STILL SMOKING: Adam Haluska knocked four of his first five 3-point attempt, continuing his hot shooting from the end of the Drake game Tuesday night. The junior missed nine of his first 10 treys attempts against the Bulldogs.
Haluska finished the night shooting 7 of 14 from the floor, including 4 for 7 from beyond the arc, for 18 points. He also pulled down nine boards and handed out four assists without a turnover.
DUNKING DOUG: Doug Thomas delivered a pair of rim-shakers midway through the second half. The first one came off of an alley-oop pass from Tony Freeman. On the previous set, Thomas yelled at Carlton Reed for not throwing him the ball on the exact same play.
Following his throw-down, Thomas stole the ball near the top of the key and went the rest of the way for a thunderous, two-handed flush that brought the crowd to its feet.
LOOSING IT: With just over eight minutes left in the first half, Iowa Coach Steve Alford jumped into Tony Freeman's face as the freshman left the floor. The point guard attempted to explain himself, which further infuriated the coach, who followed the player to his seat and continued hollering to the point of turning red.
The coach extended his screaming to the rest of the team before Associate Head Coach Craig Neal jumped in the huddle and played good cop. Iowa held a slim 6-point lead against what was supposed to be a severely overmatched Robert Morris team.
Freeman responded to the lashing by hitting three jumpers, including a three, toward the end of the first half as Iowa opened up its big lead it would not relinquish. He did get yelled at when he threw and errant lob to Doug Thomas on the fast break, and the coach calmly pulled the rookie to the side to diagram a mistake on the eraser board late in the game.
TIP-INS: Iowa held the Colonials scoreless for first three minutes of the game. Neither team registered a point in the first 120 seconds…Walk-on Justin Wieck from Iowa City played two minutes in the first half and 6 minutes in the game. The senior had seen just 11 minutes combined in three earlier games this season and had not played since Iowa State…Robert Morris Coach Mark Schmidt played for former Iowa Coach Tom Davis at Boston College ('85)…Iowa Recruit Matt Gatens watched the game from behind the Hawkeye bench…The crowd was announced at 9.985 but more likely fell into the 6,000-7,000 range…Robert Morris shot 25 percent from the floor in the opening half, including 4 of 15 from 3-point land…Hawkeye center Erek Hansen was pulled from the game early as he was Tuesday night against Drake. The senior was held scoreless in five first-half minutes. He returned to start the second half, scoring a basket, grabbing a rebound and blocking a shot in the first minute…Greg Brunner recorded his seventh double-double in a row with 15 points and 10 rebounds.
Opening Statement: This has really been a grind for the guys. I could really sense some weary legs. I appreciate their effort again defensively. It was another game where we controlled things defensively. To get through this stretch and have 10 wins, our guys have done a lot of positive things. As I told them in the locker room, be pleased with 10 wins, but understand how much work there is to get done. Enjoy you families for three days, and let's really get back and get to work because we've really still got a huge ceiling that we can grow in and get better in. But to go 3-1 during a stretch to have our quarterback out, I'm very appreciative of their efforts. Now, we'll take a 3-day break and resume things on Monday.
Do you think the Drake game kind of got Adam going again?
Well, only time will tell. He shot the ball very well. And Adam is still one of those guys that can grow in a lot of areas with his cutting. He's still got to learn how to get open. It's a work in process. He was much better today. It wasn't like he had 14 shots and they were all threes. There was a good balance. Other than getting to the free throw line, there was a good balance. We knew we had to have him rebound because they bring their bigs out and their bigs are really guards. It's really five guards. That brings Bru and Erek and Doug away. Our guards had to rebound tonight. Him getting nine rebounds really helped us.
Is Bru's back bothering him at all?
No, he got hit or something underneath is arm. I don't think it's his back. He got hit early in the game. It was affecting his breathing or something. I told him he could breathe a little easier if he was sitting next to us. (Laughter)
How close is Jeff to returning?
Real close. All indications are he'll be back for (the Saint Louis) game. And the way they're playing Gonzaga right now, a one-point game with eight minutes to go, we're going to need to get him back. That's a tough road game. They fight you, a very tough, physical team, very similar to what we're going to see in the Big Ten defensively. That will be a great match-up for us and great prep before we have to go to Madison. I would assume that Jeff will play.
How close is Doug to starting?
I don't know. A lot of people make big deals out of starting lineups. I'm just probably not one of them. Doug is playing really well right now to try to mess with that, Now, if we try to send a message to Erek, that would be fine. But Erek in the second half was really good. We can't forget about our personality and really who we are through 13 games at the defensive end. There's not a more key person to our defense than Erek Hansen. He had four blocks. I think he probably had more than that tonight. He had two or three on that one play. He changes things and he changes how people try to attack us having him back there. It was a game where Erek played 15 minutes and Doug played 19. Doug got more minutes. I don't think it's an issue of starting. It's an issue of just doing your role and doing what you're supposed to do.
Do you think he's more affective off of the bench?
He has been so far. We started him a few times last year, and it didn't work. It's not that we wouldn't do it again, but he does give us a spark off of the bench. He enables Bru to play along side Erek and then four minutes in, Bru gets to play along side a more athletic, explosive kid that's a shot blocker himself. I kind of like what's happening center wise. Erek did some good things. He didn't make all of his shots, obviously, but four block shots in a 15-minute period is pretty good.
You went to Justin (Wieck) fairly early. Was that to get some fresh legs in there?
Yeah. Those guards have had a lot thrown at them, especially Tony. Mike was really good, for the most part, again. Tony just has to sharpen up his carelessness with the ball at times. It's a learning process. That's why he's a freshman. But he's getting some really good minutes right now. Justin has worked awfully hard in practice. He comes in and gets four rebounds in six minutes. He did some pretty good things.
Why were you so upset with Tony in the first half?
Well, Tony gets to where he's gets to standing straight up and down with the basketball. For instance, the first pass of the game, we run a set to get a low-post touch and he throws it out of bounds because he doesn't get the right angle to make the post feed. We relieved him a little bit, put Mike at the point and then came back with him. When we came back with him, he was much better. He did move the ball. He got four assists in that time. I just like getting him off of the point because he can shoot it. And then I just thought he was back pedaling. It was kind of a different match-up than what we've had. It was almost like Fairfield again. We're basically playing against five guards and nobody in the post, for the most part. The dribble drive is what we had to focus on, and he was getting driven a little bit in transition. And then he responded. He's one of those guys I know you can get on, and he responds. He's a tough kid.