How tough is Hagan to guard?
Hagan is a project. He's got so many moves he can get you with. Finding out what he's going to do and when and just trying to keep him out of where he wants to go, we did that most of the night. We kept him where we wanted him.
What did you think when coach came over, tapped on the shoulder and said it's your turn?
I was a little nervous at first, But when I got in and started to get the feel of things, I seemed to be on. Everything just rolled right into place. It felt really good.
You played two minutes against Ohio State and didn't play in three of four other games. That's a long dry spell.
Yeah, it was. I mean I don't know how that works out. Ohio State, it was back in my hometown, home state and everything. It was just get me on the court. Then today, he pulls me out.
I went through a tough week of practice. I guess I showed him that I can do it. I just went on the court and did what I could.
Do you think this might open up some more opportunities for you?
I sure hope so. I'm sure hoping so.
What's it been like not playing very much?
It's tough coming off three years of starting in high school. I'm just not used to it yet. But I do what I can in practice. My goal this year was just to help our juniors just become so much better than what they are and hopefully help them along.
Did they bring the Final Four team in at all?
They didn't get a chance to, but coach really talked to us and let us know that these guys were coming. It was the last great Iowa team that really did something. They're coming here to watch us and to be honored, so we need to give it our all out there and we need to start a tradition ourselves.
We're off to a pretty good start. We hit some bumps in the road, but we've got a lot of potential.
What would it take for this program to make the leap to where it could go to a Final Four?
We're off to a good start. We've got a good coaching staff and we've got the right chemistry with the players. But we've just got to come together. Everything has got to fall into place. We've got a lot of work to do.
Could you talk about getting a little better start today? Those first two Big Ten games you guys fell behind early. Brunner hit those two threes today.
Bru really came off right away and gave us a big spark. We got up to like 10-2 then we got up to about 15. We hit some bumps, but on the defensive end we did a great job. We didn't shoot the ball that well, but it just goes to show that our defense was out there tonight.
What was the difference between the last two games you played and this game?
Our hustle out there. Everybody was just fighting for a win. It was a team effort. There wasn't one guy coming off and doing their own thing. Seth Gorney came off the bench and gave us a huge pickup. We couldn't be anymore proud of him.
How much of a lift did Seth give you guys off the bench?
He did a great job tonight. The whole team is proud of what he did tonight just coming in and battling Hagan. He gives you a lot of moves. We tried to help him out a little bit, but Seth did a great job getting five rebounds.
Is it nice that maybe you've got a third big man that can come in?
Definitely. That's definitely a confidence booster for him. Erek and Doug were in foul trouble. Bringing a freshman in this type of environment, that's big for him.
What did you try to do on Grier?
I just tried to stay on top of his left hand and force him to shoot more jumpers than he probably wanted to and keep him out of the lane. My team did a great job talking to me and trapping at him a little bit.
You guys seemed to have more energy. Did you learn something in the two losses?
Definitely. Anybody can beat us. We've got to go in every game as a must win. We can't take anybody lightly. We've got win every game from here on our and go in with that same mentality.
How big was this game for you guys?
We said that is was a must win. We're looking at every game from here out as a must win. Coming back home, we tried to get more enthusiasm and have more fun. We showed that tonight. We didn't want to go 0-3.
It doesn't get much tougher than Illinois Thursday, does it?
It's going to be a tough road game for us. We've got the right group of guys with the right mindset where we can go down there and pull one off.