NWS Postgame Quotes: Alford, Horner, Brunner

Steve Alford, Jeff Horner, and Greg Brunner spoke with the media following Iowa's loss to Northwestern State in the NCAA Tournament in Auburn Hills, Michigan. Read what he had to say in this premium transcript.

Alford: I thought we had a couple good leads there in both halves and we just weren't able to complete either half. They didn't catch us in the first half, but they caught us in the second half. It really came down to our inability to keep them off the offensive glass and the assist-turnover ratio. I think those are the only two glaring weaknesses. We shot the ball OK, I thought we guarded pretty well, 38% FG defense, we did a lot of good things. But board play and turnovers really hurt us.

Q: Under the basket when that all takes place, take my through that. He shoots and it bounces away, take me through what you saw on that last play.

Brunner: I just saw Adam tip it up and I thought he had in control and it just scrambled to the corner. Then I saw the ball come out of it. Just the same feeling as Wisconsin. I'm like "This can't happen" and it went in, I guess. I saw Adam breaking down, missed the shot at the end of the game.

Q: How critical to the overall game was that 10 minute stretch where you guys couldn't get a point?

Horner: I don't know if it was really critical. Actually, it wasn't critical at all, we were up by 16 points at one time in the second half. We just couldn't get it done there in the second half. Games like this just happen, I guess. It's just tough to end you career that way.

Q: Greg and Jeff, can you both talk about their tenacity?

Brunner: Before the game, we realized their staple is offensive rebounding, getting as many shots as possible on goal. Tonight they just got to the loose ball, it was one of those situations where a couple balls got tipped to them and they got it and hit some open shots.

Horner: They were pretty much doing that all game. That's what we got beat on. If you look at the final stats, it's going to show that's a big reason why we got beat, it's tough.

Q: You guys had a 16 point lead, then it seemed Clifton Lee just got hot. Was there anything in particular that was going on there with their offense or was it transition?

Brunner: It was a little bit of everything. He scored in transition, on offensive rebounds, on drives. He's a good player, he picked up his team and lead his team to victory.

Q: Bru, if you could, talk about no points in the first half, you come out and get some quick points. Take me through your performance on the day, and then also your thoughts as you go to the free throw line there with a chance to go give your guys a 3 point lead.

Brunner: It was an off first half. The coaches did a good job of motivating me in the second half, and I came out and played my style and the last one, a senior shouldn't miss that shot. Tonight I did, and nothing else I can say about that I guess.

Horner: (Interrupting) It should have never came to that situation in the first place, you can't blame it on one player. For him to say that it's his fault is absolutely ludicrous, but people want to take the blame. That's the type of team it's been this year, just all together and stuff. That's how everyone's been for 4 years now, but you can't put blame on one person or anything like that.

Q: The NSU players indicated that they though they might have worn you down late in the game, do you have any response to that, is that accurate or fair?

Horner: Not at all. They didn't wear us down, we just didn't make plays in the end. I think we are a very well conditioned team, I don't feel worn down, I'm just mad right now. We definitely weren't worn down, it's just a tough loss to take. They were pressing us a lot and stuff, it was pretty physical out there, just like a Big Ten game, it was just tough to take.

Q: Jeff and Bru, I know it's hard at this time, but talk about this season and kind of the legacy you guys have left.

Horner: It's kind of tough to say. Big Ten (Tournament) champions, nobody can take that away from us, finished second place. Everyone wants to talk about how we got through adversity and stuff, and I guess that's a good thing for all us seniors and stuff, this is a tough thing to end your career on, a last second shot. We'll bounce back from it, wherever we go next year and stuff, that's just the kind of guys we are.

Q: Where do you think the program will be next year?

Horner: They're in good hands. They've got a lot of guys coming back and stuff. I think it's very solid right now. They've got a lot of good guys coming in, hopefully they can see how much this hurts right now to all us seniors, because this is it. You've got to realize that they may get into that situation next year, that's it for them. It definitely hurts.

Q: Did you see anything sort of alike about the end of the first half and end of the second half?

Alford: Our inability to take care of the basketball. We had some really ill-advised turnovers, some really bad turnovers. We talked about it all week, offensive board play, transition defense, and turnovers were going to be a key to this game. We thought that if we got them into the half court, it really favored us. I think as we evaluate the game, that held true. At half court, I think we did a very good job defensively. One team got 19 more shots than the other team did. That's hard to overcome. They got that because they have 5 more offensive rebounds and they had 8 fewer turnovers. There's your possessions. When you've got good teams playing each other and you give one team that many more possessions to score, you set yourself up for something like this to happen.

Q: Can you talk about what they were doing with Bru (defensively)?

Alford: I don't know if they really did anything different in the second half. Bru got in a much better rhythm in the second half than what he did in the first half. I thought he was frustrated for whatever reason, go tin foul trouble, just never really got in the flow in the first half. Obviously that affects us, because he's one of our key parts. True to form, he really bounced back and gave us a lot of big-time minutes in the second half in a lot of ways. I think he had a couple rebounds at halftime, gets 8 in the second half. I just thought he was much more active and much more assertive in the second half than in the first.

Q: What do you have to do now until next October 14th and beyond, from the players to build the program to a point where they can come back next year?

Alford: That's hard, because initially, we're losing 5 really good seniors. Right now, that's what's on our mind. As I told them in the locker room, they've meant so much to us. They've been the absolute perfect leaders, everything we've wanted them to do, on the floor, off the floor, in the classroom. It's pretty hard saying goodbye right now. We'll get on a plane, get back to Iowa City as quickly as we can, and try and soak this in. It's not the fitting end to what was a great great journey this year. I ache for the seniors, that their last game had to be like this. Obviously, hats off to a very good northwestern state team, they made plays down the stretch, but it's hard to say goodbye to these seniors. With that said, I think what they've left, leadership, how you go about daily business in this game, I think they've left a lot for our young players to learn. Obviously recruiting and filling some holes here in the next 2 months are going to be pretty crucial as we move toward the future.

Q: With all of the speculation, at this point now, would you be the coach at Iowa next season?

Alford: We're 2 minutes after the game. My whole focus and energy hasn't changed. I put everything into this. We've gone 7-3 during this stretch. Our only losses were at Minnesota and at Illinois and on a last second 3 point shot from the deep corner. I think these kids have been extremely focused. Their energy's been there, I'm so appreciative of what they've given me and given this coaching staff. That's where my concern is. I'm not concerned about anything else other than trying to lead them and get them to try and understand how to lose like this, because it's not easy.


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