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BIG TEN CONFERENCE MEN'S TOURNAMENT


March 9, 2012


William Buford

Thad Matta

Jared Sullinger


INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA

Ohio State テや 88
Purdue テや 71


THE MODERATOR:テつ Coach Matta will make an opening statement, then go to questions for William and Jared.テつ Coach?
COACH MATTA:テつ I thought we started the game that was the biggest thing for me is seeing how these guys started the game in a tournament format.テつ You've got really three guys on this team that have been significant players in this situation, and I thought our preparation coming in was good.テつ I thought our minds were good.
Purdue stymied us just a little bit there in the first half.テつ They got us on a ball screen.テつ Then they started banking some 3s.テつ We got some things figured out in the second half, and I thought our offense executionwise was where it needed to be.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Questions?

Q.テつ Jared, what was different about tonight?テつ You obviously were able to get more shots, more freedom down low.
JARED SULLINGER:テつ Obviously in practice, we've been working on offense execution, spacing, every little thing we always talked about in practice.テつ Coming into this tournament, I thought that was the biggest key for this basketball team.テつ And, I mean, this basketball team found me when I was open and I was blessed enough to make the shots.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Other questions, please?

Q.テつ Jared or William, I think the run was 17 to 2.テつ What changed during that time?テつ It looked like you were able to get out in transition.
THE MODERATOR:テつ William, please.
WILLIAM BUFORD:テつ I think we eventually locked down on our defense.テつ Cooled down and used the pick‑and‑roll, stopped letting them get to the basket.テつ We just played together.テつ We have five guys connected on defense.テつ And we like‑‑ when we do that, it's pretty tough to score against us, just let us get our run, let our defense lead our offense.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Other questions?

Q.テつ For both players, just what was Purdue doing that made it tough for you guys to really break away from them really?
THE MODERATOR:テつ Jared, start with you, please.
JARED SULLINGER:テつ Honestly, coming into the second half, we was talking about switching, and we kind of got messed up with it.テつ Some people were switching, some people wasn't.テつ And then finally when we broke out on that run, I thought our communication was great because everybody was talking.テつ And like Coach Matta always tells us, when we talk on the defense end, it always carries over to the offense end, and I thought that's what made us break away.
WILLIAM BUFORD:テつ Pretty much what Jared said, we start talking on defense.テつ We told ourselves that we were going to lock down and quit trading baskets and we did that and we got a lead.

Q.テつ Jared, the stat sheet says 48 to 18 in the paint.テつ Was that something that you guys targeted coming into this game that you think you could get done?
JARED SULLINGER:テつ I mean, honestly, not trying to toot my own horn, but we played through me.テつ Obviously, when we see the double, our guards understand that if they get into the open spot, they're going to have a knockdown jump shot, or if they don't double, they're going to let me go work.テつ So I thought that was the biggest key to this game.
And our guards and even Deshaun found a way to find me in the post, and also I was posting up deep, so I didn't really have to take a bounce or make a move or wait for the double team.

Q.テつ Jared, at the beginning of that run where you guys pulled away in the second half, you guys had an offensive rebound where I think you may have tipped it, Deshaun tipped it a couple times, and Deshaun got a put‑back early in that run.テつ It just seemed like na energy play where maybe it sparked you guys.テつ Can plays like that help the team get rolling?
JARED SULLINGER:テつ First off, you gotta give Deshaun all the credit.テつ I was at half court celebrating for Deshaun to get the ball and put it back in, so that was all Deshaun's energy.
But with plays like that, it fuels our fire on the defense end, and like I said earlier, the communication was great because we were switching everything and we limited a lot of people's touches.

Q.テつ Purdue ran a small offense or small lineup at you guys a lot tonight.テつ Michigan will probably do the same.テつ Was it good to see what you saw tonight and will that help tomorrow?
WILLIAM BUFORD:テつ Absolutely.テつ It's always good to see good looks, so you know‑‑ not so you know.テつ So we can ‑‑ it's good to see different looks because you never know what you're going to see in the post season.テつ So it's always good to see different things that you just adjust.テつ Our coaches did a great job adjusting, told us what to do.テつ I think it would be great for us.

Q.テつ Jared, we saw two Northland High School guys get 30 points each tonight.テつ Did you watch much of Trey's performance that first game?テつ And maybe just comment about your friend's performance and then your own performance tonight.
JARED SULLINGER:テつ Yeah, I watched Trey play, played a great game.テつ Hopefully not tomorrow, but he played a great game.
But, I mean, it's a perfect system for him and he fits perfect.テつ And for me, our guards, I was setting really good screens, and our guards understood that if I set a good screen, my man has to guard them for a half second and they just found me.
Will was doing great with that, Craft, and we also got a lot of ball movement going side to side, so it was easy for me and Deshaun to get into the paint.

Q.テつ Jared, you said a little earlier this year that the refs and the media were maybe getting to you a little bit.テつ Have you felt since that time that you've had a renewed focus or a new focus?
JARED SULLINGER:テつ Can you say that one more time?

