Iowa-Purdue: Notes and Quotes

Hawkeye power forward Greg Brunner recorded his fourth straight double-double Saturday to lead his team to a 71-57 victory against Purdue at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Before thumping Gene Keady's Boilers, Iowa presented the retiring coach a gift. Find out what he received, get other notes from the game and read what Brunner, Coach Steve Alford, Jeff Horner and Doug Thomas said after the game.


-The University of Iowa athletic department and head coach Steve Alford honored Purdue Coach Gene Keady with a three-day, two-night trip golfing trip to Las Vegas in a pregame ceremony.

Keady, in his 25th season with the Boilermakers, will step down after this season. The former Pittsburgh Steeler is 505-250 at Purdue.

-Coach Alford sent starters Pierre Pierce, Adam Haluska, Greg Brunner, Jeff Horner and Erek Hansen to the bench for rest within the first seven minutes Saturday. Iowa had a short turn around after playing into overtime at Illinois on Thursday. Purdue hadn't played since Tuesday at Michigan State.

-Iowa Head Football Coach Kirk Ferentz received a standing ovation when he entered the arena to join the recruits during a media timeout with 11:29 left in the first half.

-Purdue brought a student section of about 40-50 people that sat together. Last week, Minnesota students formed the same section. Attendance was down Saturday with poor weather in the area.

-Mike Henderson played some very productive minutes in the opening half. His highlight came when he stripped Xavier Price at midcourt and delivered an assist to Doug Thomas, who slammed it home. Thomas threw down five dunks in the first 20 minutes.

-The play of the first half came when Horner stole the ball and passed it to Carlton Reed who crafted a behind-the-back pass to Thomas for the flush.

-Tip-Ins: Purdue only had scored 10 points in the first 17:07 of the game…The Hawkeyes improved to 11-0 when leading at the half…Iowa enjoyed its largest halftime lead of the season at 40-20. It had led Western Illinois and Drake by 17 at the break…Greg Brunner recorded his fourth double-double (14 points, 11 rebounds) in the row and eighth of the season…Thomas matched his career high in scoring with 14 points. He also yanked down 9 board...Pierce's eight points represented his lowest total of the season and the first time he failed to reach double figures. He had eight assists and two turnovers.



Steve Alford

Opening Statement: Well, I'm really pleased for our basketball team. It was a very difficult turnaround to play the team we had to play in the road on Thursday and go to overtime and then turn around and play a Coach Keady team.

I've got so much respect for Coach, and his teams fight like crazy. They had two days extra rest. This was a big concern for us. And you've got to hold serve at home, especially as we get into the thick of the Big Ten season.

What a time for our bench to come through - 21 points, seven assists, no turnovers. They get four or five steals. Our bench gave us an awful lot of energy. We went to it early, and they were ready to play. That was a big key for us.


Did you do that because the guys has played so many minutes at Illinois or because you wanted to see how they'd respond?

A little of both, but Pierre plays 45 minutes less than 48 hours ago. We knew we had to get him some rest early. It was going to be hard for him to play the minutes he's accustomed to. yet, Pierre is the same Pierre.

He just finds a way to get to you. It wasn't his offense as far as his scoring tonight. he gets eight assists to two turnovers. I talked to him about how well he played against Illinois and how well he's been playing. I just said you've just got to control the turnovers. And he just does that.

Now he's 8-2 turnover ratio and he holds Teague. Teague has got five points with four minutes to go when the game is basically out of hand. You can't let a Teague come in here and get a 20-point night. Pierre really starts our offense and defense and he did it again tonight.

Doug Thomas had a dunking show.

Yeah. It's good to see Doug get that energy back, and all the guys. We've had one bad week. These guys have played at a high level expect for one week.

We've got to hope we stay away from those weeks now. They seem to have their step back. They've got their energy back. They're back in classes now, so they're in a routine. I'm just how they responded in a very short time against a very hard-nosed team.

So, Doug was a big part of that. Doug did what he's good at - run, jump, guard and rebound. Those are the things he got to doing tonight.

He looks like he adds a lot playing that position. Does that make you contemplate a change in the starting lineup?

No. Not yet. Erek wasn't a thriller on the backboards again tonight. But he gets his three blocks. He changes shots. And Erek is starting to get his flow back. I look down our (roster), I don't think anybody played poorly.

Our team as a whole, you don't ever like losing, but they brought a lot of confidence back (from Illinois). We had that when we left Maui. We had a swagger to us because we had just beaten Louisville and Texas and played with North Carolina. They left that island saying, hey we can play with anybody.

Then, a lot of home games, Christmas break and they got a little bit too confident and they got rocked a little bit. That Illnois game was good for us to get some confidence going. Hopefully we can build some momentum out of it.

How about Greg Brunner, every night now 14, 16 points and 10, 11 rebounds?

Well, Bru is a hard worker. He took a personal challenge to Landy, who is a tough matchup. He's a very talented kid. This was a tough week on Bru playing Landry and Powell from Illinois, two very good power forwards in our league. And he gets a double-double both nights.

