Iowa-Michigan Postgame

Stars Jeff Horner, Greg Brunner and Adam Haluska have made major contributions in Iowa's three game winning streak. But role players like Mike Henderson and Doug Thomas have helped put the Hawks over the top. Read what they said after Saturday's win at Michigan along with the thoughts of head coach Steve Alford.

Steve Alford

Steve, You finally got an overtime victory.

These kids have really fought. You look at Illinois, Northwestern. Wisconsin wasn't an overtime game, but it was one possession. If two of those just bounce our way, it's been a phenomenal year.

I'm really pleased with the kids. We lost an outstanding player nine games ago, and now we're 4-5. We're one game away from being 5-5 after losing the leading scorer. And that speaks volumes for what these kids have really battled through.

Doug Thomas was phenomenal on the boards. It's something you talked about in practice yesterday.

We did. When you go on the road, you want to shoot more free throws than your opponent. We were able to do that. Bru gets there 15 times.

Doug has two huge putbacks in the second half hitting the offensive glass. He did a nice job on the defensive glass. He's not feeling well, so I appreciate his effort today.

It looked like you found a weakness with Graham Brown trying to guard Greg Brunner.

It was good to see Bru get back to doing that. He stepped it up, especially in the second half, and really went at him. He got his confidence going. We did a good job of finding him.

As I told Jeff, it was a game where his shot didn't go but he did the other things. He found a way to get the ball in the right place at the right time. He took good shots. Some days it doesn't go, but if you can still quarterback a win, you've done you job.

Adam Haluska came up big once again for you guys.

He did. He got off to a really slow start. For whatever reason, I didn't think Adam was really into what we were doing in the beginning.

To his credit, he turned around a bad first half and did a lot of good things in the second half that really helped us.

Mike Henderson had a career-high five steals. His defense was tremendous.

Adam got in foul trouble. That really puts us in the tough bind. Mike really did a nice job of wearing Harris down. Harris ends up getting 25 points, but he shot 25 times and turned it over five or six times. Mike was the difference there in the second half.

How about the play of Jack Brownlee?

He makes a huge three to end the first half. And he makes a big time recovery (on Iowa's last offensive possession). We had no timeouts. We had to get that ball in. They're very athletic. That's a tough inbounds play to make. Jack comes up with a huge recovery and then pass full length of the court to let that clock keep ticking.

You end up 4-4 your last eight in the Big Ten; a three-game winning streak. You hadn't done that since you started a season three seasons ago. The kids have to feel awfully good inside that locker room.

I'm very proud of them because I know what they've been through and I know the efforts that have gone into this. They have fought like crazy, and now they've got over the hump. They won a big game on the road where we dominated Penn State, and now we've won two consecutive last possession games. We haven't done that much this year.

It's a great credit to them. They're the ones that have to make the plays, and they made them tonight. Now, we've got a little momentum going into the Big Ten Tournament.

You could possibly be the sixth seed in the Big Ten Tournament. That's the route you had in 2001.

That's what we're hoping for, not that we're rooting any way. It would be great of we could get the sixth seed just from the standpoint that our guys have been there. Not so much these guys, but our program has been there to where we can use that as coaching.

We've been here before. We've been the sixth seed. We've won four games in four days. Let's go throw it out and see what happens.

You're sitting there at 19 wins. One more gets you to 20. I think that's a phenomenal job by you and your staff this season under a lot of adversity.

Well, I appreciate it Bobby. But as you know, we've all been players. It's the players that deserve the credit.

When we lost Pierre, it could have all gone downhill from there. These guys have just said, "You know what? We're good. This is a good basketball team. We're going to keep battling."

I appreciate the players' jobs during adversity. I was a player once. I understand when bad things happen, you can really go either way. I appreciate the avenue these kids have taken.

Mike Henderson

Mike, a career high five steals for you tonight. You're defense as great.

It was just kind of one of those things when we were in zone I just tried reading their plays and tried to see where their next pass was. I tried helping off when I was guarding their other point guard besides Harris. I was trying to dig in the post and help the post out a lot.

Can you talk about how important this game was and your mindset going into the overtime?

It was a big victory just from being so close in the other games and going into overtime and not closing out. We closed out. We had hard times executing at times, but for the most part we stuck together and we got a good team win.

Can you talk about the play of Doug Thomas?

He was huge. He was really active defensively. Those (Putback) plays were big time. Without those plays we might end up losing the game. They were possession that we needed to get a score out of, and he was right there to get the offensive rebound.

You guys did a nice job offensively of taking your time and finding Brunner.

For the free throws, I think the (Michigan Student) chants about Bru's hair got to him. (laughs) But he's our mustard inside. We've got to go to him. He always gets things done in there.

Can you talk about the three-game winning streak and having momentum on your side?

It was definitely big getting this win going into the tournament. We just have to be ready for Thursday.

A lot of pressure was put on you when Pierre Pierce left the team. You've responded big time.

I just try to come out and play my game and just try to contribute any way I can. I know that some nights the offense won't be there. I've just got to try to hold the rope with our team.

Doug Thomas

Doug, you came up with two huge offensive rebounds and putbacks in overtime when the Hawkeyes needed a little energy.

I just know I've got to be there and let my presence be felt. I was trying to just block my man out. Whoever shot the ball, when I saw it go up, I just happened to be in the right spot. Two straight times it came to the same exact spot. I saw Petway jump for it. I had to tip it out of his hand. I went up there with two, got it and put it back in. Anything I've got to do to get that ball, I'm going to try to get it.

Can you describe the mood in the locker room. Three straight wins for you guys and momentum going into the Big Ten Tournament.

It's not like we just won the championship. But everybody is just happy and encouraged. Ending the regular season with three wins is a big thing. We've got to go into the tournament with our heads high and can't take a break off of any possessions. We have to come out and play hard nosed; 40 minutes each night; take it one possession at a time; hopefully we come out on top.

It's been an up and down season for you. But it seems like you've worked through those difficulties and now you're a valuable part of the bench.

It took me a long time to get used to being in the Division I level. I played two years of junior college, but it's not the same intensity of the Division I level.

Coach Alford is a good coach. If he sees me not playing good, he's not going to play me until I show maturity. I feel I've matured a lot. Like that play in the Ohio State game. It was a big play.

If that would have happened in the earlier part of the season, I would have got in a hurry and just threw up some shot. My maturity level has gone up as a man off the court and on the court.


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