COACH ALFORD POSTGAME
Opening Statement: We were pretty pleased with our effort. That's really what we wanted to see tonight. We had a couple of lulls. We had a lull to end the first half and to start the second half. Other than those about seven minutes, our effort was at a pretty good level. That's our first time under lights with people and everything else. We've got some concerns. We knew we weren't a very good rebounding team and that showed tonight. Our turnovers were higher than…this has been a team in practice through stats where our assists have been higher than our turnovers. Tonight, that trend was a little bit different. Brett Wessels, both times he entered the game, we were fighting kind of a lull and he uplifted what we did either with a loose ball, a deflection, a charge, getting the ball in the right place at the right time. That's what you have to have your role guys doing. There are some bright spots and things that obviously were some glaring weaknesses that we have to continue work on.
How was the rotation you talked about?
I‘m very confident with Brett. Sometimes players don‘t do the things on the floor of who they are. We‘re constantly telling them to just do what you do. Players get in trouble when they try doing things that they can‘t do. Brett does what he does. He‘s a pest defensively. He distributes the ball and he can usually knock down shots. He was so geared up tonight. His first shot (an airball) he looked over at me and goes, I‘ve never done that before. But there were a lot of first tonight. Coach Garrett wore a nine-button suit. I‘ve never seen that before. I didn‘t know they made nine-button coats. There are always first when you start a new season.
Seth Gorney had a good outing. Would you have liked him to finish a little better?
He missed some things early because he wasn‘t pivoting. Our big guys are a little youthful of just getting minutes and understanding that. We‘ve worked awfully hard through 26 practices of just pivoting. Kurt is by far ahead of the big in pivoting. But when Seth starting pivoting late in the second half, good things happened. Cyrus is learning what it is to pivot. What we mean by that is when you catch the ball in the post, face the basket don‘t just keep staring out to midcourt. He‘s still has got to do those things. Seth is a very good passer than he showed tonight. Most of his turnovers were being stripped. He just has to get used to what that traffic is about. If you look at our practice stats, he has about a 2-1 assist to turnover ratio. He has very good hands. He can really shoot it.
Is this shooting what you expected out of Justin?
We hope. And to be honest with you, he‘d be the first to tell you that he hasn‘t shot the ball well in practice. But it‘s all been shot selection. That‘s knowledge of the system and learning how to play at this level. He‘s taken some really difficult shots. Tonight, he took god shots. He got on the break, got some lay-ups. And as we tell him, lay-ups can really help your percentage. To have a 3-point threat that can take some pressure off of Adam is going to be beneficial. We‘ve just got to hope through this stretch that we can get some good experience out of these guys. We get Tyler back. We‘re going to try to get him some good quality minutes, that‘s going to help our backcourt. It allows us to do a little more four-guard lineup if we have to. If a big isn‘t going to rebound…you know, I didn‘t have a lot to go with tonight if a big wasn‘t doing what they‘re supposed to do, I couldn‘t use the bench as a motivator.
How much different will the team look when you‘re at full strength?
We just have to spin it positively. While Mike is out, it allows Brett Wessels to get more minutes. Brett was going to be in the rotation anyway. It allows him to get more minutes. Brett got 24 minutes. I don‘t know if Brett is going to be getting 24 minutes when Mike is in there. If he is going to get some quality minutes now, that‘s going to help him make his minutes be more high quality when they‘re reduced. Justin is the same way. He ended up starting tonight, but he may or may not end up being a starter. He sure helped his chances tonight because he really performed well.
Will Tyler start on Monday?
No. we‘ll probably have the same starting lineup for Citadel. We‘ve got two days to practice. I would say that our lineup will be the same.
Were you looking for more from Tony tonight?
Sometimes we‘ve got to watch ourselves because we get to hard on him because we expect so much out of him. He‘s a tremendous player. After he settled down he did some really good things. He probably had 10 deflections. He and Justin probably had 10 deflections apiece. It‘s a different role for Tony and we have to be patient with that. Tony got back to doing what we want him to do defensively. He started what we wanted to do defensively. He has not been doing that in practice.
How does Tyler change what you can do?
He‘s just one of those guys that you have to guard, inside and out. He‘s extremely good offensively. He can take people off of the dribble. You know, he‘s 6-7. He‘s got a great frame, very athletic. It helps our athleticism. We got a glimpse of what we can do defensively with our backcourt pressure. All of a sudden, Tyler gets in there, three or four weeks from now, Mike gets in there, that‘s just going to increase our pressure. Mike was our best on the ball defender last year. And Tyler is a good rebounder. We need somebody that can get in there and rebound. That‘s something that Adam has got to do. We‘ve got to get more than four rebounds out of him.
SCOUTING REPORT: Iowa looked pretty much what you'd think an inexperienced team would look like in their first game - inconsistent. But the Hawkeyes gave fans reason to be optimistic if they can gel and develop on-court chemistry.
Justin Johnson sparkled in his debut, shooting it well and really showing an excellent feel for the game. He disrupts things on the perimeter, defensively, and boasts versatility on the offensive end. He gets to the basket and also strokes it smoothly from the outside.
Tony Freeman does a lot of nice things, but he needs to become a better floor general in a hurry. His decision making and shot selection still is suspect at times.
Seth Gorney looks to be in much better condition and runs the floor better than I anticipated that he would with a quick group that likes to push it.
At first glance, this is a team that's going to have to create offense with its perimeter defense. The Hawks didn't work the half court offense very well, but they are missing one of their leaders in Mike Henderson and arguably their most explosive player in Tyler Smith.
Overall, I came away feeling good about the team's potential. I'm anxious to see Smith on Monday and see what he adds to the mix.
SIDELINED: Iowa played without three players on Friday. Mike Henderson and Tyler Smith sat out due to suspension from an off court incident before the season. Henderson also suffered a hand injury and would have been unavailable even without the suspension. J.R. Angle missed the game with a knee injury suffered during the week in practice.
EARLY HOOK: Alford yanked his starting point guard, Tony Freeman less than three minutes into the game when the sophomore threw and ill-advised pass to Kurt Looby on the fast break. Brett Wessels replaced him Brett Wessles, who promptly stoles passes, one leading to a fast break lay-up for Adam Haluska.
ROTATION: After Wessels, Cyrus Tate was the next man off of the bench, replacing Kurt Looby at the 14:37 mark of the first half. Josh Crawford was the eight man, making his first appearance at the 10:32 mark of half No. 1.
Dan Bohall served as Iowa's ninth man, coming in with 3:00 remaining in the opening half.
NEW GUYS: Tate and Justin Johnson looked a little tight at the outsight and struggled with decision making at times, but both also showed the skill that brought then to Iowa City. Tate connected on a nice 15-foot jumper and Johnson converted a nice three-point play on the break up and over a defender. Johnson looked good going to the basket and shooting the deep ball.
Looby enjoyed a nice sequence where he blocked a shot, ran the floor and flushed a putback off of a Haluska miss.
TIP-INS: Seth Gorney ran the baseline for a big jam late in the first half and brought the crowd to it's feet. The 7-footer posed and then made a cross with his arms, which elicited a few chuckles from his teammates on the bench…BV committed 18 turnovers in the first half. Iowa showed excellent athleticism on the perimeter in disrupting offense…the new video screens look great. The screen on which they show the game is crystal clear and fireworks shot off after the win. The statistics are much easier to see as well.