays that was pretty good. Got a few open shots. My teammates did a good job of distributing the ball. Got a few open shots and knocked them down. Once I got the first two, I started feeling good. The rim started feeling a little bit bigger and I got into a little rhythm, and that was it.

Q. Lewis, you kind of touched on this a little bit, but those two guys had huge games offensively. You came in about seven and a half minutes left, you did a lot offensively and then Chris is the one who gets that three-point play at the end of the game that gives you guys a little bit of separation. Everybody needs to step up without Rob, and tonight really kind of was that, right?
LEWIS JACKSON: I think so, and I think that speaks on our veteran leadership, how this program has guys from Kramer that's a senior to even myself as being a sophomore. Everybody trusts each other. Our big two scorers still trust that if one of us is open, we can knock down that shot and it's no problem with whoever makes the shot and we still rely on our defensive principles to get wins.

Q. In athletics it's kind of interesting, certain players in different sports really like certain facilities or venues, beginning with your state championship game of your senior year you've had some monster games in this building. What is it about E'Twaun Moore and Conseco Fieldhouse?
E'TWAUN MOORE: I don't know. I just -- I don't know. I kind of like playing at Conseco. They have nice rims, nice backgrounds, almost like a second home for us. We always get a good fan base when we come here and just always feel good coming to play. I'm glad that it's always been treating me good. The shots have been going down, so....

Q. Can you talk about the defense, you guys' defense between the first half and the second half? They shot 47 percent in the first half, 30 percent in the second half. What was it about your defense that tightened up?
JAJUAN JOHNSON: Our guys are doing a really good job of pressuring the ball. We held them to one possession in the second half, and I think that was a big thing with rebounding. They out-rebounded us in the half first. Once we picked that up and we stepped up our defense, it was a lot more effective for us, really.

Q. Coach Painter, you got a lot of contributions tonight from some guys that haven't stepped up. I don't want to stay not stepped up, just haven't put a lot in the stats sheet lately. How do you see that as the development with everything coming along without Robbie Hummel?
COACH PAINTER: Well, I think some guys that haven't been playing or some guys that have been playing five to ten minutes a game are going to have opportunities to play more with Rob being out. We start smaller, and we try to play four guards and spread the defense. And tonight we just didn't make enough shots to make Northwestern really honor us. Each one made four threes, no one else really made a three. We need some of those skill guys to get in there and make shots to open some things up.
You know, Patrick did a good job of coming in there and contributing. Ryne Smith, like you said, got some rebounds. I thought John Hart and Kelsey Barlow did some good things for us. Those guys just need to be solid. You don't try to step in there and do things that you can't do, just be solid, play to your strengths, and like Lewis talked about, either Lewis is going to be a coach or a politician, if you didn't notice. You can play off those guys. You've got to play off E'Twaun more and JaJuan Johnson, it's no secret. And before we had one more guy there in terms of playing off of him. Now those guys have to step up and take their shots when they're open. But they also understand they have to probe the defense so Johnson and Moore still get their touches.

Q. You kind of answered this question, but you've had three games now without Robbie, several practices without Robbie. In what ways have you seen this team progress over the course of the last two weeks?
COACH PAINTER: We've actually had what I consider five games, counting the Minnesota game. We got beat by Michigan State, then we beat Indiana and Penn State, now we beat Northwestern. I think probably the biggest test for us without Rob was when he got injured in that game. We were down nine in that second half, and we were able to come back and play.
But it's a huge adjustment because we run motion, and Rob Hummel is the quintessential foreman in motion because he balances things, he can shoot the basketball, he can pass the basketball, just like in Bill's Princeton stuff, Coble is so good at that four spot and John Shurna is so good at that four spot, you take a four out of his system you don't plug somebody in with skills, same thing with us. We have to make some adjustments. We don't really plug a four in, we plug another guard in. So that adjustment is difficult. But we out-rebounded Penn State the other day, and we out rebounded Northwestern today. Those are the things we try to hang our hat on.
Our next opponent, no matter who it is, we have to out rebound them, but if we don't we have to shoot the ball better. We're not going to get out rebounded and shoot the way we did today and win basketball games. You've got to understand how you're going to win, but you've also got to understand how you're going to lose and be proactive about that as a coach and really drill that home to your players.

Q. In talking to E'Twaun talking about when he got in the groove knocking the threes down he said you drew up some plays, and this being an intense game a big smile came across your face. Comment about E'Twaun and then also Chris.
COACH PAINTER: Well, E'Twaun, he got in the groove, but he actually had some shots tonight that he could have made. He was 6-for-16. I don't think that's really a groove for him. He got to the free-throw line, which was important. But we just tried to kind of isolate him on the same side with JaJuan with their switching man to man and force them to play one of them, and he did a good job driving it. He hit some threes when we were down 11 to get us going, so that was important. He's a guy that's stepped up all year. He's been really consistent in his whole career, but he's really being consistent this year on both ends of the court. I talked about the rebounding stat from a team standpoint.
Kramer gets the most important basket and they continued to press right there when the shot clock was at -- excuse me, the game clock was at 48 seconds. We were going to have to shoot the basketball, and it was one possession. We advanced it to JaJuan and then he made a great pass to Chris, and then Chris finished it and made his free throw, which was important to put back to two possessions. That was a key play, and Chris is a guy that's very valuable to us. I thought he made a huge mistake when he had three fouls to cut that kid off, to get that fourth four. You play in a lot of college games you have to understand how to play the game once you're in foul trouble. He didn't have to do that. The foul occurred about 18 feet from the basket, and he could have still cut him off or just waited or let him go. So he's got to be smart about that because it hurts us when he's not in the game, especially defensively.
But he's a tough kid. That block he made, he's very athletic. He made a huge block against Buford at the end of the Ohio State game that saved us. He's done a lot of little things like that to help us in the past four years.

Q. Just looking ahead a little bit, I want to know your opinion on where you feel this team should be seeded in the NCAA Tournament. Do you feel you deserve a one seed?
COACH PAINTER: You know, I started, I said a one to a three no matter what happened in the Big Ten Tournament, and I'll stay with that. I don't think we're a No. 1 seed, if we don't win it. But we're somewhere in there.
I think to win it a team or two has to stub their toe probably. The last team they're probably considering -- there was a couple teams in there that are probably still on that line. We would have to be able to win it to get a one seed. If not, I would say if we don't win it we're going to be a two or a three. In my opinion that's what we deserve. That's our body of work. We've been undefeated in non-conference, won our league. Obviously we tied with Ohio State and Michigan State, were able to win this game and advance into the semis. I'm proud of our guys. They've played hard and I know they'll get into the NCAA Tournament and continue to do the same thing.

Q. You talked about Bade a little bit earlier, and he may have played his best nine minutes of the season when JaJuan was in foul trouble. How important is that for him confidence-wise as the season goes on?
COACH PAINTER: I think it's huge for him, and at times he hasn't really gotten much of an opportunity. We got to a part of the season where we really stuck with JaJuan Johnson and Rob Hummel, kind of similar to Ohio State's four guys. We kind of used more Hummel and Johnson kind of the same way, and then they played 35 to 38 minutes a night so he didn't get as much time just because those guys were so productive.
Every time he gets opportunities like this, he's done a good job for us. Tonight he made his free throws and he made that basket, and he did some good things defensively and really played well and laid wood on some of those guys inside.

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