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PURDUE UNIVERSITY BASKETBALL MEDIA CONFERENCE

November 28, 2017

Matt Painter

West Lafayette, Indiana

Louisville - 57, Purdue - 66

COACH PAINTER: When you're struggling to shoot the basketball, you've got to try to steal some points from the free-throw line, and I thought we were able to do that. I think that ends up being the difference. Our guys did a good job of defending. They did a better job of rebounding in the second half. I thought Matt Haarms really helped us from a defensive standpoint. How they bother you with their length, I thought he bothered some people. Not necessarily always getting a blocked shot, but also changing some shots and being around the ball.

But I liked our fight from our team. Our execution wasn't great at times, had some break downs, had some pick-six type of plays. But I liked our effort. I thought our guys played hard, defended and gave a good fight.

Q. When you're not shooting well from the perimeter, do you tell Carsen sometimes just put your head down and drive it?
COACH PAINTER: Well, I think anytime you play against people that have a change in defense and the way they slung the basketball, you have to be aggressive, but you have to be aggressive at the right times. I thought tonight we missed some shots and didn't finish some plays. But the to play a team like Louisville, and they only blocked our shot once, I thought that was a good sign for our team. I thought we picked the right times.

Like I said, we didn't to finish everything. But I thought Carsen made some nice plays and he had some good looks, they just didn't go down for him. But he was able to make free throws for us and also do other things to help us win.

Q. Yeah, he had a key assist there on that curl cut for them. He also, I think, grabbed the offensive rebound on that possession to keep it alive. Is he doing other things other than scoring?
COACH PAINTER: Well, he did tonight. I thought the Arizona game for him is him getting offer to a good start and playing well, and then he really did other things well during that game. For him to be able to do some other things for us tonight and not shoot well -- it's hard for him, because he's wired to score. So when he doesn't score, it affects him. I just don't think it affects him as much. But just trying to talk to him and let him know like, hey, you've got to go out there, you've got to defend and do other things and have fun with things.

Q. What when exactly did Isaac get hurt, what happened, and what is the diagnosis and prognosis?
COACH PAINTER: They just said he got hit. So like right on his elbow. Just kind of couldn't make a fist right there. So they're still in the training room dealing with some things, so I really don't know.

Q. After eight games, couple bad losses and couple of nice wins now, do you even know what you have?
COACH PAINTER: Well, I think a lot of times when you start off a season, you know what you have. You go on the road. You play in a good home game, you play some exempt tournaments. We've played some pretty quality opponents, including West Virginia in a scrimmage. I thought our loss to Tennessee, just 20 offensive rebounds, they just out-toughed us. It's just something we tried to make a commitment to that never happening again. Somebody might beat you, but don't let somebody out-tough you. I thought Tennessee played harder and played tougher than we did. In the Western Kentucky game, I thought Western Kentucky simply played better than we did.

A lot of times people have a tough time wrapping their head around that, but that's college basketball. You have to tip your hat to them. They played better than us. We didn't play as smart as we needed to, and we didn't execute as well as we should have. But we did bounce back to beat Arizona, and then we obviously beat Louisville today. So our ability to win at Marquette, counting those two wins. We've had some pretty quality wins. We'd like to be more consistent, but that's just the way it is.

We're going to play two NCAA Tournament teams this weekend to go on top of what I just talked about. So just getting prepared for the next game and getting ready. It's a long season. We wish we were in a little bit better position. But if stubbing your toe and losing those two games helps you become a better team in February and March, so be it.

Q. Coach, not your best shooting performance tonight as a team. But down the stretch, how much of a role did the experience of your players play in your success tonight?
COACH PAINTER: I think being in those possession type games, you have to value the basketball. I think throughout the course of the game we had some moments where we didn't. I thought at the end of the game we did a better job of executing. Just value the ball and getting the good shot.

Dakota Mathias made a huge play in that pull-up three. Just kind of reading that. And Carsen Evans made a really nice pass to Vince on that curl cut. We were able to make free throws to close out the game. But there is no question that we always say show your experience. Everybody talks about when you have older guys, but show your experience. Those are the type of situations where he's coming out, and I thought he did well.

