While snow started to fall outside, Nebraska did its best inside Pinnacle Bank Arena to stay competitive with No. 15 Purdue. The Huskers made it a 40-minute fight, but ultimately fell 75-72 to the Boilermakers.
After, head coach Tim Miles, along with Glynn Watson Jr., met with the media to talk about the loss. Purdue coach Matt Painter also addressed the media.
The following is the full transcript from the question-and-answer session.
Head coach Tim Miles
On what he takes from the last two games:
“I don’t take much from the Penn State game. It was extremely disappointing, right? Tonight is disappointing in its own way, but obviously I’m proud of our guys. I thought they were just a couple plays away from winning. I think that things you look at, like Purdue really [made] a couple hustle plays at the end of the clock out of Grady [Eifert]. He gets the cut [on the inbounds play with one second on the shot clock]. We’re zoned up to try and take away the lob or cut, and he ends up scoring. Then he catches the air ball and puts it in. Those are two big plays. Their sprint-and-slip thing, they got us at the end of the first half. Those are, what, seven points, if I do the math. We miss a couple bunnies inside that are point blank. It just doesn’t take much. Your margin of error is not great.”
On the disappointment from key plays:
“I threw my water bottle. You know, I look at it overall and I’m like, ‘Okay, did we follow the game plan?’ Yes, I thought we did. We did a good job harassing their perimeter guys. We did a very good job on Carsen Edwards. His efficiency was not great. You know that when you’ve committed two to the ball on all those DHOs that you might be weak rebounding. We knew we were going to play [Matt] Haarms and [Trevion] Williams straight up in the post, but two at a time. So you put yourself in a position, and it comes down to a couple extra effort plays or whatever it might be, and that’s why Purdue is Purdue. Matt Painter is one of the best coaches in the country, there’s no doubt about it, but I thought our kids really did a great job.”
On how close the team is to overcoming the costly errors:
“First of all, I think you just credit Purdue and Grady Eifert. Those are very good plays. Credit the victor, right? Second of all, I don’t think we made a mistake. I don’t think we’re out anything. It was a scramble situation defensively. Sometimes the game breaks you. The locker room… well you could see how Glynn [Watson Jr.] was. They’re a disappointed bunch of guys.”
Senior Guard Glynn Watson Jr.
On his hot start today:
“Just playing hard, just playing within the offense.”
On defending Carsen Edwards and holding him to 3-of-16 shooting:
“I’m just going to step up to the challenge no matter what. Try to bring it on defense, just trying to play with energy and confidence on defense.”
On if he felt they played a full 40 minutes:
“I’d say 35. We had a couple breakdowns at the end that cost us rebounds and stuff like that. I thought we played hard the whole game.”
On if he felt the team was in sync:
“I think we were on the same page. We’ve just got to communicate more on the floor and execute.”
Purdue coach Matt Painter
On Purdue’s offensive rebounding:
“Our effort was really good. I thought when our shots went up, our guys were very active on the glass, keeping balls alive, getting some kick-out threes, getting some put backs. Grady [Eifert] has been huge for us all year with his effort with kind of those 50/50 plays. It’s something that when we were struggling to score right there at the end a little bit. Him getting those put backs made the difference.”
On Purdue’s changes in the second half of the Big Ten season :
“Obviously, our defense has gotten better. I’ve said this, it’s not like we’ve arrived defensively, as we’re a great defensive team. We’re just a lot better than we used to be. But you can’t gauge your efficiency on missed shots, especially when you shoot a lot of threes. You have to be able to make good decisions, pass the ball, move the basketball and when your shots aren’t going down, it’s a hard thing to move past that. Especially for us, with all the threes that we take, but you find a way to win. A lot of people will dig at how you win as you progress, but you find a way to win. We went to Indiana, we were fortunate, but we found a way to win. When we came here today, we were fortunate again, but we still found a way. I think this is what good teams do. And to be able to hang in here, make our free throws, not turn the basketball over, and out-rebound them by 17 and have 19 offensive rebounds, you’ll take that. Obviously we have a lot of misses in there, but as long as your effort is good and your energy is good, normally things are going to work out for you.”
On how tough it is to play on the road in the Big Ten:
“For Nebraska, they have great fans. Indiana has great fans. You know you’re going to go into a hostile environment. To be able to come here in blizzard-like conditions and see all these fans, it’s pretty cool. It shows the loyalty and support they get here at Nebraska. Just hostile environments in the Big Ten. I think our attendance has been the No. 1 in the country as a conference for 43 years. It speaks for itself, but we have great venues. If you got to go on the road and play, you know it’s going to be difficult. It doesn’t matter if that team is ranked first in your league or 14th in your league, it does not matter. You know it’s going to be difficult.”