Idaho St. - McCaffery Transcript

Complete transcript from Iowa Coach Fran McCaffery's press conference after his team defeated Idaho State, 70-53, on Saturday.

COACH McCAFFERY: First and foremost, I would say this, I think we beat a good team today. I think Joe's done an unbelievable job with them. We had a chance to put them away; they didn't go anywhere. I thought they really battled.

The disconcerting thing for us is how we played at the end of the first half and how we played at the start of the second half. That was problematic in our previous game, obviously, so we wanted to address that and didn't take care of that.

Fortunately, we made enough plays defensively. We turned them over 23 times. I thought our effort and intensity level early was tremendous. Got a lot of people involved. I thought down the stretch we had some guys make big plays and that was good to see. So good win, but we have to get better.

Q. You guys did really well rebounding in the first half. Second half not as well.

COACH McCAFFERY: I think everything is always somehow related to rebounding. But in that particular case, I just didn't think we were helpful with the ball like we were in the first half. We were content to let them run their stuff. And this is a team that has a great offense that they run.

He knows what he's doing, and they run good stuff and they execute it if you let them. And they started carving us up a little bit because our intensity level waned and it can't. It has to be every bit as contentious as it was in the first half.

We talk about that all the time. You get a big lead and you soften up a little bit. I mean, Gilchrist went for 39 in Colorado. This guy can play.

We let down in the first half; he whacks two threes, gets going in the second half a little bit. Now you give him some space and he's really dangerous.

You've got to understand if you've got a guy buttoned up, you have to keep him buttoned up.

Q. (No microphone).

COACH McCAFFERY: I do. I'll be honest with you. I'm probably more concerned with the line than I am the three-point line. I thought our threes were good looks. I thought Matt had great looks. Zach had great looks. We had great looks, in and out, in and out.

Sometimes that happens. A team makes a run on you, you're in the zone, and you feel like you can't get the ball to go in. But what I liked about it is I thought we had good shots and we're screening and cutting.

Q. Did you tell the team to go see Norm Parker?

COACH McCAFFERY: That was all on our team.

Q. Were you surprised when they did that?

COACH McCAFFERY: Not at all. It was great to see him, and he looks good. Really happy that he's here, and the players show him the respect that he deserves.

Q. You touched on how you felt the bigger problem was the free-throw shooting. What can be done about that?

COACH McCAFFERY: Just more practice. I think in some respects you'd like to say sometimes free-throw shooting is a function of not getting there enough. We got there 22 times. We were driving the ball, attacking the rim in transition. We got the ball inside.

I thought Melsahn made two big ones. We were struggling at that juncture and he made two big ones and that was good to see to see for him.

Q. Coach, you're about a quarter of the way through the season. Do you feel like your team is progressing?

COACH McCAFFERY: We are, no question. We're still trying to figure some things out. Still trying to understand the anatomy of the game. But I think making strides in a positive direction without question.

Q. Do you think Bryce is doing well even though he doesn't have (no microphone)?

COACH McCAFFERY: The thing about Bryce, you look at his overall body of work today and he was spectacular. And he got sloppy a couple of times. That's going to manifest itself in a negative way if we don't get that corrected. I think he knows that.

He's not a freshman. He's been around. At 15-8, they're going to pretty much take that. He was also guarding the other team's best player. So I don't want to take anything away from a terrific performance, but the long passes that don't end up with anybody have to -- three turnovers is too many for him.

Q. You mentioned Bryce, there was that stretch three or four times down where he didn't get the looks to get in the two-three zone. He looked like he became more aggressive off dribble penetration. Is that something you talked to him about?

COACH McCAFFERY: We talked about dribble penetration at halftime. When you have a team that is sitting in a two-three and then matching good shooters, there's going to be space to drive the ball. So you're either flashing to that space and go high-low, or you drive it into that space and force help recovery.

He's creative when he gets in there. He's creative, athletic, plus he can hit the pull-up. And he was able to do that.

Q. With in-state games coming up, do you think your team is ready for the challenges of the in-state rivalries?

COACH McCAFFERY: I think so. We've got some time now to start focusing on them. We haven't really looked at them yet, but we'll start that today and tomorrow.


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