Q. You played Matt and Isaac together tonight for an extended amount of time. Do you think that's something that you'll be able to do in other games, or is it just a match-up situation?
COACH PAINTER: I think you can against certain people. You know, the one time they went to it and came out there -- we didn't want to leave Nwora where he could shoot the basketball. The triple threats on Matt, and he just pulls the three. Those are the little things. Because now when they put him at the four, they put Deng Adel at the four. We don't want to give up any pick and pop type action. We might be in a tough spot in terms of them breaking us down off the dribble. But we'd rather them make that play than give them a wide open shot. It's kind of the lesser of both evils sometimes.

In the right situation, I thought this was the right situation, Spalding is so athletic and long. I thought Matt matched up with it. When we went back to it, I thought Matt was affecting the game. But I wanted Isaac in there to be able to post up and establish him himself. So there is no question that we can play both of them together. Matt makes it work. That's the one who makes it. You guys have always tried to get me to play like Haas and Hammonds together. That was not going to work. You can write your article. It's your business. But I want to keep my job.

So Matt makes it work, because Matt can get down in the stance and move his feet. Matt can pass. He can go on the perimeter and do different things. He's inside and outside both ends of the court.

Q. This kind of illustrated how important it is you have Vince on the floor. Sort of like the Marquette game where some of the fouls get them in trouble. Is there an issue brewing there?
COACH PAINTER: I think it continues to happen, you have to be able to play with your feet and stay out of foul trouble. I think Vince had a similar game like he had at Marquette, even though he played more in this game. When a guy can get you 15 and 7 in 27 minutes, you'd like for him to be on the court more. Especially to be in a rhythm and just to get, you know, get more minutes and have a better chance.

But he's a good player. You go back and watch the film, and you try to correct what happens and you kind of watch each individual play, the same type of things keep happening, and then you have that pattern of behavior and you have to get it corrected in terms of pushing on a box out or moving your feet. I think in the Marquette game, he got a lot of just kind of moving his feet and people driving into him, and a couple cheap ones. I didn't think it was that big of a deal.

But when you keep having to -- when they get two to three fouls and as a coach make that decision, we've got to do a better job of just playing with our feet.

Q. Coming out of the preseason, do you expect it to be maybe ahead of the game a little bit just based on other games and things like that, and maybe some of these early Big Ten games would be beneficial? Just how do you assess where this team is now going into the start of conference play?
COACH PAINTER: I talked a little earlier about it. I think each game is its own kind of small season. You're going to play Maryland, and Maryland's different in a lot of ways than a lot of people you play, but you have to have some similarities. I don't care what situation you're in, how many games you've won or lost. Going on the road and playing in the Big Ten is really hard. I don't care who you are, what your team is or what their team is, it's hard to get a road win.

So you don't look at things like kind of like the end all. You try to prepare your team and get them ready. The one thing you try to stop is things that's already happened.

That's why I spoke on Tennessee. They out-toughed us. You've got to be able to now make a commitment as a team and an individual, that you're not going to get out-toughed. Tonight we didn't get out-toughed. Not to say we didn't play harder. They didn't play tough themselves because they did. But we didn't get out-toughed. So I thought against Arizona they had a great front line and they're a pretty talented team and a good team. I think they'll respond from this. Had a tough tournament, but I thought that our toughness level was pretty high.

So for us, it went our way in that game. Tonight it didn't go our way, and we were able to hang in there. So I think that's a good sign. But it doesn't mean it can't rear its ugly head again. That can come back out. It's done it a couple times to us. Not just once in the summer and once right there. I just thought we had kind of a hangover from the Tennessee game going into Western Kentucky, when guys weren't totally locked in and really felt -- I told them when we played Western Kentucky, user got to treat this like we're playing Kentucky. How would you play if you had to lineup right now and play them? Because it's a college basketball game, everybody's good. You should respect everybody. And we go out and don't execute and do the things necessary to win.

So you are coaching young minds. You are coaching guys that sometimes have a tough time responding to adversity. And some guys struggle with success. That's why you're a coach and you've got to have a pulse on your own team, and you've got to be prepared and be aware of what's going on.

