Downright Defensive

The Iowa men's basketball team opened up its exhibition season with 84-43 rout of Upper Iowa Wednesday night at Carver-Hawkeye. The Peacocks managed just six second-half field goals against a suffocating Hawkeye defense. Pierre Pierce led the way for the winners with 19 points, while teammate Doug Thomas scored 16 and ripped eight rebounds while lighting up the crowd with some awesome dunks. This premium Quotes and Notes package features game highlights, an injury update and more.


Opening Statement

It was good to get things going. We got everybody in the game. We've made some good strides in the last two weeks defensively. We made it difficult for them. Anytime you can hold a team to six field goals in a half, you've made it difficult on them. I really appreciated the effort.

We've got a long way to go with halfcourt offense. We've done an awful lot with the transition game, and we probably haven't spent enough time with halfcourt offense.

That's why we play these games. We know now before we open up against Western Illinois in a little over a week that we've got to spend a lot of time with halfcourt offense. That's always got to be a staple of what you do.

But we did some good things in the open floor. And I liked what we did defensively. Without watching the tape, those are the things that really stick out.


When you guys put together that run in the second half of the first half was it the defense that got it going?

Yeah. And to start the game, our guys seems anxious. They just didn't seem as sharp as we would have liked. We were awfully sharp in practice (Tuesday). There wasn't a carryover up until this.

And we're still in the exhibition season. We went about 2 1/2 hours (in Tuesday's practice). We won't do that during the regular season. It seem like it took us about eight minutes to get our legs and wind together. And we seemed anxious offensively. It wasn't selfish, but it was not moving the ball like we needed to move it.

The defense was pretty solid throughout the 40-minute game. I can't remember a four-minute segment when our defense was really bad.

You've been talking about improved depth. That seemed to show tonight.

In the locker room, I told the team that I thought our subs were much more patient offensively than our starters were. Our starters seemed really anxious. And they broke what we were trying to do offensively way to early in each offensive segment.

The subs came in and kind of settled us. Carlton was terrific in the first half. Doug had a great game. He did a lot of good things. To have him have no fouls and Erek have two fouls, that's encouraging because they both have a tendency to get in foul trouble.

Is Doug your energy guy early on?

That's got to be one of his roles. He's an electrifying kind of player. He did that tonight. he made great post moves. He ran the floor. He rebounded well. I really liked what he did.

Our foul shooting was atrocious. As I told the guys, we have to spend a lot of time with conditioning drills in reference to missed foul shots. By the time January rolls around, there's going to be a lot of one, two possession games. Those things become awful important.

Alex Thompson seemed to be in the right place at the right time.

Yeah. He's just a really good young player. I was trying to get him to be more aggressive. Right now, he's trying to feel it all out. That's true of most freshmen.

We're glad we're in a position right now that our freshmen don't have to be thrown in right away. They can sit and watch. They can learn by watching the best.

Did it feel different not having your father?

Yeah. I kept looking over. He gave me the sleep sign about two minutes into the game. He has no stress. He was kind of proving his point there.

Really, what dad has got to get through, is my daughter. For her entire life, it's been grandma and mom. Grandpa hasn't been in the gameday picture.

The other day in the Blowout at halftime she comes up to me and says, "Is grandpa going to sit with me all year?" So, he's going through an exhibition season right now, too, to see if that's where he really gets to sit.

But yeah, it's different. And I'm sure it's different for dad. He's been on the sideline for 40 years. He came in (to the locker room), and as coaches upset about something, we're talking about things and dad says, "Can I offer my opinion?". I said, "Yeah, go ahead." He goes, "You all ought to stay here late tonight and watch the tape."

So, he's having a lot of fun with having some free time.




Adam Haluska: Coach Alford said he expected Adam to be able to play Sunday, although how much will determined how he works out Friday and Saturday as Thursday is an off day. Adam started doing some light working out Monday and Tuesday of this week.

Seth Gorney: Seth participated in layup lines Wednesday, but did not get into the action. Coach Alford anticipated that the freshman would be ready to resume practicing by the middle of next week and perhaps be ready for the season opener against Western Illinois on the 19th.

SUPER SPURT: Iowa actually trailed the Peacocks 15-13 midway through the first half Wednesday before putting together a 20-0 run to take control of the game. The Hawkeyes never looked back after the opening eight minutes which saw them turn the ball over six times.

SKYWALKER: Doug Thomas was my player of the game for Iowa. He brought energy into the game as the sixth man and played more 5 in the second half than Erek Hansen.

Thomas showed nice post moves, shooting little hooks with both hands. He also rose above the crowd to snare rebounds out of the air.

But he pumped the crowd up with the two alley-oop jams, one from Jeff Horner and the other from Jack Brownlee.

He's definitely fun to watch and sure to be a crowd favorite.

ROTATION: Thomas was the first man off the bench, replacing Brunner. Carlton Reed entered was the seventh man, replacing Horner. Alex Thompson filled out the eight-man rotation by replacing Hansen.

RITZ CARLTON: Reed, the freshman from Waterloo, joined Thomas in really giving the Hawks off of the bench. He knocked down a 3-pointer shortly after entering the game, and canned another just a few minutes later. He played solid defense, rebounded well, and defended.

GOOD COP, BAD COP: That seems to be the dynamic of new Associate Head Coach Craig Neal and Coach Alford.

Steve still got into players during timeouts and stomped his feet a few times. Neal kind of swooped in to smooth things over. He did a real nice job tutoring Horner on specific occasion.

UNDER PRESSURE: Expect the Hawks to be an up-tempo team based upon relentless man-to-man defensive pressure.

Iowa employed a 3/4-court, in-your-face, jump trap look that helped force Upper Iowa 27 TOs. The on-the-ball defender pushes his man to a sideline where he hopes a teammate can get close enough to leave his man and pounce.

I asked Horner about the alignment after the game, and he smiled and said: "That's what we wanted to do the last couple of years, but we've been down to seven guys and stuff like that. Hopefully this year you'll see a lot more of that, and you'll see a lot more running and gunning and getting them to turn the ball over."

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