Q.テつ Earlier this year you said that maybe you were letting the refs calls getting to you a little bit, or the media.テつ Since then, have you been more focused or what's been the difference?
JARED SULLINGER:テつ You just gotta play basketball.テつ I'm not always worried about what the refs is calling or looking for a foul or give you a hit, and you stop playing through the contact, and I just refocused on that and just played my game.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Fellas, thank you.テつ You may go back to the locker room.
Questions for Coach Matta.

Q.テつ Just in that play with Deshaun where he tapped the rebound a couple times and got a put‑back there, you guys don't get the rebound there, don't get the offensive rebound.テつ Maybe Purdue comes down I think and cut it to one possession.テつ Was that an energy moment at all?
COACH MATTA:テつ Yeah, I think it was.テつ Especially from the effort that he gave to come up with it because, like I said, I think he tipped it.テつ It was tipped about three times.テつ He went and got it with two hands, gathered himself, went up and put it back in.テつ That was the type of play in games like this, when you're going back and forth, when something can ignite you, maybe that was a play that did.

Q.テつ Thad, in the first half, as you mentioned, Purdue was getting you with the switches and getting Jackson on a bigger guy that he could go by.テつ Did you keep switching and just do it differently or how did you better cut that off in the second half?
COACH MATTA:テつ Yeah, you know, we had 10 points and '10 assists.テつ We did a great job on them.テつ What happened when we went to the switching, then they went to the hand‑offs and got us on a couple 3s there in the first half.テつ We had to communicate better in the second half.
The thing was, we wanted to make Jackson finish over length, finishing over size, and make tough 2s.テつ And that was kind of the thing.テつ Purdue, especially since they played us in Game 1, has really started shooting the 3‑point shot effectively.テつ And once we figured out that they were on fire again, I thought we did a better job locking down.
And probably most importantly was we guarded the ball better.テつ They weren't able to do get inside our defense quite as easily.

Q.テつ Thad, I'll ask you the same question I asked Jared.テつ What was different about tonight in terms of the space he was able to get around the block and the greater ease that he was able to get shots off?
COACH MATTA:テつ I don't think I can say exactly what I'd like to say, but I think that there was‑‑ like he talked about, the ball movement.テつ And Jared had a good way about him in terms of his movement.
In the first game, every time he tried to cut, there was collisions.テつ And it was good to see that we were able to move the way we wanted to move effectively.

Q.テつ Coach, they talked about communicating better on defense.テつ Is that something that you touched on at some point tonight, or did they kind of pick it up on their own?
COACH MATTA:テつ Yeah, I think if you went back to October 15th, we started talking about it.テつ When we do it, we're a better defensive team.テつ And getting guys to talk, as I always tell them, they never stop talking in a team mill or on the bus or whatever.テつ And there's times when I say, hey, look, if we could just do this on the court, I think we got a pretty good defense.
But to be effective defensively, you have got to have to great communication, and we did a better job in the second half.

Q.テつ Thad, giving some of your struggles, is there more at stake in this tournament for you than there usually is?テつ Can you gain some momentum, kind of correct some of your problems or whatever before you get into the other tournament?
COACH MATTA:テつ Well, I think the one thing that I was‑‑ and I talked about this before the game with some camera‑‑ but I was curious to see how this team performed tonight, how we started the game.テつ We knew Purdue was going to come with great energy off of a great win last night.
With that said, you're in a tournament format.テつ We're a young team.テつ I thought that the buildup coming in, not finding out until late last night who we were playing, we had a late‑night film session, guys were asking questions, guys are zoned in.テつ We did get 30 minutes this morning at 9:00 o'clock on the court, and I liked the way‑‑ so when they do it up today, I was kind of curious how would they play in a tournament environment.
So answering your question, I think we can continue to grow.テつ I think that these are the times where all the little things matter, and hopefully they're continuing to pick up on those.

Q.テつ Coach, Deshaun Thomas is a player known more for the offensive spark that he provides.テつ Can you talk a little bit about his individual defensive effort today as the primary defender on Robbie Hummel who was limited to six points?
THE MODERATOR:テつ Deshaun is really taking to the defensive end. Deshaun is a very prideful kid, and there's been a point in his career where I just call him Shaun, because I'm saying there's no D in your game.テつ I've gone back to calling him Deshaun.
But I joke with him about it because he's really done a nice job of accepting the role, learning the game, studying the game, and that's the first thing he talks about now after a game is the defense.テつ One of the biggest things when he makes a mistake defensively, he knows it, and that's important to me.

Q.テつ Thad, in the first half, at times‑‑ and I don't know if this was something they were doing, but it looked like you were back to settling for some quick jump shots from distance.テつ And I wondered if you had‑‑ did you change anything at halftime to run better to execute better on offense in the second half?テつ And one quick thing along with that, is there any reason that Shannon didn't play as much tonight as he has‑‑
COACH MATTA:テつ No.

Q.テつ ‑‑previously?
COACH MATTA:テつ I think with the‑‑ that was the answer to the second one.
The shots in the first half, we did take a couple.テつ And the problem I have with them is we weren't set to shoot them.テつ It was‑‑ our feet, we hopped into them.テつ We didn't one‑two‑step into them.テつ And we talked about that.テつ We felt like if we didn't have a good one, we wanted to execute and try to get the exact shot that we wanted.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Coach, thank you very much.
COACH MATTA:テつ Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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