Matt Painter on the Rematch Against Ohio State: “We’re a lot better team than we were a couple of weeks ago.”February 18, 2011 – 10:10 am by Chris Fedor
Before this season even started for Purdue they got devastating news that Robbie Hummel would once again be forced to miss an extended period of time due to injury. After injuring his tearing his ACL late last season, Hummel re-tore his ACL before a game was even played for the Boilermakers this year. However, in true Purdue basketball fashion, the Boilers fought through the adversity and with just a few games left in the regular season, they are one of the top teams in the Big Ten once again.
This week has already been a good one for Purdue. On Wednesday night the Boilermakers knocked off Wisconsin and they will have a chance to put a bow on their week with a win over Ohio State this weekend. The last time Purdue and Ohio State got together, the Buckeyes made Purdue look like an also-ran in the Big Ten with a 23 point drubbing. You can believe that the squad from West Lafayette will have revenge on their mind on their own home court against the Buckeyes on Sunday.
Matt Painter joined 1070 the Fan in Indianapolis with JMV to talk about the win on Wednesday over Wisconsin, what happened in the first meeting against Ohio State, the play of JaJuan Johnson so far this year, and what problems Ohio State creates for his team.
On the defense they played against Wisconsin:
“I thought we did a good job of staying into Jordan Taylor and not letting him get his head up. He’s an explosive scorer and he’s a guy that can carry his team as you saw in his performance against Ohio State. He just flat got into a groove and makes tough shots. I think that’s something as a coach that bothers you because most of the time when you make a guy shoot over you or you make guys shoot contested shots, the percentages say the guy is going to miss them and the guys that don’t miss them are very few and far between and he’s one of them, but we didn’t let him get his head up. He had three or four of his field goals late in the game and that was key. Jon Leuer has done a great job against us. He’s had 23 and 24 in the two games we’ve played and that’s a tough matchup for us. We play a little undersized. At times we will play some bigger guys but we wanted to stay with a certain offensive lineup which was effective against them, but he kinda exploited us a little bit. Not kind of exploited us, he did. He’s a great player. He’s six foot ten, he’s skilled, he’s athletic, he has an in between to his game, at times can shoot threes, and drive you so he puts you in a bind no matter who we put on him. For the most part I thought our guys did a pretty good, we had a couple times in the game where we really could’ve pushed the game out a couple of times in the first half and we weren’t able to do that, but they’re a good team. They’re one of the top ten teams in the country for a reason.”
What happened in the first meeting against Ohio State:
“I just didn’t think we did a very good job of competing against Ohio State. It was probably the one game this year where we flat got it stuck to us. I said at the time they stole our spirit. I think a lot of times you get interviewed as a coach after the game and you’re talking through a lot of emotion, but after you watch it on tape it’s exactly what they did. We have to go out and play harder. I think you can get into some strategy with how you play a team especially with a great team like Ohio State, but you first have to compete and play at a high level. That’s what we’re going to strive to do, is just to play better, defend better, and do a better job in transition, but if they’re just going to whip us off the dribble all night it’s going to be a long night again. Anytime our guys have gotten challenged this year they have done a good job of responding. Hopefully we can bounce back from that and I think we’re a lot better team than we were a couple of weeks ago.”
On JaJuan Johnson
“He’s been really consistent. He had 20 and 10 last game and it was probably an average game. For him he’s really raised his own bar and is a guy who on a nightly basis is going to give you those kinds of numbers. He’s averaging 20 and 8 for the season so he’s been great for us. He scores the ball in a variety of ways. He plays in the low post, he’s got a good mid-range game, he can face up and shoot it and drive it, he’ll play out of the pick and roll, he’ll get some offensive rebounds, and he’ll get out in transition. He gets his points from a variety of areas on the court and he’s a tough matchup. He’s got a great attitude, he’s a very coachable kid, and he just keeps getting better every single game.”
His thoughts on the matchup against Ohio State this weekend:
“There’s some very good matchups. Obviously Jared Sullinger is a good player, William Buford is a big guard that gives you a lot of problems, the freshman (Aaron) Craft is a guy that can break you down off the dribble, (Jon) Diebler is one of the best shooters ever in the Big Ten and it looks like he’s going to break the Big Ten record for the most threes, David Lighty is the most successful player in the history of Ohio State. He has the most wins, which just happened for Jajuan and E’Twaun this past game. They have the most wins now in Purdue history. You keep going. They have a bench with DeShaun Thomas and Craft and even though it’s not a deep bench, both of those guys are really like starters. Obviously (Dallas) Lauderdale is a great shot blocker and he’s a guy that has had some success against us in the past.”