March 5, 2011
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Q. Can you think of a better sendoff for Jarryd Cole than the way he played in that ballgame today?
COACH McCAFFERY: No, I really can’t. He was phenomenal, and it was right from the beginning. He established how we were going to play effort wise, and at the defensive end you’ve got to defend this team. They’re too good.
And then offensively, you know, we didn’t have those prolonged scoring droughts. He was getting offensive rebounds and put backs. He and Melsahn had some big put backs for us when we really need it. I’m just really proud. I’m happy for him.
Q. What do you see as Jarryd’s biggest contributions to the team?
COACH McCAFFERY: You know, I think in a lot of ways. Everyone feels the same way about him. They appreciate his effort, his smile, his leadership, his competitive instincts, the way he has helped our younger players develop on the floor, in the locker room. We all wanted it for him.
Q. What does this mean for your program overall to finally beat this team?
COACH McCAFFERY: We came close a couple times, we really did. This team was probably playing better than all of them. From that standpoint I think it was great.
But I also think the thing that Matt has done at Purdue, he’s established I said this on the air, he’s established an identity in terms of how they’re going to play. They’re going to compete at the highest possible level, so anything short of that, you can’t beat them. So for us to win today, we had to establish that we could play with those same competitive instincts and keep fighting and overcome their runs and their big shots and just keep coming, and that’s what they do, and that’s why they have 25 wins.
So we have to consistently do what we did today, play with that kind of composure and that kind of effort, and great things happen.
Q. All the way down your bench, seemed like every guy you put in contributed. They played better than they have in a long time all the way down the lineup.
COACH McCAFFERY: I thought Eric May was pretty darned good today, I really did. And I thought Archie was fabulous. Brommer was good and then he got those fouls. He was in foul trouble. But you’re right, everybody that I put in played well. Zach hit a big three in the first half and I thought was solid.
But for us to beat a team that’s ranked in the top ten, I need everybody to contribute to their capabilities. They don’t have to play perfect basketball, but they have to play up to their capabilities and contribute in a positive way. You know, we out rebounded them. We probably had a few too many turnovers, but we can live with 13 the way we played. We didn’t kill it shooting wise, but we made enough shots and got enough seconds and got enough stops.
Q. Can you talk about Bryce’s effort?
COACH McCAFFERY: I thought he was done. At first I thought he really turned his ankle, but it was cramps. And sometimes they go away quickly and sometimes it takes forever. Luckily we have a great training staff. It took a while but they got him able to play. He made a big shot down for us down the stretch, handled the ball. Yeah, really proud of him.
Q. Talk about Matt’s defense on E’Twaun Moore.
COACH McCAFFERY: It’s been like that pretty consistently. I’ve got to give him credit. I mean, I have been giving him credit because I do think it’s affected his ability offensively to make a shot or two more maybe, but he has given it everything he has got, and he is really going after the other team’s best offensive perimeter player. He wants that guy, he’s going after him, he’s fighting through every screen, and that is really difficult to do from a stamina standpoint. He’s really got himself in phenomenal shape, and he just stays after it, and it seems like he could go another 40 minutes.
Q. Do you believe in fate? Bryce has had a couple of shots to win games and today he puts a shot up, it hits the rim and dances around and goes in this time?
COACH McCAFFERY: It’s funny, I thought the one against Wisconsin was going to go in and this one was going to miss. He definitely had one of those coming his way.
Q. Can you talk about how the team responded during the stretch when he was out and things could have gone south?
COACH McCAFFERY: Well, I was really concerned in that stretch with Marble’s stamina to get us home. We were discussing on the bench, do I go back with Eric and keep our experience out there and play Matt at the one; do I go with Branden Stubbs; do I put Stoermer in there, he’s got more game experience as a guard, not really a point guard. I thought Dev, he had a couple turnovers when he got jammed up over there on the side, but for the most part I thought his decision making was good. He got the ball up the floor against full court pressure, and I thought he was terrific. I know he only shot 1 for 9, but I thought he had a really good game, seven rebounds, three assists. I thought he was terrific.
Q. Do you think that this is the time when the team has worked so hard, they finally have things going for them?
COACH McCAFFERY: Well, the thing about it is Purdue kept coming. They made big plays and big shots, and we it wasn’t like they rolled over. We had to keep doing the same thing, and it was different players at different times. I think that’s the thing that makes this win so enjoyable. You can think of Melsahn’s tip, Jarryd Cole’s elbow jump or Bryce’s play, Matt Gatens’ two free throws. I mean, there were so many plays. Archie’s steal, he was down there really wreaking havoc defensively, so I was really proud of him.
Q. You described Jarryd’s play as phenomenal. Does even go to another level, the fact that he did it against possibly the Big Ten Player of the Year?
COACH McCAFFERY: Well, you know, I don’t think there’s any question he’s the Big Ten Player of the Year. I mean, that’s who I voted for with all due respect to some other guys who had great years. He’s a lottery pick, there’s no question about that, and I think he knows, Johnson, that is, that every time he takes the floor everybody knows that and they’re coming after him. So he went up against a guy that I think he has come to respect over the years as a senior that is really a defensive oriented player that does whatever we need him to do. He’s done a little more offensively this year because we’ve asked him to do it and he’s got it in him.
But I think for Jarryd Cole to be able to do it against a guy of that caliber on national TV, on senior day with his family here, I can’t think of a better thing to happen for a great young man.
Q. What does a win like this do for you guys going into the Big Ten Tournament next week?
COACH McCAFFERY: Well, it should give us some confidence that we can beat good teams. We’re going to have to beat four of them in succession. You know, this is clearly one of the better teams, not the best, and we beat them. So it gives us a lot of confidence.
Q. How has this team been able to keep their head up and keep moving?
COACH McCAFFERY: I think that’s the result of having a great captain and a great senior. Jarryd Cole won’t let this team get down. He won’t let them give up on each other or themselves. We’ve had different players at different times really struggle. Others have picked up and others have I mean, if you were at practice yesterday you would not have been surprised at what you just saw. The guys really came with the right attitude ready to work, and that’s a reflection on Jarryd Cole and his leadership and what he does in the locker room, what he says privately, because he’s got phenomenal credibility when he opens his mouth to his teammates.