Hawks Sluggish in Preseason Finale

Iowa pulled out an 85-77 victory against Laval University on Sunday afternoon at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Laval shot 61 percent from the floor in the second half. The Hawkeyes' defense disturbed Head Coach Steve Alford. Read what he had to say as well as comments from point guard Jeff Horner and newcomer Adam Haluska, who saw his first action of the season, in this Notes and Quotes premium story.


EXTRA HELP - Walk-on/practice player Ryan Kennedy from Des Moines sat on the Iowa bench for a second consecutive game. He wore street clothes.

SPECTACLES - Freshman guard J.R. Angle wore goggles for the first time this preseason. He never got to wear them in the game, however. He did not play - coach's decision.

PATRIOTIC - Coach Alford was trying to get the attention of his daughter Kayla during the pregame national anthems. Kayla was wearing a visor and dad wanted her to take it off.

WHOOPS - Doug Thomas and Pierre Pierce both clanked first-half dunk attempts. A foul of the light variety was called on the Thomas try. Pierce just got stuffed by the rim.

NICE TO SEE YOU - Adam Haluska and Seth Gorney saw their first action of the preseason Sunday.

Haluska entered at about the 15-minute mark of the opening half and played about five minutes before needing a rest. He missed his first three 3-point attempts and looked a little winded.

Gorney came in at about the 2-minute mark of the first half. He played less than a minute before he was pulled. He looked slow on his sprained ankle.

ROTATION - For a second game in a row, the Hawkeyes started Pierce, Horner, Brunner, Henderson and Hansen. Thomas served as the sixth man. Haluska, Thompson, Reed and Gorney. Angle did not get in until.

FORCED ISSUE - Through the Black and Gold Blowout and two exhibition games, Pierre Pierce appears to be forcing shots. The junior still looks good in transition and most times when he drives, but his outside game is lacking.

The inefficiency in the half court offense has been due in part to Pierce's lack of patience in letting the offense come to him

Pierce did run the point late in the game.

DUNK YOU VERY MUCH - Thomas stole the ball out top late in the first half kicked it out to Horner who lofted an ally-oop pass that Thomas grabbed with two hands and threw down. Halfcourt offense

TO BE CONTINUED - Freshman Carlton Reed continued his strong play in the preseason. He knocked down his first long jumper just after entering the game before hitting a trey at the first half buzzer. He hit another three midway though the second half.

The Waterloo native has played exceptionally poised for a first-year player. He hasn't force shots or seemed fazed by the bigger stage.

RULES CHANGE - The teams played with rules that will be used when the Hawkeyes head to Hawaii later this month. The changes included a 20-feet, 6-inch, 3-point line. The lane was widened by 1-1/2 feet on each side. There also was a restricted arc placed two feet from the center of the basket.

ANGRY ALFORD MOMENT - The coach pulled Hansen from the game in the first half and gave him an earful when he got to the bench. The junior center struggled for much of the afternoon, finishing with four points and two rebounds with four personal fouls in 18 minutes. He did swat away five shots.

FRENCH CONNECTION - The Laval players called out sets in French. They communicated with officials with hand signals.

IN THE CLUTCH - Laval pulled to within five points of the lead with six minutes to go before Pierce and Greg Brunner each came up with a big putback. Mike Henderson added two free throws and forced a 5-second call with excellent man-to-man defense.

Iowa led by six with :30 left when Brunner grabbed a clutch rebound after Pierce missed the second of two free throws. Doug Thomas canned two throws to clinch the win.



Steve Alford

Opening Statement:

Laval played very well and very hard and they did a nice job of exploiting all of the weaknesses that we have defensively. We've been saying it for a month that the difference in where our season goes will be what we do defensively.

This ought to be a pretty good indicator of just how far we've got to go defensively to get to where we need to get to. I'm very, very disappointed with how we guarded tonight.

They shot 61 percent in the second half and score 44 points. We've just got a long, long way to go in a very short period to get ready for the season defensively.

Was it effort?

No. I think this team gives great effort. It's not concentrated. You can be diving around. But if you're not smart and in the right position as a defender you look pretty poor.

It's not so much that they guarded well either. But we ought to be able to take some kind of down screen action or some kind of cross screen action that an opponents doing. That's stuff we do every day in practice. We didn't do that today.

As good as the help side defense was the other night, it didn't seem to be there tonight?

No. It wasn't. That's the frustrating thing. We were really selfish defensively. You don't hear that a lot. Normally it's offensive.

In what way do you mean that?

We weren't concerned about help. We were only about our own guy. We can't play defense that way. It's not about shutting out your guy. It's about doing the job from a team defensive standpoint.

