The pesky Roadrunners (2-1) were playful for the first 22:00 of the game, but Steve Alford had seen enough and threw down the gauntlet by substituting five players at the 17:48 mark in the second half. "I just felt we needed a boost," Alford said. "The first four minutes of each half are the most important of any game and we came out flat in both. The bench guys came in a gave us a boost of energy and it funneled down to the rest of the players." Iowa's defense began to take control as it went on a 15-4 run in the next 4:00 stretch, led by six points from Adam Haluska and five from reserve Alex Thompson.
"Coach knew what was best for us. We needed to rebound better and be more physical. It worked," Haluska stated. Haluska led four Hawkeyes in double figures with 15 points. Greg Brunner chipped in 14, Jeff Horner had 13, and Thompson popped in 11. It was the first game Thompson scored in double digits in his very short career. "I am just getting more minutes, so I am more comfortable in the offense." Thompson claimed. "I have always felt comfortable shooting the ball. Today, I was just in good position to do it."
Senior center Erek Hansen added 8 points, four rebounds, and committed only one foul in 20 minutes of play.
With the win, the Hawkeyes head into an ACC-Big Ten match up against North Carolina State (4-0, with a game versus Notre Dame this evening). "They are a solid team, with or without (Julius) Hodge," Alford said. "If they win today against Notre Dame, they will come in here 5-0 and ranked in the top 25. We have got to be ready to go."
The Hawkeyes will take Sunday off before practicing on Monday to prepare for the Wolfpack. But they will take today's win and run with it as well. "Anytime you win it is good. We limited our turnovers and played good physical defense. We are going to live and die defensively this season. We want to hold every team under 65." Brunner said. UT-San Antonio struggled offensively committing 23 turnovers and shooting just 36 percent. Additionally, Iowa went to the free-throw line 31 times compared to five for the Roadrunners.
Tip-off with NC State is scheduled for 8:30 pm at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. It will be televised nationally by ESPN2.
"Today we came out a little stagnant, lacking a sense of urgency or throwing the first punch sort of mindset. It put us in a spot where they were even with us, but we pulled away. But with teams like NC State and others coming up, we have got to come out quick."
(On the wholesale substitution with only 2:13 elapsed from the 2nd half clock) "He just wanted to get five guys in there and get the energy level up. Obviously, we weren't doing our part so it worked. It did the job, those guys came in a gave us the spark (we needed) offensively and defensively, it worked.
(On his performance today) "It was one of my better games. I have always had the three ball in my game, I just never felt comfortable with shooting it. It just takes time to get ready and get your feet set.
"The more playing time you get the better you feel. It is just a learning process." (On where he feels his part on the team is)
(On his knee injury, and Horner's injury) "Yeah, we are OK. It is just old age, ya know. I remember getting hit when we were freshman you just get up and it doesn't bother you. But now you just age a bit more, so you feel it more."
(On the mass substitution in the 2nd half) "He took us out because he was disappointed in our energy. I think we turned the ball over three times in our first eight possessions. He just yanked us and put the other guys in to jump start us. They did a good job and exactly what they were supposed to do."
-- There was a paid attendance listed at 9,683. I would estimate only about 5,000-6,000 were actually in the house today. Turkey leg overload, I guess.
-- The loudest ovation of the game came at the 4:47 mark of the second half. That is when Erek Hansen recorded his first and only foul of the game. I guess the crowd pays attention to the stat sheets.
-- Greg Brunner was honored before the game for being part of the gold medal USA team in the World University Games this summer in Turkey. Jeff Horner almost made that team...he was the last player cut. The player kept: Patrick Sparks from Kentucky.
-- Evidently the days of the band playing Michael Myers' favorite theme song from the Halloween movies is over. Although the stereo in the arena had a recording and it was using pre-tip, it just was not the same. Plus, the music for the pre-game and the starting lineups is in limbo. Adam Haluska said that Iowa Associate Head Coach Craig Neal will be the new deejay. "He has great taste in music. I am excited to hear it for the NC State game."
-- Speaking of Coach Neal, good ole ‘Noodles' came out sporting his Miami Vice look today. He did not wear a tie and was rolling on the sidelines with a pink oxford shirt with the top two buttons undone. "I liked it and give him credit for trying it out. I give him credit, he pulled it off out there," Brunner noticed. Haluska had a similar take on the situation. "It looked good. I came out pre-game and said, ‘Coach, I like the pink.' It was lookin' real nice."
-- If NC State wins this evening they will more than likely be in next week's top 25 poll. That would mean Iowa will have played three of its first six games versus top 25 teams - something it did last year as well (Louisville, Texas, and North Carolina).
-- The Iowa State football score was announced one time, but received rave reviews from the Hawkeye faithful. Who says all Hawk fans are anti-Clone?