Can you talk about the play inside tonight? They're a real tall team. Simmons is their biggest inside guy. We knew from the start that we'd have to keep him from scoring on the inside while also keeping them from scoring from the outside. They're such great perimeter shooters. Today, for some reason, neither team could hit anything. It was all defense. We just had to get into everybody and rebound and try to run our offense even thought we couldn't get anything.
Was it great defense or really poor shooting? It was a little bit of both. I mean, when you've got players into you that much and contesting your shot, it's really hard to get a good shot. Both teams were in each other that much where it was really hard to get an open shot.
Your board play has improved a lot over the passed couple of years. Can you talk about that? Yeah. My coaches have been getting on me a lot about that. They've been telling me that some shots you can't get the blocks. So, instead of going after the block just go for the rebound. If you think you can get them out of your area, go get them. I've really been working on that.
What was it like out there? It was just a defensive battle. Offensively, it wasn't pretty, but our team just did a great job of battling. It was a full team effort. Everybody was just out there grinding it out. We came though in the end. The crowd was big time for us.
It seems like you feed off of the crowd as much as anybody. We all do, but I get excited, especially when we came out and saw that the Hawks' Nest was full. Carver-Hawkeye Arena was full. So, that really gets us going, and I hope they're excited, too.
Is this a game that maybe you wouldn't have won last year? I don't know about that. We might have. I just think our defense is so much better this year. Everybody is just really committed on that defensive end. Defense if going to win ballgames. It has already for us.
Can you talk about the play of your big guys? Erek and Bru and those guys, sometimes shots weren't falling for them offensively, but defensively, they were just battling. Erek got so many hands on a lot of balls just tipping them out and letting the guards go rebound for them. Our bigs did a tremendous job. Are you guys concerned about your shooting? Shooting wise, I don't think we have anything to worry about. They're a great defensive team. I think six out of eight years, they've led the ACC defensively. It's a tribute to them. Offensively, we just have to settle down. We've got good shooters, and we'll be back.
THOMAS INJURED: An NC State player kicked the forward in the shin during the first half. The injury was wrapped in ice. Thomas tried to come back after the intermissio, but saw limited action. He played just 12 minutes.
Alford said his senior likely would be ready to go on Friday when the Hawkeyes open play in their tournament. Thomas seemed fine walking out of the arena.
HOT HERB: Sendeck went after officials following the final horn claiming his team had called a timeout before the clock hit zeros. The referees told the NC State coach that the Wolfpack was calling for timeout while the last missed 3-pointer still was in the air.
STATISTICALLY SPEAKING: This may have been a very well played game defensively, but a lot of open looks were missed on both ends of the floor. And the numbers turned out pretty ugly.
The Hawkeyes shot 17 of 57 (29.8 percent) from the floor, while the visitors struggled to 17 of 50 (34.0 percent). The Wolfpack turned the ball over 24 times, and Iowa gave it away a season-high 19 times.
On 3-pointers, NC State shot 3 of 18 and the Hawkeyes put down just 2 of 12.
Iowa shot just 30.0 percent from the floor in the first half, while the Wolfpack netted just 33.3. NC State committed 12 first half turnovers to six assists, while the Hawkeyes ratio before the intermission was 6 assists to nine turnovers.
ROTATION: Thompson, Thomas and Freeman checked in for Henderson, Haluska and Hansen at about the 14:00 mark, representing the first substitutions of the night. Reed replaced Brunner about a minute later, leaving the Hawks with a small lineup of Thompson, Thomas, Freeman, Horner and Reed. The Hawkeyes switched to 2-3 zone with that alignment.
At the 11-minute mark, Henderson replaced Horner, who got his first rest of the evening.
TIP-INS: Iowa fans that arrived at Carver by halftime of the women's game on Wednesday night could buy admission to the men's game for the $7 a tickets charged to watch the ladies…ESPN analyst Rick Majerus complained about having to wait to use the bathroom in the tunnel. He said to other folks in line that the guy had been in the can for 20 minutes…Hawkeye receiver Calvin Davis took in the game from the stands…Hansen picked up his second foul with 7 ½ minutes remaining in the first half and sat until the break…Former Hawkeyes Jess Settles and Ryan Hogan sat behind the Iowa bench along with Matt Gatens.