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March 9, 2012

D.J. Byrd

Lewis Jackson

Matt Painter


Ohio State – 88
Purdue – 71

THE MODERATOR:  Ask Coach Painter to make an opening statement, then go to questions for D.J. and Lewis.  Coach?
COACH PAINTER:  I thought our guys gave a good fight today.  I thought we were in a position to have come down the stretch to win the game.  Obviously they go on like a 17‑2 run or something of that nature.  We were poor in transition.  We didn't get some shots to fall, and we obviously couldn't keep them off the glass and keep the ball from going inside.  And that combination just kind of sealed the deal for Ohio State.
But I thought our guys did a good job putting themselves in that position at that point.  We just had to play better in that stretch.  But you have to give a lot of credit to Ohio State.  I thought Sullinger and Thomas were very good tonight.
And you look at the stat sheet, and they have seven offensive rebounds, and you would think they had 17 offensive rebounds, but every one they got, they made us pay either by us fouling or scoring the basketball.  But hats off to them, and I thought they were better than us and they did a good job of finishing the game.
THE MODERATOR:  Questions for D.J. and Lewis.

Q.  Lew, it seemed like there were a lot of junctures in the game, you got it down to three, got it down to four, and just kind of a matter of not being able to get stops, right?
LEWIS JACKSON:  Definitely.  I think what Coach is talking about with the offensive rebound with Sullinger and Deshaun Thomas, you'd think they had more than that.  And when we got it down in that stretch, we did get a couple defensive stops in there, but we missed a couple rebound opportunities, and they capitalized.  And Buford got a couple leak‑outs and a couple and‑ones that kinda pushed the game.
But we did a good job.  We just gotta do a better job rebounding as a team collectively, and the whole game could be a different scenario.

Q.  Lew, what opened for you in the first half in terms of getting to the basket, and then what did Ohio State do in the second half to kind of close that down?
LEWIS JACKSON:  I think my first jump‑shot, honestly, kind of just made 'em say, you know, we don't want 'em to just get jump shots and they was switching Jared Sullinger on me.  I just had a good chance of attacking the basket, and just more so in the second half.  They just kind of stayed back and made me contest it.
And Jared Sullinger, you have to give him credit.  He played straight up.  Got a couple blocks in, and the ball just didn't go my way, but you have to take your hat off to him for playing solid defense.

Q.  D.J., what did you think of the way Lewis played tonight?
D.J. BYRD:  Oh, obviously, as you can tell, he was really looking for his teammates.  I know when I was coming off a couple down screens and he was driving, trying to give me shots as well as Ron and Rob, and one turnover, that's a pretty good ratio right there.  So he's done a great job all year distributing the ball, especially today, and I think that will be beneficial for us in the NCAA Tournament.
THE MODERATOR:  Other questions?

Q.  Lew, just you can obviously talk about the NCAA Tournament now.  Where do you think you guys fit in?
LEWIS JACKSON:  I don't know.  Kind of been a funny year.  Talking to all the guys, we always kind of been like think the lowest I've been since I've been here is fifth seed.  You kind of just always hear it about on ESPN, but this year I haven't really paid attention.  And this team, all we went through, we were just trying to make sure we got in position.  And I'll probably look tomorrow, trying to start figure things out.
But honestly, once you get in, that's all that matters.  So this team just has to be ready to play wherever they send us and just know that we can do something special.

Q.  D.J., Ohio State isn't really a very good match‑up for you guys in terms of their size.  What can you take from this game to build for the NCAA Tournament and then learn from it?
D.J. BYRD:  Well, it's a little different because NCAA Tournament, we'll probably be playing a team that we're not used to playing against.  Ohio State, we know their personnel and they know ours.
But this game, obviously one of the big things is rebounding, especially when we go to a smaller lineup.  It's important to box out every time and try to get those 50/50 balls.  So I think those are big things going into the tournament that we need to do.
THE MODERATOR:  One more for either D.J. or Lew?  Okay, thanks, fellas.  You may go back to the locker room.      
Questions for Coach Painter?

