Coach Alford, Horner Discuss Michigan Loss

For the last month, poor rebouding has concerned Iowa Coach Steve Alford. That weakness bit the Hawkeyes Wednesday night in a 65-63 loss to visiting Michigan. The Wolverines owned a 40-28 advantage on the backboards and grabbed 17 offensive boards.

Steve Alford

On the disappointment in losing the Big Ten opener - No, it was a very poor shooting night and we just didn't guard in the first half. Having a team ready to play is the head coach's job, and I take full responsibility for that. I'll have to look (at game tape).

We did pretty much everything we've done all year long, but that group was not ready to play to start the game. It's the first time it's happened all year, and it's hard to figure out being the first Big Ten game.

In the second half, we played the way that we've got to play other than making free throws. We shoot 53 percent at the line in the second half and we get outrebounded by 12. We're playing a team where we knew that we had to stay in there on board play and we just didn't get it done.

On creating turnovers but missing opportunities to score - Once we got it to where we were in striking defense, we either turned it over or we took a quick shot. It's the first time that we've really had to play from that far back, especially at home. We've had a very good nine-game stretch here where we've won with good margin. This was a game where we didn't step it up and play the way that we've been playing. Hopefully we can figure things out here in the next couple of days and go into a place where Ohio State hasn't lost and they're playing very well at home.

On why the team came out of gates slow - The first 20 just wasn't characteristic of the way we wanted to play. We didn't shoot the ball well. We didn't take good shots. We didn't share the ball. We have more turnovers than assists. Michigan turns it over 25 times and they get a road win. That doesn't happen very often.

The way we defended and the way that we executed our offense in the first half was about as poorly as we've done all year.

On the Wolverines offensive rebounding being the story of the game - It really was, 17 offensive rebounds. We knew that was going to be something that we had to concentrate on. We've just got to get more board play. Outside of Pierre, our guards aren't rebounding the way that we were earlier in the year.

We're going to need the guards to do it because Erek's just not a real good rebounder yet. He blocks a lot of shots, he's just not a real good rebounder. That's something he's working hard in practice on.

On the shot selection down the stretch - We had an (Out-of-bounds) play set up. We had gotten a layup out of it the last time and the other option is drive and kick. We just didn't drive and kick. Adam is sitting there wide open on the wing, and we don't get him the ball. We take a forced shot. Those shots are hard to make late in the game.

Everything was set up the way that we really liked. We just didn't execute down the stretch.

On Michigan winning the bench battle - I'm real concerned about (bench scoring), but the starters kind of dictated that tonight. We played so poorly in the first half that when we're down 14 at home, we've got to exhaust so much in the second half to get back. And when we got a roll, I didn't want to sub. I didn't want to disrupt that roll.

Tonight wasn't a matter of our bench being poor as much as it was our starters not doing what they needed to in the first half so we could be in our normal sub pattern in the second half.

On playing at Ohio State Saturday - That's going to be a tough contest. We've got to figure out a lot of things here in the next two days and hopefully get things square on the road.

On pervious success at Value City Arena - We've won a lot of games over there, but this team is playing very well. They haven't lost at home yet. We've got a tall order come Saturday.

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Jeff Horner

On Iowa falling behind by 14 at halftime but fighting back - We pretty much got ourselves into that rut in the first half. We recovered, but but we just ran out of energy in the end. Give it to Michigan. They ran their game plan. They played pretty well tonight.

On the tale of two halves - It's our intensity from the first half to the second half. It was just rediculous the way that we played in the first half. In the second half we picked it up and started playing basketball the way that we know how to. We just couldn't quite make it all the way back.

On seeing the loss coming with poor play since Texas Tech - We haven't been playing very well our last three games. The Texas Tech game was great. We patted ourselves on the back a little bit too much. We're in the Big Ten season now. Home losses are going to be huge. If we want to win a Big Ten championship, we can't be losing home games.

On being outrebounded 40-28 - Coach stressed all week that they were going to come in and get all of the rebounds. If we want to win the game, we've got to rebound. And we definitely didn't do that tonight. We're going to have to think of something to solve it.

On how can this team, and in particular Pierre Pierce become better at the free throw line - We probably shoot about 100 free throws a day. I know Pierre comes in on his own and tries to shoot as many as he can. I can tell you right now, I know he feels bad. But he's a tough kid, and he'll come back on Saturday. We've just got to continue to work. We can't let this get us down. We can still get a win against Ohio State and take away that home loss that we had.

On him being able to get open in the second half - I just had a lot of open looks. I cut a lot harder. I finally went out and shot the ball instead of thinking about it. Some of them went in, but it was too little too late.

On the play of Daniel Horton - He was huge. Nobody really expected him to play much. He comes in and plays 26 minutes and gives them 13 points and did an all-around good job of running the team.


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