Postgame: Alford Hopes the Pressure is Off

HawkeyeNation.com basketball insider and Learfield Sports color commentator Bobby Hansen spoke with Steve Alford after the game. Here is the conversation, from the Hawkeye Radio Network.

Hansen: You had good defense in the first half, you hold them to 25 percent shooting but only have a one point lead at the break.

Alford: Yeah, I thought that was the concern at half. We shut them down…we really shut them down for most of the game as far as shooting it. We did a nice job of that, but when you give up 20 offensive rebounds, you are setting yourself up. For the most part, they had a 20 shot differential for most of the game. We caught them there late and made it about a 10 or 11 difference, but for most of the game they had 20 more shots on goal than we did, and you cannot overcome that. Giving up 20 offensive rebounds is unheard of. They really beat us up inside and I thought their guards did a good job of rebounding.

Hansen: Steve, a lot of those offensive rebounds came off of blocked shots where the ball went back to them, or we were not getting to the loose balls, which is what I thought was the story of the first half.

Alford: The effort was good; I didn't have any problems with the effort. But the focus on finishing the defensive stop, whether that was getting the loose ball or retrieving a blocked shot or a rebound…we just didn't do a good job of that.

Hansen: Another problem was Brunner going to the bench with two fouls

Alford: I think they did a great job on Bru. I thought they frustrated him. I have to compliment their defense and their bigs. They made it difficult on him; they smothered him a lot and we did not have an answer for it. That is a great credit to their defense.

Hansen: You have to give credit to Aaron Robinson. When you were up by five, he stepped up and made a trio of three point shots.

Alford: That is what vets do. They have three really good seniors. Lawson did a great job defensively on our guards and I thought that Hagen and Robinson did well. Hagen gets 17 rebounds and then Robinson made most of his threes.

You knew that you had to win four in a row. This was going to be the tough one. You don't get it; what do you tell your team now?

Alford: Well, I think all of them are going to be difficult for us. We don't have much room for error and we have to play good basketball at both ends of the floor. We did not do that tonight. When that happens, you set yourself up for failure. We just have to bounce back and play a team on Saturday that believes they can beat us. It's going to be a very difficult contest for us, and we are going to have to play well. Hopefully some of the pressure will be off of some of these guys and they can relax and play. They have played with a lot of pressure on them for the last three weeks with some of the things that have transpired. Maybe they can relax and make some plays.

On positive note, you got some offense out of the post from Erek Hansen.

Alford: I thought Erek did some great things. I also liked what Alex Thompson did; I felt both of them were very active for us. We got a lot out of Adam at both ends. He is just keeping his mouth shut and playing, he is not complaining about things. You have to appreciate that type of effort.


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