Coach Alford Talks About PSU Win

Iowa rolled over visiting Penn State, 77-58, Saturday night after another rough week on and off of the court. "The guys really were eager to get this game going," Alford said. "I really appreciate their efforts. Any time that you can shoot 71 percent in a half in Big Ten play, you've done something."

STEVE ALFORD

This was a great win for our team. The guys have really played hard. They really deserved this one. They really came out with a lot of energy and enthusiasm to to start the game. We knew it was a big game because both teams were 3-3. There were some upsets today. Not only in the Big Ten, but nine out of the Top 25 lost. So, the guys really were eager to get this game going. I really appreciate their efforts. Any time that you can shoot 71 percent in a half in Big Ten play, you've done something. Our offense has been clicking. The only concern with our depleated bench is board play. We're going into a place where they pride themselves on board play. That's something that we're just going to have to continue to work on.

Jeff and Pierre really got us going with how we moved the basketball. We got a lot of easy looks early in that game that really got us going.

Can you explain Jeff?

In...?

In terms of being less than good the other night?

He's a sophomore. He's going to have some bad games. He's not the perfect player, by any means. And I don't know of any in the Big Ten. He'd be the first to tell you that he had a bad game the other night. It's not 20...0...20...0. He's going a good job. He's nearing 100 assists already. He's rebounding at 5-6 a game. He's got a very good assist-to-turnover ratio. He's guarding as much as he can guard. He's playing 38 minutes. His offense has kicked in to the point that he's tying Iowa records (6-for-6 from 3-point land on Saturday).

Did you work on no-look passing in practice?

We always work on passing. I don't know if we spend a lot of time in the no-look pass. Our guys sometimes get carried away and get a few of those going. But we work every day on pass-catch (drills), and that's still an issue because it's still a game where we turn it over 18 times.

Can you comment on Erek Hansen's play?

Tremendous. He really got tired late. That's the first time he's played 20 plus minutes in his career here. He really gave us a big lift when Bru got into a little bit of foul trouble in the first half. He's a shot-blocking presence. Hopefully, he can continue to work, continue to build some confidence. He's really worked on a lot of moves. He's got a good jump hook that's gotten better. And his face-up game as improved. We were very, very pleased with the minutes he gave us.

Can you talk about Pierre matching up with Jagla?

That's the first seven-footer he's ever guarded. We've talked about it all year, but you go back over 18 games, I don't know of anybody that has gotten away from Pierre. I'd be shocked if Pierre hadn't won those matchups all 18 times. He's just having a phenominal year.

Is this a good springboard for February when the schedule gets tougher?

The schedule is always tough, and it's going to get tougher here down the stretch. We know that. We're playing two teams (Michigan State and Indiana) this week that are ahead of us (in the Big Ten standings). We've put distance between ourselves and Penn State and Minnesota and Ohio State, so we've done some good things there. We've got to play Northwestern yet again. Michigan, who beat us, now is one game behind us. We've got to play them again. We're tied with Illinois. We've got to play them again. There are some great games coming up. But this is a pivotal week for us because it's the only one, looking at the way the standings are now, where both opponents are ahead of us. The guys will be ready. We'll take (Sunday off) and hopefully have two good practices before we head up.

ED DeCHILLIS

Iowa was very, very impressive the first half. They shot 70-something percent. Not so good defense. And I know they had a little situation here at the end of the week where young guys might have left the team. I don't know what the situation is, but I knew that the kids would band together for Iowa. They would come out, and they would be ready to play and give it their best effort. The second half, I thought we played like a basketball team.


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