Iowa-Wisconsin Postgame

Iowa dropped to 3-6 in Big Ten play after losing a 72-69 heartbreaker in Madison on Wednesday. Hawkeye Coach Steve Alford and point guard Jeff Horner discussed the tough defeat and looked ahead to Saturday's rematch with Northwestern on the Hawkeye Radio Network.

STEVE ALFORD

That was just a brutal, Big Ten, hard-fought matchup.

I can't be more pleased other than getting a win. This group just continues to fight. I really appreciate their effort.

This is another game where we come on the road against a team that's won 40 out of 41 games here and we turn the ball over six times. We did a great job with that. We rebounded well. We shot the ball better.

We just had a lull there in the first half there at the end and at the end of the second half that really cost us. The bottom line is that they shot 21 more free throws than we did. You can make all of your free throws and still not overcome that deficit.

The defensive intensity that you started this game with was impressive and then you're up tempo of running the ball up the court and then finding big Greg inside.

The guys just did a very good job of executing stuff. Bru had a big game. Alex and Jeff did a lot of good things.

We've got to have that X-factor. Somebody else had got to step up. We've had four guys that have done the brunt of our scoring and now it's three. We've got to have a fourth guy that can step up and get some points.

Outside of those three, we only got seven points. We've got to find some points other places. We've got to have big defensive efforts. We've got to have big rebounding efforts. It can't just be foul trouble.

We've dealt with foul trouble the last two games. Really, Michigan State and Wisconsin beat us because of the free throw line.

At the 12-minute mark, you guys were ahead 52-39. Can you remember back at what changed the game right there?

We went into a lull; having that other guy that could step up and make a play. The pressure Jeff feels that's he's got to make those plays. Some our young guys have to learn to do it, to take the risk; attempt to do something.

They're young. Hopefully we're going to do that. Mike is coming. We've just got to keep working on it.

You had to be happy to see the old Jeff come back. The steal on the loose ball was play unlike we've ever seen before.

I've been in college basketball 14 years or whatever it's been, and I haven't seen a more impressive play than that loose ball recovery. I wanted to call timeout and just run out and hug him. Those are things that are impossible to do.

He's a phenominal player that way. That's something that's odd, a guy like that that can play 40 minutes and never shoot a free throw playing as hard as he plays is still amazing to me.

And then Taylor for Wisconsin, he gets to the line 10 times. That's hard to figure out because I know how hard Jeff works. And I'm amazed he just doesn't get to the free throw line.

Can you talk about Saturday's rematch with Northwestern?

This is a big game. We've lost three in a row to Northwestern, and as I told our guys, it's got to end.

This is a big home game. The pressure is on us. We need a bif fan following. I want it to be loud and gold. These kids deserve it. They're busting their tales through some difficult times again. And this is a must win. We need to get this win before we go back on the road to Purdue.

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JEFF HORNER

This was a hard-fought, physical Big Ten basketball game.

Yeah it was. They never quite. That's the reason that they gave it to us at the end there. They just kept playing ball.

You guys were ahead 52-39 at the 12-minute mark. What happened from that point forward?

We missed a couple of free throws. If we make our free throws, we're right back in the ballgame.

It was just tough to take a loss like that. We're up 13 and we don't make our free throws to pull ahead even farther. They didn't miss free throws down the stretch. That was a big key.

It looked like your game came back and that 3-point shot was automatic tonight.

It felt pretty good out there, but then they started tightening things up. We just have to have everybody step up. Mike Henderson and Carlton, they've got to start stepping up and hitting jump shots or start taking their man down and playing good defense.

We've just got to find ways to pick them up. We'll be alright.

Could you talk about the seven remaining Big Ten games? What's your goal?

I'd like to get to at least 9-7. That's a very realistic goal. It's going to be a very tough road because Illinois is still in that mix. You go to Minnesota. You go to Purdue. You got to Penn State. Northwestern at home. It's not going to be easy, but we just have to stick together.

We just can't take this effort and say, hey, we were three points from Wisconsin and not give give a good effort on Saturday. Northwestern will come in ready to play.

We're definitely going to be ready for that one. We felt like we let a lot of people down after (the game at Northwestern). We have to have that in the back of our minds all game.


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