Quotes & Notes: Minnesota

The Golden Gophers almost pulled off the upset at Carver-Hawkeye Wednesday night, but a arena record 23 rebounds from Greg Brunner and a career-high 20 points from Erek Hansen were too much for the visitors to overcome. In this premium HN.com Quotes & Notes package, we have Coach Steve Alford's postgame press conference from the 76-72 win and also a rundown from courtside.

QUOTES

STEVE ALFORD

Opening Statement: What a stress-free profession. I couldn't be more pleased or happy for our guys. We talked about it the last five or six timeouts that we had that we had to win this thing with our defense. We go 1 for 20 from the 3-point line. The shot just would not drop again for us tonight. I knew we were playing a team that was going to play with a lot of urgency. They put four seniors in the starting line-up. Both teams just battled like crazy. We made enough of our free throws down the stretch, and we had some really key stops, not just in the third overtime, but we trailed in regulation, trailed in the first overtime and trailed in the second overtime. In any of those three times, we could have just made some really poor decisions. We didn't do that. The second overtime, in particular, down four, we did an incredible job of – score, stop, score – and then get another crucial stop. Three times in the game we had to get stops inside 15 seconds where they've got the last shot to win. That's very difficult regardless of where the game is played. There were a lot of great individual efforts tonight. Erek was tremendous. He played with four fouls for about an hour. (laughter) We kept telling Doug to be ready. I just didn't feel like we could sub at that time. He just did a phenomenal job. He changed a lot of shots. It had to be his career high in points (20). And then, what Bru did on the backboard was Herculean. He just really went after things.

Q&A

Bru said the play in the third overtime is a play you usually run to him but you switched it to Adam.

Yeah, we just inverted it and went with Adam. When you've played for 50 minutes, they've seen everything. So, we just inverted it and brought Adam to the post and let Bru be the screen. We got a lay-up and then ran it again and got a foul where Adam got two free throws out of it.

Your presence in the inside was important.

It really was. The Williams kid for them did a nice job. That was a nice game for a freshman with a lot of adversity going into that game. We did a great job on Stanfor. We never really let Tollackson get going. But if you compare just bigs to bigs, Erek and Bru were terrific.

You were cutting and getting fouled.

We did it late. That's encouraging. Neither team got to the foul line until late. That's when you're the most tired. Our cutting, our offensive execution, our screening was better later in the game than early, and that's kind of hard to figure. Usually you get to standing when you get tired.

Can you talk about Adam's defense on Grier?

He just fought all night. Adam's learning to play above that level to where he can expend that kind of energy at this end and still come down and be affective offensively. Vincent goes 5 for 17. That's a big key. He really did a good job. They have three senior guards and we made all three of them work for things.

Can you talk about how your guys have fought to win down the stretch the last two games?

That's important. We've got some seniors that are awfully good. We never talked during one timeout that we had played poorly or it's over. They do a good job in that huddle of being positive and knowing what they've got to do on the next play. We didn't make plays sometimes at key points, but then we did make plays at key points. In the third overtime, we scored a little bit. In the three overtimes, we gave up three, six and five. That meets our goals in all areas. To do that with (four) guys playing 50 plus minutes says a lot about the toughness of the guys.

NOTES

BIG E: Iowa Center Erek Hansen freed himself up for six early points all courtesy of highlight tape plays assisted by Jeff Horner. The first hoop came on a lay-up off of a lob pass. The second was an ally-oop dunk. The third was a backdoor bounce pass for a two-handed slam. The duo hooked up on another basket later in the half.

Hansen struggled at the outset of the second half, picking up two quick fouls that forced him to the bench with three personals at 18:21. The senior returned at about the nine-minute mark to score a couple of big baskets. He also scored the first basket of overtime and the first hoop in double overtime. He finished with a career-high 20 points. He previously scored 16 twice (UNI, ISU).

MINNY MIXING: The Gophers switched up their defenses throughout Wednesday's game. They employed a man-to-man alignment and worked in a 2-3 halfcourt set. They've succeeded in pressing teams this season, but only applied pressure a couple of times against Iowa. The Hawkeyes relied on their bread-and-butter man-to-man attack but played a little 2-3 with Hansen in foul trouble.

HOUSE CALL: Attendance was announced at 10,500. Iowa announced on Tuesday that only 500 tickets remain for each of the team's next two home games. Indiana comes in Tuesday and Ohio State visits a week from Saturday. The students looked to be out in full-force again, continuing their improved support of the team.

THE SEASON: The crew from the ESPN show worked Wednesday's game, spending a lot of the time interviewing Tanya Alford throughout the game during timeouts and in the tunnel after the game They also placed their boom mikes and camera into the Iowa huddle several times during the contest.

PLAY OF THE DAY: Greg Brunner drove from the right side along the baseline for a reverse dunk over Williams.

DID YOU KNOW?: Iowa last triple overtime game was played on March 5, 1994 against Minnesota at Williams Arena. This was the first triple overtime game played in Carver. The last triple overtime game in Iowa City came in 1982 at the Iowa Field House. Minnesota won both of those games.

TIP-INS: Brunner corralled five rebounds first three minutes of the game and tallied 11 boards to go with nine first-half points. He finished with 23 rebounds, a career and Carver record…Iowa Linebacker Chad Greenway attended the game and visited the radio broadcast at halftime…Minnesota positioned itself to win the game in regulation. After Horner missed a go-ahead 3-point attempt, the Gophers called a timeout with :13.3 to set up a play. They called for a clear-out for Grier, who missed a wild, one-hander from the foul line at the buzzer…Adam Haluska scored the first four points of triple OT to give his team a 4-point lead…Iowa shot 7 of their first 8 from the line in triple overtime…The crowd chanted "Erek Hansen, Erek Hansen" in the closing seconds.


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