NCAA Seattle: Ben Jacobson, UNI Players

The Northern Iowa head coach and players talk about the Panthers 71-54 win over Wyoming in the second round of the NCAA Tournament in Seattle...

THE MODERATOR: We'll go ahead and get started with an opening statement from Coach and then take questions for the student-athletes.

COACH JACOBSON: That was a great basketball game. I love being a part of it. Knew watching film of Wyoming and getting ready for this game that they had a bunch of tough guys. I had not concerns that I shared with our guys -- I think we got a bunch of tough guys, too -- so one of those things that in my mind just trying to go through the list of how we get this done. But so watching them I knew. Really good players, really tough guys. They found ways to get through their conference tournament because they're tough and they make big shots, and they showed that in the second half. Just a terrific team. So proud of our guys for sticking to what we do, getting the job done. Had a lot of guys step forward. Fun game.

THE MODERATOR: Take questions for the student-athletes, please.

Q. Seth, wanted to ask you, in this day and age, a lot of people talk about with TV timeouts and stoppages of play; that depth isn't as important because there's more breaks in the game. But today it looked like your teammates, everybody was fresh and it looked like depth paid off. How important is it to have that many guys off the bench?
SETH TUTTLE: It's really important. We go 10 deep sometimes. I can tell you how it feels sometimes when you get out there for awhile your legs start reminding you how important it is to have a deep bench. And the important thing is that we got 10 guys that are capable of really helping our team every time they step on the floor. And as the game showed today, we had a lot of guys step up for us.

Q. Coach, Nance had a big run in the second half, he kind of sparked it, but you did a good job on him throughout, and even Josh Adams for most of the game. What were you able to do, aside from that run, to slow them down?
COACH JACOBSON: We were going to get out and show hard on the ball screen with Adams and with the rest of their guards. We wanted to make sure that we forced him really high on the floor or we forced him to pick it up and give the ball up. Then with Nance, when he caught it, we were going to go and double him and see if we couldn't get it out of his hands. Just try to limit their touches. I thought the guys did a good job of that. Obviously in the second half and, as I mentioned, coming in we knew those two guys are really good. So there was probably going to be a time in the game that one or both of them got going, and they ran a couple actions that I don't think they run for Nance a lot. Because he was going so well. So we hadn't really worked against those. He made some big plays. He got them back in the game.

Q. With Nance, when we saw what he could do, he kind of took over there for a few minutes in the second half. Is it more impressive with how you defended him in the first half?
COACH JACOBSON: I think so. I thought that Marv did a great job on him. Marv was physical with him and got underneath him a little bit and made it hard for him to catch it. When he did, we were there in time to double him. And in the second half he ran the baseline and made a couple threes on a couple actions that we hadn't gone through because we hadn't seen them much, if at all. We let him get a tip in, let him do a couple things that we needed to take care of in that run that he had. So, he just -- a lot of energy in that stretch. He got his team back in the game.

Q. Jake, still single-digit lead, they made a run, you fought them off, they came again. And Wes had a little flurry where he made the floater in the lane and then drew Nance's fourth foul, made two free throws, and got a tie ball on the possession. Talk about that stretch and how good it was, his play, and how valuable it was.
COACH JACOBSON: Wes and Paul are here and they got a couple other guys on that bench with Wyatt and with Nate and with Ben from time to time, but the four of them have been double-figure minute guys for us. There's no way I can describe to you how proud I am of those guys. The guys that are coming off our bench, that was -- in a lot of ways it's been one of or maybe the key to our season. Because these two guys are really, really good players. Nate is a really good player. Wyatt's young, so he's kind of coming. But the other three are -- they're terrific players. They have done everything for our team to be able to have success, and tonight it was the two of them that got a bunch done for us. And we needed somebody to shoot it over the top of them because of the way they defend. Wes has got the ability to make those shots and make those plays. What I liked best is at no time during the year did we not get great effort from everybody on our team. No matter the situation. Tonight, this is the reason why. Or this morning. It's the reason why you do that stuff. It's the reason you sacrifice. These guys were big today.

Q. Paul, they had cut it to seven and your three-pointer I believe kind of stemmed the tide a little bit. I see you hit that shot before, but was it a called play? Take me through that sequence.
PAUL JESPERSON: Yeah, I think it was a pretty calm thing. We had came out of the timeout at one point when it was close and we just said to each other, listen, it's close, we're going to remain calm, let's just do what we've done all year, and that's get stops, make open shots, play through Seth. I thought we did a great job of that late. That's why we were able to come out of here with a win.

Q. Ben, I'm told that your players were pretty loose, relaxed on the way over here and that it didn't seem like NCAA Tournament jitters had affected anybody. Is that accurate, and why?
COACH JACOBSON: Yes, accurate. I felt this morning when I got down to breakfast -- we got them up 7:30 and had our team meal, and I walked in and a couple of them were talking and laughing, and I had felt at that time that we were going to play really well today. It's one of the things that we have talked about the past two weeks, it's the personality of this team. They have taken ownership of being who they are. And being relaxed, being loose is a big part of who they are. They have combined that with being really tough and really competitive. So, yeah, on the bus on the way over, at breakfast this morning, when I heard them talking and laughing and giving each other a hard time at breakfast, I knew we were going to play well today. I didn't know if we were going to win or not, but I knew we were going to play well. I love that part of it; that these guys are on the biggest stage in college basketball for sure, but I think the greatest sporting event of the calendar year. The biggest stage. And they're loose and playing.

Q. Wes, you're down 18 to Illinois State, came back and won. How much does that help you to stay relaxed when Wyoming made that run and got back within seven? You guys were able to stem that and get back at it. How much does it help to have that experience behind you that you can keep doing what you're doing?
WES WASHPUN: Yeah, I think it helps a lot being able to weather a storm like that and come back and stay calm and relaxed and just execute our stuff. It was very similar here when they made their run; we just stayed calm and executed our stuff and were able to come through.

THE MODERATOR: Okay, thank you very much.

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