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March 13, 2010

William Buford

Thad Matta

Evan Turner


Ohio State – 88
Illinois - 81

THE MODERATOR: We'll ask Coach Matta to make an opening statement.
COACH MATTA: Well, obviously what a tremendous college basketball game, and just the turn of the events throughout the course of the -- I mean, the changes of momentum. I think we went on like a 20-0 run at one point. It was just, there were guys out there making great plays. I'll be honest with you, there were so many I couldn't recall right now. Proud of the guys. I thought they showed great toughness down the stretch to win the basketball game.
You can ask these guys.

Q. Evan, how surprised were you that the Illini did not attack you when you were on defense when you had four fouls as much as they could have?
EVAN TURNER: I don't know. I was just playing defense. Coach Matta just told me to be smart. I knew once the game got close, they were going to get tightened up. They weren't trying to attack, they were just trying to find us and lay off. We weren't laying off.

Q. Evan, what did you say to your teammates in the huddle after you fouled out?
EVAN TURNER: I just told them keep the game going. Definitely just finish off strong. We're up by four, we're a better team, and just do what we've got to do.

Q. Evan, what did you say to Demetri after the game?
EVAN TURNER: Way to play tough, and that was it.

Q. William or Evan or both, for I think about 30 minutes it seemed like you guys couldn't get a shot to fall. I think you were down 50-39. Just talk about what Illinois did on defense to keep you out of good scoring opportunities, and what do you think changed the game other than of course your shots falling?
WILLIAM BUFORD: You know, we had good looks, I just think we weren't knocking down the shots. We just had to play hard on defense. We couldn't let that affect us at the other end of the court.
EVAN TURNER: Also, the balls just kept going in and out, in and out. We knew they were going to fall eventually and we were going to get on a run because we hadn't been on a run the whole game. We were just trying to persevere. We've been through tougher times than this, and we knew we were going to come back and win.

Q. This could be for both of you, but 50 minutes for William. Evan, you played every minute until you fouled out. Are you worried about tired legs in this tournament?
WILLIAM BUFORD: No, not at all. You know, I was a little tired and fatigued at the end, but tomorrow is a new day. I'll just give my body some nice rest tonight and that'll be it, come in tomorrow and play hard.
EVAN TURNER: Not at all. We were in it to win it. We could have gone for 80 minutes we were in it to win a game, however long it took, and it's another game tomorrow.

Q. Evan, what happened with D.J. Richardson at the end of the first half?
EVAN TURNER: No, they were just running their mouths too much, and that was it. They were just running their mouths too much. They were hitting shots and front runners, and they were running them off entirely too much. That's all I'm saying.

Q. Evan, you put the press on I think when you guys were down by 11. From your vantage point at the top of the press, how do you think that changed the way the game was being played from Illinois' standpoint?
EVAN TURNER: I think once again, they felt the comeback. We had momentum switch a little bit, and we definitely smelled blood, and they stopped attacking after a while, just kept attacking, kept coming.

Q. You guys had the buzzer-beater yesterday, double-overtime game today. Does it finally feel like March?
WILLIAM BUFORD: I really -- ask him.
EVAN TURNER: Yeah, I mean, it is March, definitely every game seems to come down to a closer game, closer moments. You've got to do what you've got to do.

Q. Evan, I don't know if you've ever been asked this question, but have you heard of the term headless?

Q. That's what you are, just want to let you know that. You started second half. At what point do you decide to put the pedal down because you're not a selfish player.
EVAN TURNER: You know, definitely something just clicked, knowing that I have to make a play. I might have to keep the ball a little bit more once the game starts winding down and starts getting close.
Coach Matta and I always talk about getting my team the shots and finding myself open a little bit more, staying in the shots and sometimes you just have to will your way, you just have to make things happen. And that's pretty much it.

Q. Evan, you mentioned they were kind of running their mouths a little bit. Did that get you going at all?
EVAN TURNER: It definitely got me going. Usually I don't really -- I show emotion but I don't really get too much into it like that. For them to start running their mouths, they really, really annoyed me. I knew we were a tougher team and everything we've been through. I started thinking about the sand pits, all the injuries, we always battled back through that. I knew what type of team we had. I knew what we had was way tougher than what they had, and definitely I wasn't trying to lose.
THE MODERATOR: We'll take questions for Coach Matta.

