Senior forward Vincent Edwards led the way for Purdue, scoring 20 points on 6-of-8 shooting (2-of-2 from 3-point range) and added 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block and 1 steal in the victory. With the win, Purdue’s next game will come on Friday against the No. 3-seeded Texas Tech.
After the game, Purdue coach Matt Painter met with reporters to discuss the win and the team’s next game against Texas Tech.
Here’s what Painter said after the win.
Painter’s opening statement:
“Obviously it was a tough, grind-it-out type of game. I thought Butler really posed some problems for us, especially in some isos. And I thought our guys did a really good job. I thought our rebounding in the first half was really good. Just trying to make it as difficult as we can on [Kamar] Baldwin and [Kelan] Martin.
“I really thought if both of those guys played well, when they played good competition they’ve won. And we had to make it tough for them and try to get more shots than points for at least one of them. We were able to do that with Baldwin and bottle him up and keep making it difficult for him.
“I thought we really did some good things on the offensive end until the last three minutes. We lost our poise there, but we still were able to make enough plays. We made a couple of transition stops where we deflected behind. [Vincent Edwards] made a big time block in transition. We got a couple of key reader boards there.
“But obviously the play of the game was our execution in Dakota [Mathias] knocking down that 3 to send it to five points. So I want to give credit to Butler. Obviously they have a great program. They’ve done an unbelievable job. And Kelan Martin is a fabulous player, fabulous player. For a guy to score 2,000 points — Kamar Baldwin is very difficult to deal with. So congratulations to those guys.
“But just proud of our guys. We found a way. We lost the big fella [Isaac Haas] and he’s a big part of our team. But I think we also showed we’ve got a lot of pieces and we’ve got a lot of guys and we’re able to hang in there and get this one.”
On the game being close down the stretch:
“Yeah, the game is just a game of runs. It goes back and forth, any game you watch, unless it gets lopsided. You knew when you got up 10 in that one stretch they would make plays and come back.
“We were just trying to do a better job of keeping the ball in front of us and bottling them up, trying to make it as hard as we could and take up their space. And it’s hard with Kelan Martin, because we put a guard on him, but he’s got the size of a power forward. But yet he can move and shoot. So you’re going to give in to something.
“So when he gets deep, he had the one post move, a couple of spins, it’s hard because he’s rolling off your body and he’s bigger than. And that’s what made him a great scorer is just his ability to do things. We knew they would make runs, but we had to do a good job executing trying to keep the ball in front of us on the defensive end.
“Like we talked about earlier, we lost our poise right there. That could have cost us. We had three to four possessions in the last three minutes where we came away from nothing and a couple of them put them into transition. So we’re very fortunate to be able to pull this out after those possessions.”
On strategy to replace the injured Haas:
“I think you play teams that have earned their way here. But somebody like Butler and their prestigiousness of a program, I think it starts with playing hard. So you’re worried about your personnel. Everybody puts it in like a schematic form. When in reality you’ve got to compete harder than Butler or compete as hard as Butler.
“And I thought we were able to do that and match them. They played hard. We played hard. Sometimes you can get caught up in the loss of something instead of getting consumed in what you have.
“I thought [Jacquil] Taylor did some good things. Eifert did good things. Matt Haarms did some good things. But what’s ironic in this game is Matt Haarms, he played 29 minutes, and the game we played the first time he played 27. It’s not like we put in somebody that hadn’t been playing.
“Jacquil Taylor hadn’t been playing. So for him to give us those kind of minutes was huge. And then Grady Eifert has a lot of energy good. He’s got good physical tools. He can compete and plays hard. That being said our bench played good.
“Nojel Eastern played well. Ryan Cline made a huge 3 there at the end. They kind of left him open. Proud of those other guys that had to kind of increase their role. But we didn’t do anything really different.
“We’re not going to play through the low post is the only difference. We throw the ball to him a lot. But we’re pretty balanced. Carsen leads us in scoring. Vince Edwards averages 15, Dakota averages around 13 or 14.”
On Texas Tech:
“Chris Beard has done an unbelievable job at Texas Tech. We played them and they beat us when he was at Arkansas-Little Rock. They play extremely hard, very physical, very tough. And we have to match that. We’ll have to rebound the basketball, have quality possessions. I think more than anything, when you get into tournament play, so many people are so excited to play, go at it, but you still have to have quality possessions. When we execute and get those quality possessions, it really helps us offensively but it also helps us set our defense and make them go against a set D.”
On returning to the Sweet 16:
“I think anytime you’ve been there before, I think it helps you. I think that experience of being there, and — I wouldn’t say a focus because I thought last year we were focused we just ran into a buzz saw. Kansas was really good in that game in the second half.
“We know we’re playing a quality opponent again. We know they’re tough and physical. But anytime you can have an experience like that, I think it definitely helps you the next time.”