Did Adam (Haluska) do anything different than what you expected after the layoff?

He didn't do a lot. He's tentative. This is his first time of going up and down. We didn't know if we'd even get 15 minutes out of him. His timing is off.

Hopefully now he can get a lot of good treatment tonight and again all day tomorrow and by Tuesday be full go and nearly 100 percent and get his timing back going into the opener.

Did Seth not feel comfortable on the ankle?

I don't know. He hasn't practiced even near what Adam has. It's probably unfair to throw him in there, especially in a tight game.

He hasn't practiced. We put in a lot of stuff in the last two weeks. He's behind in that category. But I wanted to at least give him a shot there at the end of the first half.

But his ankle is improving. It should be well enough by Friday.

Do you need more from Erek?

Oh yeah. All of our bigs were very passive defensively. A lot of their moves were way too soft. Erek was that way tonight.

He's been playing very well. But 4 and 2, we're going to need more out of that.

You had one more turnover than assists and you only outrebounded them by two. Are those troubling signs?

I don't think it's a sign. This is a practice game. This was a bad practice. Laval had a lot to do with it. I want to give them credit. But this wasn't one of our better practices.

By the time we get things going on Friday, I hope our guys understand that we've got outrebound people by more than two and we have to have more assists. Having 14 assists with the offense that we have is inexcusable.

We gave up way too many catch and shoot threes, which is one of our nevers in our defense. We did not rebound the ball very well. And, we had more turnovers than assists.

Has anybody surprised you this preseason?

If there's one guy that I've been very impressed with through the two games, it's been Carlton Reed. That's encouraging to see knowing that we can put him in there. He can make shots. I've really been impressed with the way that Carlton's competed.

Is it going to be maybe a little harder than we all thought for Adam to crack the starting lineup?

We'll just have to see. It doesn't really matter to us whether he starts or not. The five guys that started the last two games have done a very poor job of starting the game.

The start of the game is crucial for us. So, we need to find five guys that can start games at a high level. Who that ends up being, we don't know. But the group that we've had for two games haven't done a very good job.



Did it feel good to get out there?

Yeah. I haven't practiced in a little while. (Saturday) I kind of went at it slow. We decided today that it was going alright.

Is conditioning a problem?

I don't think right now it is. Our team in general, we're in shape. We're just a little soft right now. We've really got to work an execute in the little things.

Personally, I'm still in shape. I've been working out. I'm ready.

The coach will expect a better performance.

Tonight's performance wasn't pleasing.

Do you have a little rust?

I have a little rust. I'm not 100 percent by any means. By Friday, I should be close to 100 percent.

What is the problem?

It's all in the groin, hip flexor and abdominal area. I'm really having trouble in there. A couple of weeks ago, I kind of popped it and tore a muscle in there. It's been a slow progress injury. (Saturday) was the first day I got on the court. It showed a little bit. But I'm not 100 percent. Running forward I'm fine. I got to get down the lateral movements.

Did you have trouble getting into a flow today?

I understood the offense and everything. But getting into the flow, getting into the game, I wasn't into it exactly. But it was important to get out there and try to get a flow and get a feel for it before Friday.

Back when you were being recruited and Jeff committed to Iowa. Did Iowa State come extra hard after you at that point to make sure they didn't lose both of you guys?

Iowa State was interested the same time Iowa was. Iowa State just put a commitment on the table a little earlier. When Jeff went to Iowa, I was still being recruited by Iowa and Iowa State. At the time, I thought it was the best option for me. There's no regrets.



What did you guys take out of the exhibition season?

That we haven't started very well. We're going to do something to fix that. It's a big key for us. We found out too that when our big guys get in foul trouble that it's going to hurt us a little bit. We've just got to do something to fix those two things. We're going to be OK.

What's bogging down the halfcourt offense?

The halfcourt offense was a little better tonight than it was on Wednesday. But it still hasn't been very good. We've got to figure out a way to just come out and play. In practice, we look good. Then, you turn to a game and it's totally different.

Do you guys need a bigger challenge to get excited about?

I hope that's the case. You should never play down to the level of your competition. You should play the same way all of the time. We struggle with that consistency.

Did you know that this team lost to Northern Illinois by 40 last night?

Yeah. They played a great game. We did not play every well tonight. That's going to happen. But if we play that bad during the season, we're going to get beat.

Coach talked about how you guys are starting games. What's up with that?

I don't know. People have got to be ready to play. We've got three juniors out there that have played for three years now. Erek Hansen played last year. Mike Henderson had a half year.

We've got to come out ready to play. We need to get energized.

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