Hawkeyes Take Challenge Championship

Iowa rolled passed overmatched UNC-Greensboro, 83-58, as Jeff Horner and Pierre Pierce shared MVP honors. Horner scored 14 and handed out 11 assists in the title game, while Pierce added 17 points and five assists. Iowa improved to 6-1. Read what coach Steve Alford and Horner said about the weekend, plus what the student section did for football recruit Brandon Harrison, The Play of the Game, a former Hawkeye in attendance and more in this Premium Notes & Quotes Package.

All-Tournament: Iowa's Jeff Horner and Pierre Pierce shared MVP honors. They were joined on the unit by teammate Greg Brunner, Southern Miss' Jasper Johnson, UNC-Greensboro's Ricky Hickman and Chad Maclies of Centenary.

Iowa's Adam Haluska did not make the team, which surprised some media voters.

Play of the Game: Off of a Jeff Horner drive and dish, Pierre Pierce rose up from a crowd, spun in the air and threw it down backwards.

No Joke: Carlton Reed continues to impress with his energy and excellent play off the Hawkeye bench. Shortly after entering the game in the first half, the freshman knocked down his customary trey. He finished with six points and three rebounds in 11 minutes.

Rotation: It looks like Coach Alford has settled on a rotation, at least for now, and provided there's no foul trouble. Doug Thomas is filling the role of sixth man. He usually replaces Hansen or Brunner. Mike Henderson and Carlton Reed are 7 and 8. They usually get Haluska and Pierce or Horner. Alex Thompson then comes in for Hansen or Brunner.

Scary Moment: Pierce fell to the floor after twisting his ankle on a drive with about 7 minutes left in the first half. The crowd turned eerily silent for several minutes. The junior returned about 2 1/2 minutes later.

Tip-Ins: After allowing a UN-G put-back, Alex Thompson was pulled from the game. Coach Alford said to the freshman, "You've got to rebound" as he came back to the bench…Former Hawkeye Joe Fermino attended the game…The Iowa SID office waited until there were five minutes left in the game before collecting the all-tournament ballots from the media. Coach Alford was upset last year when a Northern Illinois player was voted as the MVP despite Iowa winning the championship. The ballots were collected early in the second half with Northern ahead…The Hawkeye Student section chanted names of football recruits Brandon Harrison, who took in the game as part of his official visit. Jovon Johnson hosted Harrison…Pierce and Henderson each sported new shoes Saturday. Pierce wore some electric gold and black kicks that matched his gold uniform. Henderson laced up some futuristic looking black patent leather rides with silver bottoms and swoosh…The crowd was much more respectable Saturday, although there were plenty of empty seats. Attendance was announced at 10,680...The game was shown tape-delayed on CBS-2 locally so the station could air Auburn-Tennessee football, which directly impacted who the Hawkeyes would play in the Capital One Bowl.

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STEVE ALFORD

Opening Statement: We're obviously very pleased with the championship. It's our first championship of the season, and to get two lopsided victories, I'm very pleased with that.

There were several things we need to work on. I wasn't happy with our turnovers. But the guys battled. It's our seventh game in 16 days. This was a very demanding stretch with an awful lot of travel involved with it.

To come through this 6-1, this was a tremendous start. Now we know we've got a big week that we're very excited about next week.

What about Jeff's play tonight with 11 assists?

It's only seven games, but Jeff is just solidified himself as one of the better guards throughout the country. People are starting to recognize that. As we win, that attention will just continue to build.

He's just really running the team the way that you want a point guard to run a team. He didn't take any bad shots. He's playing with the savvy of a point guard that you really want. He's really maturing into an outstanding guard.

You gave up 21 offensive rebounds tonight. What happened there?

Yeah, 21 was bad tonight. Twenty one turnovers; 21 offensive rebounds.

I give Greensboro a lot of credit. They came in here and did a lot of good things; a good win over Southern Miss. They fought is hard.

As I've told our team, you can't play the score. Every time we got a little comfortable, that's when they got a lot of their second shot opportunities. When we pushed it some 15 to 245, our defense went to a whole another level.

It's a maturing process. That's why we're early in the season. Hopefully we can just keep getting better on each of the circumstances that are thrown at us in any given game.

Turnovers, any reason for that?

I just thought that we were careless. We were eager.

I love the pace. For the most part, we're still playing at a very good pace. We're putting a lot of pressure on people. That pace is exciting.

We've got to learn to play at that pace. There are going to be nights where we do get a little bit careless. We've got work on that.

With two big games next week and then finals, do you worry about the guys wearing down at all?

That's why we're just trying to do the best we can as coaches in practice. That's why I keep saying that we haven't had a lot of practice time. We're doing a lot of dry run. We're doing our yoga.

We're doing some things, not wear and tear on them, but a lot of film work and trying to save their bodies. This is a demanding stretch.

You were happy with the defense yesterday. How would you rank it today?

It's hard. I've got to watch tape. We defended things pretty well. We defended the three-point line very well. We held another team well below their shooting percentages.

Other than board play, we probably met a lot of our defensive goals. We forced 22 turnovers. There are going to be a lot of things we accomplished defensively.

There were some positives there. But the second shot things were probably the most disappointing. And the points that we did give up came as a result of our mishandling the ball.

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JEFF HORNER

Is there good chemistry going on out there?

We've all played together. Adam has been practicing with us for two years now. It was just a great tournament for everybody.

Your scoring average is going down.

That's alright with me. We won by a lot of points. That's all that matters. My teammates were finishing great tonight. I just got them the ball.

There were a lot of turnovers. Was there anything in particular going on there?

We just got a little bit fast. We finally started to slow down, and that's when we started to pull away in the second half. We got more of a transition going there, too. That's what set us apart.

Do you think you guys made progress defensively in these two games?

I want to say yeah, but we'll find out Tuesday because UNI is a pretty good offensive group. We're going to be ready for them.

Did you get to watch any of the UNI-Iowa State game?

I did watch it. It wasn't a very good game to watch. UNI kind of took it to them.

UNI is very good at home. They're very good on the road, too. They went into Cincinnati and were leading them by 18 or 12 or something like that.

Where do you feel this team is right now?

We're sitting good. We can't rest now because the next two games are instate rivals. They're two games that we've been looking forward to for a year now. We got beat by them last year. We definitely don't want to get beat two years in a row.


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