Q.  Matt, from the looks of the box score, they held down Robbie pretty well.  What did they do in particular?
COACH PAINTER:  Well, I think they go a good job of switching our ball screen even though I think we got some pretty good action off our ball screen stuff.  Even in the second half, I just thought we had some looks that didn't go down.
I think Rob just kind of falls into that.  He had some looks.  We'd like to get him some stuff more in the mid‑post, get him some stuff driving to the basket.
But you have to give them credit.  They did a good job defensively not on just Rob but really on everybody else.  And we needed to get to the basket more, needed to get to the free throw line more.
But I didn't think they did anything different on him than they had before.  They played him the same way.  He had some shots not go down.  I'd like to get him a couple more shots.
But it's one of those games that it's kind of free flowing for us.  We're kind of playing the mismatches.  They're putting their center on our two or three and then we're trying to kind of counter them.  I'm just kind of waiting to see who he's going to guard at times to see what we're going to run.
So we're just trying to play off that mismatch more than anything.  I know it's not your question.  But we can't give up 88 points and expect to win.

Q.  Matt, staying with Rob, how is his knee tonight?
COACH PAINTER:  I thought it was okay.  I thought it was fine.

Q.  Did he have some swelling issues or anything like that prior to this game?
COACH PAINTER:  Not to my knowledge.  I thought he was all right.  I went out there to watch him in warmups.  He was just going back‑to‑back days and I thought he looked good.

Q.  Coach, obviously offensively you were better with the smaller lineup, but how did you‑‑ what were you trying to do defensively to counter their size when you had that lineup on the floor?
COACH PAINTER:  A couple times we didn't‑‑ we were supposed quick double and our guy just didn't get there.  But we were getting buried so deep that sometimes he would even go over the double and just score the basketball.
So we were allowing it just too easy to enter the post, and we were supposed to be there on the double, and if he was off and then dribbling it, we were supposed to come with it.
But give him credit.  He's a good player.  A lot of times defensively what we do, we get pretty set in what we do.  We just struggle when we go against pros.

Q.  Coach, what did you say in the technical?  And did you ever think you were going to get a defensive stop on a fast break so long after your playing career was over?
COACH PAINTER:  I didn't hear understand the second part.

Q.  Did you ever think you were going to a defensive stop on a fast break so late after your playing career?
COACH PAINTER:  One of their bigs was just grabbing our players out in the open on a ball screen defense, and I just pointed it out while he had two hands around him to.  One of their bigs just had his hands around him, so I pointed it out to him and said he's got both his hands around him, and he stares right at it and ignores it.  So I can't repeat what I said to him.
THE MODERATOR:  Any other questions?

Q.  Coach, I know you've had a relationship with Bruce Weber.  Can you just talk about coaching with him and your thoughts on him not being in the league?
COACH PAINTER:  It's obviously very hard for me.  He's a great coach and he's a better person.  I think it's Illinois's loss, to be honest with you.
But the good ones, you know, he's going to bounce back and he's going to get a good opportunity.  There's no doubt about that.  But it's hard because if it wasn't for him and if it wasn't for Coach Keady, I wouldn't be here.  And I've learned a lot of basketball and I've learned a lot about life and how to treat people from Coach Weber.  You're not going to find a better guy.

Q.  Matt, I think I asked the players earlier.  Seemed like every time you had it within three or four they were able to go inside and were able to get points out of it.  Just like you said, you struggle when you go against the pros.
COACH PAINTER:  Yeah.  It's smart.  We've had some good interior guys in Landry and Jejuan Johnson.  When things get sticky, you've got to get it to your horse, and Jared Sullinger is a horse, man.  He's a great player, and we had to do a better job of keeping it out of the post and not in his hands.
But that's easier said than done.  We played a smaller lineup at times to try to flip it on them and be able to score more points on the other end.  We weren't able to do that.  But when we had size in there, he still had a lot of success.  But just impressed with him.  He's a good person.  Sullinger's a very good player, and he's going to have nights like that with his skill and his size.
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you, Coach.
COACH PAINTER:  All right.  Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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