INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Purdue head coach Matt Painter and his Boilermakers will advance to the Big Ten Tournament semifinals after defeating Penn State 69-61 on Friday night.
Read Painter's full postgame transcript, or just watch the attached video of the entire press conference.
MATT PAINTER: First of all, it was obviously a really good college basketball game. How they can do different things on their third day from a defensive standpoint, I still don't know. I just asked him and I still don't understand what he said.
But the ability to change and mix things up to try to keep us off balance was genius. I thought it was for our guys, just trying to get them to be simple and just move and pass the ball so they don't try to overdo things. Then once we started doing that, we started getting more open looks and better looks.
But they're a good team, and trying to piece things together in your first year is really hard to do, especially when everybody is new to you. You can kind of see how he strengthened our program and Penn State obviously made a great hire.
They're difficult to go against. I knew the start of the game was going to be that way just because we've had the double bye every year and it just seems the people that get a chance to play a game or two games and get into that second or third game. They seem to have an advantage to start. I thought our guys were really resilient, thought they hung in there, kept making plays, did a lot of good things.
And probably the player of the game for us was Brandon Newman. It's a great sign. It's very difficult. I told our guys in our locker room, we got one guy didn't play who in my opinion will be an all-conference player for us at some point in his career. We've got another guy that played eight, nine minutes that he's a really good player. It's just hard, I want to start him and play him all 40 minutes. That's just not the way it works. That's kind of part of making sacrifices and being on a great team.
But our guys hung in there and played hard, did a lot of little things and grinded it out. I think that was a question for this team as the season went on, is just can we grind it out, and I think they proved it on a neutral court that they can do that and not simply just outscore somebody.
Q. On Purdue's slow start...
COACH MATT PAINTER: Yeah, it's probably a combination of a lot of things. Just the fact that they've played a couple games, it seems like not always more familiar with the surroundings, more familiar playing, and they made good plays. They had to make some shots in there. We had a couple guys fly at shooters instead of just getting a regular close-out and they ended up hitting a couple threes and got going.
We had a couple good looks early, but then we turned it over early. We had 10 turnovers in the game, but we probably had four of them in that first four, five minutes, if I'm not mistaken. So I think it was just the combination of that. Like Jaden said, we just had to settle into the game, but I think it was just a combination of them playing well, already playing and us not giving ourselves a chance for some of those turnovers.
Q. On Brandon Newman...
COACH MATT PAINTER: Sure, I think he's capable, he's on our team. You get and you play, you know, 20 games in a season and then someone that's struggled in a role. I mean, he struggled in the same role last year after we took him out of the starting lineup.
So like are you better off as a team giving those minutes that he split with somebody else? If you play 8 to 10 minutes, it's really hard to be functional. I like giving them in chunks instead of playing 8 to 10 minutes and subbing in four times and playing through a tough time if I can.
It doesn't circle around him. You want that as a player, you want it to circle around you. Now, when it does circle around you, like with Zach and Trevion and Jaden, now who fits in with those guys. A lot of people that are close to those people, they will look at it just from the perspective of that person, they're not looking at it from the perspective of the team. So he just struggled in that role, but if he played more and he was more of a focal point, then he would have more success.
But Sasha Stefanovic, Jaden, Ivey, they're pretty good players. You know, Carson and Dakota in that stretch. For two years, he was a starter for us, he would finish some games for us, but he was probably the best. He could play in that role. And obviously he proved that he was a starter too and he could play 30 minutes in that role, too. It was a little bit of a combination of having a bigger guard out there, too, guarding those guys. They back you down and they get to the rim and they do stuff and I think that really helped us. Then obviously his ability -- if they were going to play the junk defense, his ability to make an open shot, too.
But he's worked really hard. He's used our guys, used our coaches, he comes in every single day, he gets extra lifts, he shoots extra and that's how you play well. When you're frustrated, I just told our guys like besides the best players on our team, I know how everybody feels. So for him to be able to come out and be productive, you've got to tip your hat to him. It was a great performance and we don't win that game without him.
Q. On Jaden Ivey...
COACH MATT PAINTER: He's so fast when he gets in some of those plays, especially kind of the one-on-two, one-on-threes. For most people you really want him to pull that out, you know, the numbers aren't there. But he can go by people to create numbers for himself.
I thought he got hit when he got that steal at the end. He got hit at the end again and he just kind of played through it. I used to always try to get Carsen Edwards to put the brakes on in those plays and he never listened to me. It was like kind of running through the third base coach sign, stop sign, so I don't even try with Jaden.
But he makes a lot of those plays right there and that was a huge play. That was a huge play in the game to be able to get it to two possessions and get that stop. But he's a talented guy. You need angles to make plays when the ball is loose in the open court and a lot of times he creates his own angles. He would be a really good free safety just because like he can track people down, he can be out of a play and get back into a play.
Q. On the Michigan State rivalry...
COACH MATT PAINTER: From our perspective, they're the ones that went to the Final Fours and we haven't, so like they're the flagship program of our conference. That's how we've always looked at it. If you want to be that team, you want to win our league, you want to advance in the NCAA Tournament, you've got to be able to compete with them and be able to beat them. And obviously this year we didn't beat them. They were one possession better than us and now we get a chance to go back and compete again with them.
But no, we've got a lot of respect for them, we've got a lot of respect for just their program. They're blue collar. There's nothing cute about it. They're going to come at you, they're going to defend, they're going to play the right way. They have depth. He always has depth and you've got to be hooked up or they'll embarrass you, so it will be a good Big Ten matchup, but we've got to play better. We played really good in spurts. We got to be more consistent. We weren't very consistent when we played them the first time and a lot of that had to do with them.
Q. On preparing for a quick turnaround...
COACH MATT PAINTER: Just move to the next game. It's great that we won. We're very fortunate to win. Penn State was great and we went through a lot. We had 23 straight days without a day off. We had the second longest stretch in our league, too. We had 16 days without a day off. We played a lot of 9:00 games this year.
We played a lot of people going to the NCAA Tournament twice. Not all of them, but I think we had to probably play the most or second most of anybody in our league, so we're prepared. But they're prepared, too. They go through a gauntlet of their own and everybody kind of has that. So that's what this league does, but you've still got to show up, you've got to show up and play. And like I said earlier, we've got to be more consistent.
Stories Related to Purdue Basketball
- PURDUE TO FACE SPARTANS IN SEMIFINALS: Purdue basketball tips off against Michigan State in the Big Ten Tournament semifinals at 3:30 p.m. ET on Saturday afternoon inside Gainbridge Fieldhouse. The Boilermakers have never defeated the Spartans in the conference tournament. CLICK HERE.
- JUST STAY READY: Brandon Newman didn't know when his time would come or when his name would be called. But when he checked into the game for Purdue on Friday night against Penn State in the Big Ten Tournament, he didn't let the opportunity go to waste, scoring 12 points in a 69-61 win. CLICK HERE
- NEWMAN FUELS PURDUE VICTORY OVER PENN STATE: Purdue was the only top seed to avoid an upset in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament on Friday, beating Penn State 69-61 to advance to a revenge match with Michigan State in the semifinals. They got a huge boost from Brandon Newman, who scored 12 points. CLICK HERE
- PHOTO GALLERY: Purdue defeats Penn State 69-61 in the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals on Friday, and there are 30 pictures to show for it. Take a peek inside Gainbridge Fieldhouse at the close-up action. CLICK HERE