Coach Alford: We've been awfully good defensively all year. This might have been our best 40-minute effort defensively. Not being in (Carver) for two weeks, and I think we've been good defensively regardless of where we've played, but we've been really good defensively in this building. That's why we've got a good home streak going right now. We took a team that's been shooting the ball awfully well and scoring a lot of points and we took them out of just about everything they wanted to do. It was as good as we've helped one another in a long, long time. That's good to see here as we begin March.
You know the Ohio State result?
Yeah. We each got one game left. They obviously clinch a share of it and they've got a home game now against Purdue. We've talked about it all year, control what you can control. We can't control what happens in Evanston, but we can control here. We've got two days to get ready for a team that's really been a thorn in our side. We have fought Wisconsin. We've done a nice job of defending them and been right there. But we've not gotten over the hump very often with Wisconsin. It becomes a very pivotal game. We either will grab a share of it or we have a chance to be in second place all by ourselves and be the two seed in the Big Ten Tournament. That has serious ramifications. It has big time (NCAA Tournament) seeding ramifications. If we're able to get a win that's nine (against the Top 25 this season). There aren't a lot of teams in the country that can have that kind of resume. We have a lot to play for regardless of what happens in Columbus on Sunday.
What was the difference between the inside game this time around with Penn State?
We were just really active. Erek, we did a better job of getting him the ball. His offense has really improved. For the last two games, we've done a really poor job of getting him the ball. He's been in some foul trouble that's knocked him out of rhythm a little bit. He had two blocks, but he must have changed about seven. He did the things defensively we wanted to do. Cornley doesn't score. That was big. Our bigs really did a good job there. After the start, we had the run at about the six-minute mark of the first half. We really got the ball inside at that time and got the offense going inside out versus the offense just being on the outside.
Can you talk about Henderson's game?
Mike was tremendous. He did all of that in 24 minutes. Mike really got us going early. He probably had seven of our first nine or 10 points. He shot the ball extremely well. He got to the free throw line. He did a really nice job on Luber. He hold Luber to one field goal and more turnovers than assists. That doesn't happen much. Mikey was really, really good tonight. Doug was more energetic off of the bench, but Alex, his passing really got us going in that run. We were struggling with pass-catch issues. Alex didn't have a big night offensively, but he had five rebounds, six assists with one turnover.
What's been the key to this defense?
We've got a lot of upper classmen that understand the importance of that end. We're getting better of just understanding help defense. Tonight was as well as we've helped all year. I got beat, and somebody was there to help. That person got beat, another guy was there to help. That's what good team defense does. You're not always going to be able to play one on one defense and not get beat. But when you do get beat, you have to trust that your teammate is going to be there to help. There's a big trust factor on this team.
Can you talk about the chance to have an undefeated season at home?
It's never happened since Carver has been here. Those players can really put there mark on something that is very special. If we can finish it on Saturday, it's not just the record but how we went about doing it. I would think that it's the most wins at home against Top-ranked teams. It's not like we have the possibility of going undefeated against sub-.500 teams. This was a year where we've had great teams in our building. When you looked before the season at our home Big Ten schedule, it was a bear. We're one game from completing it without a blemish. We'll have to play very well against a very tough, disciplined Wisconsin team, but this team has done a lot of positive things, and we're excited about it.
Did you have to do any quick psychological work after they saw the Northwestern score?
No. A lot of guys were back in our coaches' office looking at the final and obviously didn't like the kids just giving up a layup there at the end. That was tough to watch. And then throwing the full length pass out of bounds, but you know those things happen. But the guys are pretty excited about what they've done. They're concentrating on what they can do and what they can control. We've got a chance to finish this off and really have a special season.
Bru came up just shy of a double-double tonight. How much does that hurt him in terms of the MVP race?
I don't think having a double-double tonight mattered. The thing that I was most impressed with was that we had a very lopsided win with Horner and Brunner not getting in double figures. That speaks volumes about what's happening with our bench and guys like Mike. Adam responded. Adam was terrific on Claxton tonight. Bru did a lot of good things. But with Penn State, they've got a lot of guys that match up to Bru. It's a little different for him. But he did a nice job rebounding, especially in the first half when we took control of the game.
Does the 27-point victory margin override the agony of 19 turnovers?
If you told me before the game that we'd have 19 turnovers and win by 27, I'd take it. I guess that's how I'd answer that.
Ed DeChellis Comments: He said his team's poor night on offense affected the defense. If you would have told him that the Nittany Lions would hold Iowa to 65 points, he would have bet they would be in the game. He said you're not going to beat many teams shooting 25 percent. He liked his team's shot selection in the first half but they couldn't get anything to drop.
NOTES: Iowa's 16 home wins ties the Iowa record for a single season...The early play of Adam Haluska irritated Coach Alford, who screamed at his junior guard to "play the game" during a timeout. The coach felt Haluska was playing too passively. His charges struck a cord as Adam hit two three pointers in the remaining portion of the first half and finished with 11…Mike Henderson and Erek Hansen combined for 17 of Iowa's 30 first-half points on 6 of 8 shooting from the floor. The duo came into the game averaging a combined 14.2 points per game. The finished with 16 and 15 points, respectively, on 13 of 16 shooting…Penn State shot 5 for 27 (18.5 percent) from the field in the opening half, including 1 of 11 from beyond the arc…Penn State didn't score in the second half until Ben Luber sank a three with 13:17 to play in the game…seldom-used sub Justin Wieck, a former walk-on, saw brief time in the second half in place of Greg Brunner…Penn State's Jemelle Cornley, the favorite to win the league's freshman of the year honor, was held scoreless by Hansen and Thomas. He entered the game averaging 12.0 points a night…A student held up a sign that said "You're not a Hoosier anymore. You're a Hawkeye. Please stay coach."…Brunner remained in the game until the 1:55 mark despite Iowa being ahead by 28 points…Iowa shot 54.3 percent from the floor and racked up 21 assists to go with 19 turnovers...Iowa had eight blocks and six steals.