Thompson started for the second time this season. He also got the call against Indiana.
For the game, Thompson played 27 minutes (previous high was 16), tallying five points, two assists, three rebounds and two blocks.
Thomas Trouble:Hawkeye junior Doug Thomas was benched for the entire game. The power forward normally has played the role of sixth man this season and was averaging 17.7 minutes a game.
Thomas appeared physically able to perform while warming up before each half. Coach Alford said the decision to sit Thomas was his and that the junior had fallen to fifth on the big man depth chart.
Please refer to quotes section of the package for Coach Alford's comments on the decision.
Heroes Welcome: At halftime, Iowa honored its football team for its victory in the Capitol One Bowl. In attendance were Antwan Allen, Jonathan Babineaux, Tony Jackson, Chad Greenway, Ed Hinkel, Abdul Hodge, Jovon Johnson, Mike Jones, Kyle Schlicher, Clinton Solomon, Drew Tate, Warren Holloway and head coach Kirk Ferentz.
The public address announcer asked for applause to be held until after all players were introduced. It didn't work.
The place erupted when Tate was introduced and exploded when Holloway came onto the court. They played the final play of the Cap One on the big screen with the audio of the call from Gary Dolphin and Ed Podolak.
Tip-Ins: Northwestern guard Michael Jenkins was soundly booed in pre-game introductions. The senior from California hit the game-winning 3-pointer against Iowa earlier this season in Evanston…Four females in the section reserved for the family of Iowa player wore T-Shirts that spelled out B-i-g-E for Hansen…Walk-on Jack Brownlee saw his first action of the Big Ten season for Iowa. The senior from Fort Dodge entered the game midway through the first half for his first minutes since Texas Tech on Dec. 21…Former Hawkeye and New England Patriots star Andre Tippett attended the game…Iowa honored its Big Ten Champion field hockey team…Seth Gorney grabbed three rebounds in three first-half minutes…The Wildcats began the second half on a 9-0 run. Mike Henderson stopped the surge with a pair of pull-up jumpers. Iowa responded with a 13-2 spurt.
Opening Statement: This was obviously a big win. It was even a bigger day because my daughter won her first dance competition. She gets a lot of that rhythm from her father. (Laughter).
But it was a lot of pressure on this game and we've got a lot of young kids. That was our concern. And we've really tried to ease some of that pressure from them, yet still stay disciplined to where they've got to know what they've got to do. And that's sometimes a tricky balance.
But they knew this was a must win. We were a little bit uptight to start the game and start the second half. And those have usually been two areas we've really been good at. But in the meat of the game from them on we really did a lot of good things.
Mikey finally relaxed and did some good things for us. Adam was terrific start to finish. Bru was as good as he's been in the first half. He probably got a little bit tired in the second half having to battle Vukusic. But he did a very good job on Vukusic.
So, this was a need win for us. We were able to get it, and now we've got a big week next week.
When was the last time you saw like Adam had tonight?
Adam is getting better. He's filled in the gaps very well. He's a potent player.
He used to have big time hops (Haluska slipped and missed a dunk attempt). Somewhere in the second half, those left him. (laughter)
He is a very athletic kid. He rebounds well. He's a very good defender. And he's starting to gain some momentum and some confidence. We're going to need him down the stretch because he's becoming one of those go-to guys.
You put the heat on your players by saying this was a must win game.
I had to make absolutely sure that they understood that. I've learned that you just can't assume anything thing in this business.
I told them that it was part of college athletics. You've got to learn to deal with pressure. Our young guys have got to grow up quick.
Alex is starting to do a lot of good things for us. Mikey is very good off of the dribble. He wasn't afraid to take the shot. He takes a career-high 10 shots tonight.
Those are things we have to have these young guys do. We needed to challenge them. We saw an awful lot of pressure from Northwestern being up 13 with three minutes to go at their place and we folded.
That's the one thing that we said at halftime, we're up 13 with 20 to go now. They is plenty of time for them. I didn't mean for them to cut it to (four) in four minutes. But our guys did a nice job from there building it back.
What's Doug Thomas' status?
We've been struggling with that position. We went with Alex. Alex gave us some good minutes. We went with Erek, and then we've been talking about that maybe it hasn't been fair enough to Seth.
Seth has been working his tail off in practice. We wanted to give him a chance. And Seth played awfully well.
So, now it becomes you just keep rotating down. Now it's all on Doug. He's got to prove in practice that he warrants those minutes.
I guess we'll see in the next couple of days if he can take some of those minutes away because I was very impressed with what Seth did.
Erek got in foul trouble again. He just can't get himself into rhythm. We got to just keep working with him because he's going to be a vital part of this before it's over with.
Is it fair to say that Doug didn't practice particularly well these last two days?
When you look at our bigs' situation, it's hard for me to play five bigs. We've just kind of been up in the air on what big to play.
One day it's this big that does well. The next time it's this big that does well. And Seth just keeps being that odd guy out that's never got a shot.
I said, you know what, going into this game...And it wasn't a great matchup for Seth because they really don't have a true center. But we wanted to see what Seth could do in the first half and he played well.
In playing well, he got the opportunity again in the second half.
Mike looked like he had his jumper there tonight.
He got off to a slow start and picked his dribble up a little bit. That's what young players do under pressure. Then he relaxed and figured out how he could beat people.
He's very good off the dribble. He did a nice job defensively. More than what Mike was able to do offensively was he holds Parker to two points. It's really hard for Northwestern to win if Vukusic and Parker don't score.
What did you see out of Brownlee that made you want to put him in?
He's been practicing very well and he's a senior. We're so young in all the other places. Putting that senior in there could maybe calm us a little bit.
Jack did a nice job. He never hurts us. He doesn't turn the ball over. He really guards and tries to work things. That was a key six minutes.
We're going to need that to try to get Jeff some rest.
Was this your best game as a Hawkeye?
I don't know. Maybe all-around. I really came out tonight and tried to rebound and get as many assists as I could and just do the little things.
This team really came out tonight and played with some urgency. It was a great team win.
Is there kind of a monkey-off-the-back feeling now that you guys got a win without Pierre?
I think so. It was a big win. Northwestern is playing well. We had lost to them three-straight times.
At times they came back. But we were resilient and did whatever it took to win.
You used the word urgency twice now. What do you mean by that?
We've got to get wins. We've got to keep playing hard and do whatever it takes to get into that tournament. The more wins the better off we are.
You've really taken it to the basket a lot lately. Is that something that you've always had in your game and you're doing a little bit more with Pierre gone now?
Pierre was out slasher. He really opened up a lot for Jeff and I on the perimeter.
Now, we need that slasher. I'm just trying to fill the role.
How did it feel out there tonight? Did you get the monkey off your back having lost to Northwestern the way that you guys did earlier this season?
It's definitely a good thing that we came out here and got a victory. That's been a team that's kind of been a thorn in our side. They kept us out the NCAA last year.
That's a good team. To get a win on them makes us feel like we're really getting something started.
Are you starting to feel more comfortable out there?
There's still a couple of things I've got to work on; picking up my dribble and turning the ball over. But I'm still young to the system. I'm still learning things. I'm more comfortable than I was.
After halftime, they cut it down to four. What were you guys thinking at that point?
When we played at their place, we were up by 13 and they came back in the last two minutes. Coach got on us being up 13 and we didn't take anything for granted. We came back out and played tough defense and the shots started falling for us.