Q. Talk to me a little bit about this kid Diebler. He seems to be a forgotten guy, and it literally seems with all the stars that you have there's this guy hanging out, good players in the background, and you've got this kid hanging out that just can get on a hot streak like nobody's business and really hurt a team?
COACH MATTA: I was saying shh because I don't want anybody to know about Diebler. No, I've said this -- I think Jon Diebler is a tremendous basketball player, and a lot of times throughout his career, like you said, he's gone very unnoticed. I like that from the standpoint of he's, number one, one of the greatest kids I've ever coached, number two, one of the hardest workers I've ever coached. All he wants to do is win. I go back to his freshman year when he shot 29 percent from three, and people were -- every time he'd shoot, if he missed everybody went crazy, and we just kept his mind right. I'd see him make them in practice, and to his credit he's just worked so hard. But he doesn't care, he just wants to win. I love that about him.

Q. What did you see out of Kyle Madsen when you put him in today? Seemed like he was really getting in the paint, roughing it up.
COACH MATTA: Yeah, Kyle was tremendous today, and for him, being the fifth year senior, I don't know what his line was, but seven rebounds, four points, it just -- I think the biggest thing he did was defensively he knew what the what was going on. Dallas was struggling with the pick and pops, and Kyle picked up on it. We were even able to switch some at the end and Kyle did just a tremendous job. Proud of the way he played today.

Q. I'll ask the same question I asked Evan. How surprised were you that the Illini did not attack Evan as much as they could have when he had four fouls?
COACH MATTA: Well, I think we were aware of what they were going to try to do, and if you notice, he wasn't guarding the same guy every time down the floor, so we kept moving him from position to position to position. You know, we were well aware they were going to try to do that, and the one time I looked up and Mike Davis had him in the post, I'm like, that wasn't supposed to happen that way. So to Evan's credit, he avoided the foul.
But we were watching for it to make sure -- we kept him off Demetri as much as we could. But out of the press, sometimes we scrambled back into it.

Q. Just to kind of follow up on what he said, during that one time-out when you put Kyle in, Dallas was struggling a little bit, you were a little intense at that point, and that kind of, as you said, set the tempo a little bit. Just kind of follow up a little bit on that. And have you ever been involved in a game in which you scored 20 straight points and still almost lost the game?
COACH MATTA: Well, the time-out, I just didn't think that we were as dialed in, and I thought the first half and I thought part of the second half, we were five guys playing basketball as five guys; we weren't five guys playing together, especially on the defensive end of the floor. And the time-out was basically to pinpoint -- we needed to come together defensively and get the stops.
As Evan said or Will said, we had great shots I thought. Those things were going in and out, and I thought it was poetic justice when Will in transition flipped the one up and it rolled around and went in. I thought we deserved that one. I think from the standpoint of getting our guys to understand -- I was telling them during the timeouts, Illinois wants to win the game, and we can -- I told them at halftime, if you would have told me you were going to play like this, I wouldn't have even come today. I thought they showed great heart and great toughness to do it, and this puts us I think four out of the last five years we've made it to the championship game of this tournament.
I didn't answer the second part of your question because I forgot it, so I was trying to cover a plethora of things. Maybe you got something out of it.

Q. I asked Matt Painter yesterday about his team and NCAA seeding in the tournament. I'm just curious, from your perspective does seeding really matter to you in terms of the No. 1 or No. 2, and do you think your team deserves a No. 1 seed?
COACH MATTA: Well, it's hard for me to say, but seeding is very important to me. I think that seeding in the NCAA Tournament and just knowing what the committee does and how they peel apart a team and break them down, they're so diligent in everything that they do to select the teams, if you will. So seeding is very, very important to me.
I think that in regards to a 1 seed, I'd love to have it. In the six years we've been a 1, (or) we've been a 2. There is a difference. I don't know, deserving? We're kind of on a roll right now. If Evan Turner doesn't go down as the best player in college basketball, I'd like to see what would happen in those six games that we played. But injuries happen, so you know, it's kind of out of my jurisdiction to pick. But I'll take what they give us; I always do.

Q. How much are you aware of the trash talk going on? And you know Evan pretty well, did you know he was annoyed?
COACH MATTA: You know, I didn't see -- you hear, you see. There were a couple times things were said to the bench, and I'm sure our guys said something. But that was a high level basketball game out there, and I hope you guys don't take this and make more out of it, that Evan said they were talking -- there's talk going on all the time.
I will say this: I thought the officials did a tremendous job of controlling it from that standpoint. Those guys did a great job talking to the guys and getting it stopped.
THE MODERATOR: Coach, thank you.

End of FastScripts

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