Postgame Quotes From No. 9 Ohio State vs. Purdue

March 5, 2006

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J.J. Sullinger, senior forward
On what it means to win the Big Ten championship
"It was a good time and I just tried to remain focused. It's huge to be champions because it says a lot. We take pride in it, but we're not satisfied. We still have a lot of basketball to play."

On senior day
"It's a good day to be a Buckeye and a better day to be a senior."

Terence Dials, senior forward
On senior day and winning the Big Ten title
"This is a joyous moment for our program. It shows the dedication of all the players and coaches this season. No one gave us a chance this year. This shows how far this group has come. We knew we had to prove it on the court."

Je'Kel Foster, senior guard
On the team's preparation for the game
"We knew we had to come out of the gates early on and then turn up the defense after halftime. Everybody needs a rest, so we're going to rest up for Friday."

Ohio State head coach Thad Matta
On his team's character
"It's a great lesson in life for our guys. It shows anything is possible."

On his team's effort
"To win this league, the toughest league in the country, and to be outright champs is a tribute to their effort."

On the progress his team has made this season
"As these guys walked out today I thought back to July 7 (the first day of practice). To watch them grow and come together has been amazing. They all bought into what we preached." On his team's success
"We play as a team. Whenever we look at the box score, there is rarely a guy who leads every category every game. That is a tribute to our guys."

On the leadership of the team's senior
"I don't think you can replace experience. In September I told the seniors responsibility goes with the captaincy, and they've been there every second. These guys have done it all, they deserve everything."

Matt Painter, Purdue head coach
On the game
"This is a game of effort. The effort was there today, but we just needed someone to step up and make a shot. They (Ohio State) struggled but so did we, we were only 2-for-17 from three. Our center had 25 points but no one else could hit a shot. That is what Ohio State does, they put you in bind. They have a bunch of shooters and the best big man in the league."

On the rest of the season for Purdue
"Even if we won this game it would not have changed our seed in the tournament. Right now were playing for the name on the front of our jersey and playing for pride. We are now getting some young players the chance to get some experience. It is good for the young players to see this kind of atmosphere and see that special moment for Ohio State so they understand that doesn't happen overnight. The four seniors they have are great and Jamar Butler has made dramatic improvements." On Ohio State
"The key to today's game was Ohio State's aggressive play in the second half. We made some mistakes in the second half and I don't know if it was our carelessness or their aggressive play."

On Buckeye senior center Terence Dials
"He really finished plays. He hit some shots early to get them going. He also took good care of the ball."

On the game
"You try to make adjustments but Ohio State just kept coming. They got out to a big lead and we just couldn't get back into it."

On Purdue's injuries
"Right now we have to focus on the game of basketball. We can not be thinking about the players we don't have. The tough part for us was trying to guard Dials and those shooters when were shorthanded."