Long Range:Nick DeWitz showed his offensive versatility in the preseason. Tuesday against EA, he threw in a coupe of athletic dunks. The sophomore converted 2 of 3 trey attempts on Sunday versus AIA.
Step Back:Brody Boyd started strong and looked good on Tuesday. Sunday, he got into Alford's doghouse with a couple of ill advised decisions early in the game. He forced up a fastbreak layup with two open teammates nicely filling the lanes. Shortly after that miscue, he stepped out of bounds on a 3-point attempt.
Game Highlight:Alford was so excited over a steal made by center Jared Reiner, that the coach called the senior over for a high five. Though the execution on the congratulations left a little to be desired, it received one of the days biggest reactions from the crowd.
Getting Defensive: Freshman Mike Henderson saw his first action of the season and really made a difference in the game, especially on the defensive end. He has a knack for guarding the ball and disrupting an offense.
Mr. Clutch: Although PG Jeff Horner struggled behind the arc, making just 2 of 8 shots, he hit two huge treys. His first triple came after AIA had taken a 30-29 lead late in the first half. He dropped in his second long J to stop an AIA run early in the half and send the Hawkeyes on a spurt.
Unsettled: While he took a more laid back approach on Tuesday, Alford got into some players on Sunday. He yelled at Brunner's defense a few times, slapped the bench after Horner jacked up a quick 3 before the break, and as mentioned above, gave Brody an earful for losing concentration.
Breaking It Down: Pierre Pierce looked strong in his ability to drive, pull up and hit 8 to 10 foot jumpers. He will open up a lot of opportunities for the Hawkeye offense if he can continue to knock those shots down.
Coach Steve Alford's Opening Statement:
I thought this was better. We really wanted to look for improvement anytime you go from game to game. We've really addressed a lot of things defensively in the last four days. We had improvement. We had some young guys really guard tonight and really gave it an effort. We still gave up way too many open looks that they missed more than our defense had to do with that. We still knocked things loose. They turned it over 18 times. We had 11 steals. We got on the backboard. Last game, we got beat pretty good on the backboard. So, there was improvement in the areas that we thought were a little bit suspect in the first game. Hopefully, if we can continue that improvement in the next 5-6 days, we'll be ready to go in and start the season.
Is 18 turnovers still too many?
Oh, without question. I put that on the board after the game. I liked our intensity better tonight. We probably had six or seven that were turnovers that I clapped on because I thought they were aggressive. I don't mind the aggressive (turnovers); trying to make the extra pass now and then to get a teammate a shot. I just don't like the passive, careless turnovers. We're still getting about 13-14 of those a game. We've got to get those inside 10. That's hard, especially playing up and down like we want to play. We were really careless in transition more than anything. A lot of our turnovers weren't in the halfcourt. They were in transition. We want to run. We've got guys that can push it and run. But we've got to be able to take care of the basketball. The other thing is, the guys have got to do a better job of getting Jared shots. Those were the two issues. We did it a little bit better in the second half. He didn't get any shots because he got fouled. But he's just a weapon that we've got to continue to exploit and look at because I really like what's happening with his game.
You like his quickness, I take it, on Jared. (Steal, and High Five)
It's been four years. To see him get into the passing lane and knock something loose (Laughter)...I told him that's the one time I'll let him be point guard. "If you can knock things loose and get steals in the open court, I'll let you be point guard that one possession." He's just really worked hard. He's really worked hard on his game. I just think he's on the brink of something really big. We've got to make sure that when we've got somebody like that, that he's getting some touches.
How was Mike Henderson today?
The first half, he was a deer in headlights and played his first minutes as a freshman normally would. In the halftime, he settled down. He played as well as anybody on the floor in the second half. He did a lot of good things. I said in the Black and Gold Blowout that what he did to Jeff, picking up 94 feet and just working him, I've never seen anybody do that to Jeff. Tonight, against some pretty good guards, he did the same thing. He was disruptive. He did some good things in the second half of running our offense and taking good shots and knocking them down.
Brunner really gave you a spark as well.
He did. Bru is very explosive. He's another guy that will have to get more shots within the offense. But our shot distribution, again, was pretty solid. We got pretty good balance. We've got a lot of guys who can score. We didn't shoot the ball particularly well in the first half, but got back to executing what we need to do in the second half. To be honest with you, I thought Bru and Jared had more rebounds. I just thought that they were getting everything off of the glass. We've got to get guys like Hansen rebounding. Erek has got to be able to prove that he can rebound. He's got to keep working on it. I thought Sean came back and did some good things in the minutes that he got.
For not having played competitively for a year, Pierce had stepped in and done well.
He's so comfortable in that wing position, in the guard position that's not the point. We still ran him about four possessions today at the point, just to give us a different look and to give Jeff and Mike a break. We'll end up doing that with Nick a little bit as well. But Pierre just creates. He creates offense for others. He creates offense for himself. He does a lot of good things in the air. A lot of players don't understand how to do that.
He took a couple of ill-advised shots. We've been working on bank shots (Pierce missed the rim on a bank shot). Normally when you bank it, you want to hit rim and net somewhere along the line (laughter). You don't want to hit just backboard. There are things that he's got to continue to work on, too. But he just gives us a great dimension. Out of your guard position, you get nine rebounds. You get two or three steals. You get an assist. He can do a lot of things for you. He took responsibility in trying to put some pressure on Crispin in the second half because he obviously had a huge first half (19 of 29 points) on us.
How much does Glen being out change you guys?
It's a difference because he's a great player, and he's a senior. Obviously, we'd like to have him. That's the thing I'm pleased with. We're missing a very key part to the team. We just played one of the best, if not the best exhibition teams out there. They've done some really good things. At the start of both halves, we did a very good job of getting them out of it. To do that without Glen, is pretty pleasing because we're going to have to do it for at least the next two or three weeks.
Is there an update on Glen?
Not that I know of.
AIA Head Coach John Farwell's Opening Statement:
The offensive boards were obviously the key to the game. The game came down to offensive boards on their part. And then, Pierce, in my opinion, was the difference in the game. He was so slippery and created a lot with the penetration. That opened up people and he dumped it down for layups and things like that. He can continue to do that, especially with Jared. He's such a big body in there, he draws a lot of attention, which is how Brunner got so many offensive boards. We were doubling down on Jared. That's going to give the four man a lot of chances to get boards. They're a solid, well-coached basketball team. That's a no brainer. They'll do well. They're a good team.
How did they compare with some of the teams you've faced?
The best team that we've played so far, and this might sound crazy, but it was Saint Louis. They're just as good as Saint Louis. They run the same kind of offense. They're very hard to guard because they don't let you rest defensively. They're constantly moving. That's a credit to Steve. They're the hardest team to guard that we've played other than Saint Louis as far as that goes. Defensively, they'll improve and get better at that area. Part of that is because they go up and down so much. You've got to give something to get something. They do a good job of getting up the floor. That's how they built their lead in the first 10 minutes of the game.