Q. I know this is about another program. But can only another coach truly understand and appreciate the challenge that David Padgett is having and the situation that he's in?
COACH PAINTER: I think it's a great challenge for him. Anytime you have a challenge as a coach and great players, I like those challenges. Sometimes the world flips around differently, and you get opportunities. People look at you as a coach after you've coached for a while. And I got the Southern Illinois job because Roy Williams left Kansas and went to North Carolina, and Bill Self left Illinois and went to Kansas. And Bruce Weber left Southern Illinois and went to Illinois. So I'm sitting there.

So you have a career and you start your career, that's how I started my career. What if he doesn't go to North Carolina? How does my career end up? So things happen. Then we have one season at Southern Illinois, and we have a really good year. Then you think I'm lucky to be at Southern Illinois. I'm 32 years old, then they call and ask me to be the head coach in waiting. So I mean, who even heard of that? You know what I mean? It was like it was so circumstantial and how you can handle that.

Everybody would say how can you handle it? I told him before the game, the thing that was the worst two year run in the history of Purdue basketball, my year as an assistant and my first year. It's hard. The one thing that he has is players, embrace that and enjoy that because it's fun. It's fun coaching when you've got a bunch of guys. It's no fun if you've got a bunch of guys that can't dribble around and are running into each other. It's hard.

So he's in a tough spot. But it's also, embrace it and have fun with it, win a bunch of games, because the one thing that will happen, if he can get that job, great. But if he can't, people will look at him and his maturity, and the polishing and the professionalism and his ability to coach, he's also auditioning for some place else also, and that's cool. That's great. Because you take the positive of the opportunity and do what you do. So I think he's done a good job. I think he's done a really good job.

Q. Coach, one of your players that you have is Dakota. Obviously he's gradually gotten better as a shooter over time. But he's at an absurd level this year. What's gone into taking his shooting ability to just a crazy level.
COACH PAINTER: Yeah, just a lot of hard work into his shot. He's has great mechanics, he has a nice release. He's one of the most efficient players in the country. When you talk about Purdue, sometimes people don't mention his name, and that's crazy. He's been our most efficient guy offensively. Even when he struggles shooting, he'll have five assists and one turn.

What did he have tonight? 2-1. So he had 33 assists and six turnovers coming in. He's got 35 assists and 7 turnovers on the season. 5 to 1 is pretty good. So he's shooting 50%, and even a higher percentage than that. So just a really good player. I thought he did a really good job on Deng Adel. I thought he did a good job defending him.

So he's our best perimeter defender. He's our most efficient player. We have a lot of other quality players, but he's a guy that when he comes in, he's very, very steady and knows what's going on. He's really built on it and put a lot of time into it.

Q. Was there an emphasis on the game plan tonight to bottle up Quentin Snider?
COACH PAINTER: Yes. We were not going to read into his percentages for this year. We were going to read into who he's been at Louisville for his career, and his percentages are pretty good. I told our guys, don't treat him like that. He hasn't gotten going yet, but he's going to get going. Don't let him. I talked about V.J. King and his percentages. We didn't stay with V.J. King as well as we should have. But he wasn't a guy that we honed in on. We honed in on Dell and Quentin Snider. I thought those two guys with their experiences and success they've had, we needed to really do a good job with them. And V.J. King got away from us a little bit.

Q. Coach, the chain reaction, the domino theory that you just brought up with the whole series and where you are in your career. When you look back at that, do you think that was all kind of necessary to get where you are today?
COACH PAINTER: Well, you feel fortunate. You feel lucky. There's a lot of guys out there. I was in the right place at the right time twice. Why does that happen for you? Like I didn't do anything differently than some other coach. But that's part of advancing in any profession and being in the right place at the right time. I was fortunate that I've been around some really good guys that I've worked for in Rick Samuels and Bruce Weber and Coach Keady.

But, no, just being able to kind of take in everything and learn from your mistakes, a lot of times it's really hard. Because if you learn too much from your mistakes, you're going to end up getting fired. That's just the way it is in our business. Guys get released and you get fired, and it's hard. You've got to be able to give some consistency and learn from your mistakes as much as you can and not repeat them.

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