He had balanced rebounds. It wasn't just 11 boards. He had five offensive. He made some big, key shots for us. Bru had a very good week as well.

You went to a zone about halfway through the second half and that really stagnated their offense. But your offense kind of looked a little stagnant.

Well, they brought in three big three guys, one of which is the tight end from the football team. It was hard matchup. I didn't want Jeff guarding a 6-9 kid. We just ended up going zone. They got in serious foul trouble. We did a good job of going at Teague and getting him in foul trouble.

They ended up going big, which affects their offense. We decided to sit back in a zone and see if any of those bigs were going to come out and shoot the ball. It also ate some clock. And then when they zoned us with that lineup, Carlton gets his three, Adam gets his three, Jeff gets his three. We attacked their zone pretty good.

With as much respect as you have for Coach Keady is it somewhat disappointing to see him going out with a team that's not one of his stronger units?

We hope they can catch fire here for about three weeks before we have to go in there. But they still fight you.

I do have the ultimate respect for Coach Keady. Growing up in the state of Indiana, it was Coach Keady and Coach Knight. They ran the state. They got all of the commercials. That's all you watched on TV.

The way that their teams competed was always a fun environment. It's been fun playing against his teams. I told him before the game that I've learned so much watching his teams on tape and competing against him.

It's amazing to think that he's been at the same place for 25 years. More than anything before the game, I told him how much I appreciated what he's done for the game and how much he's helped me.


Jeff Horner

What were the legs like today coming back off that short turnaround from Illinois?

It was kind of weird because they felt pretty good. You go to overtime and you play that minutes, you expect a tough turnaround.

We just came out with a lot of fire and played really well today.

You guys scored on 13 straight possessions at the end of the first half into the beginning of the second. What was the offense doing well?

It started with our defense. We were getting stops. Then, we'd get the rebound and start running. It was awesome.

Carlton Reed came in and he had four assists and no turnovers in the first half. Doug Thomas came in and ignited us and got a lot of dunks out there. That's what we need those guys to do.

The bench came in and did a great job. That's why the offense was so good in the first half.

What happened on that play when you stole the ball, fed it to Carlton and Doug finished it with the dunk?

They set a ball screen. I was supposed to rotate up. I knew that Ford was going to throw it to the wing. I just got a hand in the passing lane and saved it to Carlton. Carlton threw it behind the back and Doug did what he does best, and that's dunk it.


Greg Brunner

This was a good performance.

Very much so, especially our bench. Our bench won us this game. They came out and they performed very well.

At halftime, Carlton had four assists, no turnovers, a couple points. Doug at 12 at halftime. I mean, that's stuff that we need for the rest of the Big Ten season.

Coach Keady was gushing about you after the game. He called you a throwback. What do you think about that?

That's the greatest honor. He's been here a long time. I have all the respect in the world for that guy. I would love to play under him. He's a great coach, and I'm taking that to heart. If he thinks I'm a great player, I really appreciate that. He's a great coach. I grew up watching him. I wish him the best of luck with everything he does.

How do you get it done in there? You're 6-7 or whatever, and you're going up against these monsters.

I don't know. I don't really have an answer for it. Two inches isn't anything. What's that going to do?

It's just how quick you get off the floor. It's all about positioning. I've worked really hard figuring out ways that I can get around people, and the coaching staff does a great job with helping me out.

The way you throw your body around, what do you feel like when you wake up in the morning?

Honestly, I don't know how I'm going to be able to walk when I'm 30. It's hard in the morning to get around. But that's just all part of it. That's my role, and I'm willing to play it. If I'm going to do anything after college, I guess that's my staple.

Was there any hangover from Illinois?

It was just a tough loss. They're a great program. We should have won that game. But hey, we didn't. We're just taking it in stride. We're 2-1 in our new season. We lost those two at the beginning of the year and we're just kind of putting those behind us. It's a 14-game season now.


Doug Thomas

Is that some kind of record, five dunks in a half?

In high school, I had 12 dunks in the first half. But to do it on the Division I level, that's a big thing. I know it's a big energy boost to my team. I'm just trying to give a spark to my team as I did tonight.

Should you be starting?

I'm not really worried about starting. As long as I can come off the bench and give my team a spark like that every night, that's a good thing. Erek Hansen is doing a phenominal job being the leading shot blocker. And Brunner is a good player. I'm just there to back them up and give them a rest when they need it.

if I happen to get a chance in the starting lineup, I'd take it and do my best with it.

When (Carlton) whipped that behind-the-back pass to you, did you know what he was going to do?

I saw Jeff save the ball to Carlton. Carlton drove down court and looked back at me.

I thought his man was going to sink back onto me. His man stuck on Carlton, and I was having my eyes on Carlton the whole time. I could have stopped running and let Carlton go with it, but I just stayed right behind him. He got in trouble and kicked the ball back to me.

Were you surprised that he whipped it behind his back?

Ah nah, Carlton does that kind of stuff in practice. He's an on-point passer, so I wasn't worried about it. I saw him pass it, I caught it, and I finished.

Hawkeye Insider Top Stories