NCAA Tournament Notebook

News and views from press row. Read about interaction between the bench and the players, a look inside statistics, and more in this package from Rob Howe.

HOT START: Iowa looked at ease and under control at the opening tip. The three seed broke through the Demon press without incident and found open shots in the secondary break beginning with a Haluska trey on the opening possession. Horner followed up that hoop with a floater in the lane and a 3-pointer from Horner the next two times down the floor. It all added up to a 13-2 run to start the contest. Unfortunately, NSU sliced away at that lead by beating the Hawkeyes at their own game, strong halfcourt defense and offense. The Hawks looked very tight as players and coaches sniped at each other. That's the pressure that comes with expectations.

ILLEGAL LOOK: Tournament officials made Horner cover his protective shirt (ribs) under his uniform with a yellow T-shirt to match his uniform. He was allowed to wear the gray undergarment at last weekend's Big Ten Tournament without incident.

TOUGH CALL: Thomas picked up his second foul late in the first half on a questionable blocking call that appeared to be a charge from our seats. The call came from an official Alford had been riding most of the first half to call the game more consistently. The coach really rode the ref after that decision. The two talked it over during the free throws.

MOTIVATIONAL FACTOR: Alford and his assistants voiced their displeasure with their team's lack of execution throughout the first half. Haluska received an earful midway through the first half, when he was standing around and contributing greatly to Iowa's stagnant half-court sets. The message reached the junior, who finished the opening half with a game-high 14 points on 4 of 6 shooting from the floor, including 3 of 5 from beyond the arc. Brunner, Henderson and Hansen also heard about Alford's disappointment in their first-half performances.

IDIOT FACTOR: A fan was removed from the arena Friday afternoon after harassing Alford as his coach made his way to the locker room at halftime. Word was that the Iowa bench boss needed to be restrained as the person hurled expletives in the coach's directions, which were said to be pretty personal.

STATISTICALLY SPEAKING: Iowa allowed 40 second-half points on 45.5 percent shooting from the Demons, including 42.9 percent (6-14) from 3-point range…Iowa turned the ball over 19 times compared to 11 by NSU…Iowa won the rebounding battle, 36-31, but was outrebounded 14-9 on the offensive end…NSU held a 22-13 advantage in points off of turnovers…

The Hawkeyes held NSU to 29.6 field goal shooting before the intermission, but shot just 39.1 percent themselves…Eight different Demon players scored a basket in the opening 20 minutes but no one had more than one…Iowa turned the ball over 10 times in the first half compared to seven by the Demons…The Hawkeyes won the first-half board battle, 19-16, but were outrebounded 6-4 on the offensive glass.

FROM THE BENCH: Conversation heard coming from the Hawkeye sideline –

Coach Alford called Henderson over to the bench during a stoppage after the junior was beaten badly off of the dribble and said: "I don't care if you score the rest of the game. Could you do this for me? Could you guard somebody?"

After Hansen misfired on a putback attempt late in the first half, Alford screamed "Erek. Dunk the ball" as his senior shuffled back to the defensive end.

TIP-INS: Horner hit a pull-up jumper that at a critical time with the shut clock running out and Iowa clinging to a lead with just under four minutes to play in the game…Alford was livid after Horner got knocked to the deck with about 5 ½ minutes to play in the game. The Iowa guard laid on the court for a few seconds and NSU's Clifton Lee drained a triple on the other end. The coach spent about 20 seconds of his 3:34 timeout talking to the official about the no-call…Iowa went 11:40 without a field goal in the first half and scoreless with 10:14…Seldom-used Carlton Reed played two first-half minutes to give Haluska a rest…Brunner played just 12 first-half minutes due to foul trouble. He failed to score…Neal nearly lost his mind, his gum and everything else on him screaming at Brunner for letting Lee get open for the trey…The coaching staff discussed whether to put Hansen in for Thomas late in the game as NSU worked for shots near the hoop, but left Thomas out there for rebounding purposes…No doubt that the crowd in The Palace was pro NSU as it was filled with a lot of West Virginia and Illinois State fans, whose schools played the next game, with the winner playing the UI-NSU survivor on Sunday…

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