1-on-1 with Oliver Purnell

CHAMPAIGN, IL - Listen to Oliver Purnell after his team's thrilling 76-74 win over Illinois.


Obviously just a huge win here in Champaign this evening- especially on the road.
Purnell: It is. Anytime you win on the road, in a Big Ten school on national television in a game that pushes you to 8-0 that's a big win and we had to come behind to do it.

Defensively you really put the clamps down in the second half.
Purnell: It was a cumulative affect. It's a 40-minute game. Sometimes it doesn't show up until 30-35 minutes into the game. It did show up earlier but they started to kind of throw it to us. But also, defensively, I thought their legs were gone.

Then your points in the paint- 56 points.
Purnell: [We shot] 63 percent in the second half. Much of that inside. Some of that was driving layups by Demontez Stitt. Obviously we were able to get it to Ray [Sykes] and [Trevor] Booker in there. That was good balance and that's something we have been working on the last couple of weeks so it was good to show that in a big game.

And then Demontez Stitt, like you said, he was also critical down the stretch.
Purnell: That was big. Every one of them we needed. We did what we needed to do in the last six minutes. But I thought the fact he didn't turn the ball over, he was able to get himself good shots as well as the other guys- that was impressive.

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