WELCOME HOME: Dr. Tom Davis returned to Carver-Hawkeye Arena for the second time since becoming the Drake head coach. Davis won more games (269-140) than any other coach in the history of the Iowa program, when he led the Hawkeyes from 1987-99. Davis' teams reached the NCAA Tournament 11 times in his 13 years.
Davis received a standing ovation when he walked onto the floor. He received a larger round of applause than did Iowa Coach Steve Alford when each was announced before the game.
Former Iowa AD Bump Elliott visited with Davis outside of the visitors' locker room. The postgame handshake between Alford and Davis was short. The Iowa coach looked relieved and the Drake coach appeared pretty mad his team let one get away.
SIDELINED: Iowa PG Jeff Horner watched the game from the bench in street clothes. The senior missed his third straight game after sustaining an injury to a knee ligament against UNI.
Alford said on Monday that Horner was listed as doubtful for this week's game. His likely return seemed to be set for Dec. 30 at Saint Louis.
EARLY HOOK: Alford pulled freshman point guard Tony Freeman about a minute into the game after he took a poor shot and then turned the ball over in his first attempt against the Drake press. Carlton Reed checked in as Mike Henderson's back court running mate. Freeman returned at the 10:54 mark of the first half and knocked down a 3-pointer :20 after being reinserted.
Hawkeye center Erek Hansen got the quick hook later in the first half after turning it over in the post and then shortly after committing another giveaway by setting an illegal screen. The miscues occurred on consecutive Iowa possessions.
Doug Thomas replaced Hansen and played well. He picked up his second foul late in the half, which was a questionable call. Hansen played six minutes in the first half to Thomas's 12.
COMEBACK KID: Adam Haluska missed all five of his trey attempts in the first half then missed his first try after the intermission. The junior knocked down No. 7, but then became hesitant. He passed up a wide open 3 minutes later, and Iowa ended committing a shot clock violation. Alford screamed at Haluska to shoot the ball before replacing him with Reed. When Haluska went back in he missed his next two tries before connecting on two huge treys in the final minute.
Haluska missed nine of his first 10 three attempts before knocking down his last two tries.
TIP-INS: Former Hawkeyes' Duez Henderson and Jason Price sat behind the Iowa bench. They were recruited to Iowa by Davis…Drake shot out to an 11-2 lead before the Hawkeyes fought back. Iowa took its first lead when Greg Brunner converted a conventional 3-point play with 9:30 left in the first half to give his team a 16-14 lead…Iowa shot 2 for 13 from 3-point line in the first half. …Brunner scored eight points and grabbed nine boards…The crowd was announced at 9.732 but was more in the range of 7,000…Former Iowa Tight End Marv Cook was at the game.
Opening Statement: We really thought we'd have a fight, and we definitely got a fight. This is a very good Drake team. With us being down (without Horner), we've got some guys playing some new roles. The thing that pleases me the most is that we're down one going into that last four-minute game with all of the pressure on us, and we had some guys that maybe hadn't made some plays that had to step up and makes plays. Adam had a really poor shooting night and he makes two huge threes. He hadn't made a play all night offensively, and he makes two huge baskets. Doug making a free throw, who hadn't shot the free throw very well. What Doug did off of the bench with Erek not playing well. Carlton Reed came in and really gave us good solid minutes. This is the type of team that's going to really give us some trouble when Jeff is out because Jeff stabilizes us. Jeff understands the poise and understands the ball direction against the press. All in all, we might have had three or four more turnovers than what I'd like, but we did some good things. We got good shots, and we had to, our defensive stops were really good. It was another team held under 40 percent shooting and under 60 points. It was a hard-fought win. Coach Davis' kids made a heck of an effort. Both teams really played hard. We're fortunate to get a win.
Where those set plays with Adam?
They're just part of our zone offense. And to be honest with you, they were things that we had been doing all day and shots that he'd been getting. That's a credit to Adam. When you've had a game where you haven't made any shots, and Adam hadn't made any shots, to come up with…that's the most pressure he's been under. Hopefully he can do a good job of understanding the importance of that. He can do it. That's the pleasing thing. It was not a good game for him. Yet, the last four minutes, he was the key.
Do you think at some point he turned down shots?
Oh yeah, there no question he turned down some shots. The whole arena heard me tell him to shoot the ball. But you get hesitant. As I told him, you're a shot maker. You don't worry about taking shots. Shot makers keep shooting. With where we're at right now, he's got to keep taking shots. They box-and-oned him a little bit. They chased him through a little bit. It's a great credit to him that he can make shots down the stretch.
You got some good minutes from Doug Thomas.
I thought Doug was a key. Other than Erek's blocks to start the second half, Erek never got in rhythm. Erek had a tough practice week. For two days he hadn't practiced well, and it kind of carried over to the game. He's got to shake it off. He's got to bounce back Thursday. When that happens, we have to have guys like Doug and Seth step it up, and Doug was real good. Carlton had some big, key minutes for us as well.
You pulled Tony Freeman out quickly. Do you think he responded well to that?
After he got the message of not being ready to play, he bounced back and his minutes after that were pretty good. This is a hard game for him. It's different than the Iowa State press. This is more all out. I just didn't think that he understood cutting. In high school and junior high, you can stand and hold your arm out and they can throw the ball to you and you can get it. You can't do that at this level. You've got to cut. We'll watch some tape with him. It will be a good learning process for him.
Can you talk about Henderson? He seemed like a guy that you did put your faith in.
All of our faith went in Mike. He plays 37 minutes. He played Jeff Horner minutes tonight and he got 12 (points), eight (rebounds) and four (assists). There may not have been anybody more important to us tonight than what Mikey did. He only turned it over three times. He did a pretty nice job defensively. Mike did a lot of good things for us.
Toward the end of the game when the lead fluctuated, it looked like only Brunner wanted to take a shot. What happened to Adam where he decided that he was going to have to take the shot?
That's probably a good question for Adam. I don't know. We kept telling him to shoot it. We want him to shoot the basketball. When you're shooting 2 for 10, you're probably not sitting out there saying, "Boy, I hope I get another one." Coach Neal even said to me, "Look, Adam is hiding." So, I'm up yelling for him to shoot. But that's part of the game that really becomes a difficult hurdle. When you're a really good shooter like he is and you haven't shot the ball well and the pressure is on you to make shots, it's a great credit to him that he could step up and make the shots.
With all of the talk of Tom being back, does this win mean anything more?
No. Not really other than it's our ninth win and we want to keep it going and we haven't lost at home. They frustrated us. They did some good things, yet I'm very pleased that we were able to grind that out. We could have easily lost it. That's going to be pivotal. Full-game wise, we're 2-1 with Jeff out. If we can keep learning and keep getting better, Mike getting these minutes, Tony getting these minutes, Carlton getting back into the rhythm, Doug now playing at a high level again, once we get Jeff back we'll be a better basketball team for that. So, if we can win while he's out, that will help. But seeing Coach Davis come back is like I said before, I'm in his position now with the program that he helped create and build and continued what others before him had done. I appreciate that opportunity and I very much appreciate what he did and how he did it. You never enjoy beating individuals like that. He's got a terrific team and the Valley looks like it's a lot like the Big Ten. The Valley is going to be a lot of fun to watch. There are a lot of good teams in the Valley, and Drake is one of those.