Opening Statement: This was another really good effort for our guys. We did a good job with starting the game and getting it under control early. It was another game where we did a good job of taking care of the basketball; we distributed it well; didn't rebound the way we're capable of, and that's something we've got to continue to work on. But we got good balance. We got everybody in the game again. That's always nice. Now, we'll take a Christmas break and get back at it on Tuesday.
Can you talk about Tyler Smith's game and stepping outside and hitting 3-pointers?
Tyler has worked on a lot of things and shooting is one of them. That's getting better. He makes 4 out of 5 threes. He makes all of his free throws. He starts doing that, and he's going to be awfully hard to guard. But it continues to get tougher. We're down to a 40-minute game to get us ready for Big Ten play. But we got to the line. We more than tripled their output at the line. That's always a good stat of what our offense is doing. We're starting get our transition game going. Now, the coaches anyway, we've got to get ready for a Cornell team that's already won against Northwestern and they've done some things. So, we've got to make sure we're ready for the 30th.
You guys created 24 turnovers, also. How important were those in defense turning into offense?
It really helped us, especially in the second half when we didn't make a lot of shots. We took good shots. We had a lot of open looks in the second half, but we didn't make them. We shot 32 percent in the second half yet we're still are able to win the second half. A lot of that had to do with what we did defensively. We forced them into some mistakes. The first half was a lot better than what we did in the second half.
The last two games were pretty one-sided, but how important was it to go into the break on a high note?
It was real important. We're just getting Mike back. He's been the starting point guard for two games, and he's gotten two wins. We've gained a little bit of momentum. We're able to get a little bit of confidence going.
Since Mike is back, it seems like the whole team is moving the ball better. Is he the reason?
That's what we were doing in the fall. In the fall, we really thought that we moved the ball better than last year's team. Then, Mike gets hurt and all of a sudden everybody is looking at each other. Now, you're trying to figure that out. Tony does it a little bit. Justin is trying to learn that some. Now that you have Mike back, it gets it to moving early. We've had back to back games now with a lot of assists. Tonight, we really took care of the ball. We only had nine turnovers in a lopsided win.
Are you seeing the improvements you want to see for when Big Ten play starts?
So far in these 80 minutes. There was probably a 10-minute stretch in the second half where I wasn't very pleased, not so much offensively as what we were doing on the defensive end. We didn't get a stop and then we'd come down and quick shoot. That's not the time and the score you want. If you don't get a stop, you don't need a quick shot. If you get a stop, a quick shot is a little bit different.
You mentioned earlier in the week that you wanted to get better post play and more toughness. The last two games have started with lay-ups by Seth. Was that by design?
Oh yeah, and Seth is doing a good job. Seth is somebody that can score. He's a kid that has a great touch. He can shoot the ball all the way out to the 3-point line. We just have to keep working to get those post scores, but while we're developing that, we have to make sure we get some things in transition so we're getting some easy scores.
What do you think when you see Tyler launch himself over the chairs and into the stands?
Hope he doesn't get hurt. (laughter) But that's Tyler. He has as good a basketball IQ that I've had an opportunity to coach. He really understands how to play the game. He's just in the right place at the right time. He even made a couple of passes tonight that we don't catch. He just has very good instincts. As he learns to take his effort to a consistent toughness, you've got a player that's awfully special.
How much has he allowed Adam to relax more and get his shot?
Oh, there's no question. We talked about that at halftime. He's making Adam's job a little bit easier. Mike helps with that, too. Mike has given a comfort to all of them. Tyler and Mike are roommates. They've got a close connection there of just knowing one another. So, having Mike back has taken a little bit of pressure off of Tyler, which takes more pressure off of somebody like Adam.
*Iowa's first six points of the game were scored by post players – Gorney (4) and Tate (2).
*Mike Henderson showed signs of returning to his old form when he stole the ball out top and took it the length of the floor for a lay-up and one. Henderson had a defender even with him until he hit another gear and shot to the hole.
*The first subs of the day were Angle and Looby for Tate and Gorney at 14:12 of the first half. Johnson replaced Haluska at 13:20. Freeman was the ninth man, checking in for Henderson at 12:53.
*The Hawkeyes did another nice job switching defenses. They used some 3/4-court zone trapping that dropped into a 1-2-2. They also looked much better in the half court man.
*The crowd size was improved over Wednesday night. I'd say about 7,000. Students that brought in a report card showing an A were admitted for free.
*Smith (17) and Haluska (13) had 30 of their team's 49 first-half points. Iowa led 49-27 at the break. The Hawkeyes' 22-point bulge represented their largest halftime lead of the season. Iowa held a 17-0 advantage in points off of turnovers in the opening 20 minutes.
*Johnson did a much better job taking the ball to the basket. He shot 6 of 6 on free throws after not taking his first of the season until Wednesday.
*The Texas Southern Coach was pretty upset about the foul shot difference. Iowa shot 37 to his team's 15. He said he would have liked to see the game called the same on both ends, but said he wasn't calling out the officials. Perhaps he was mad at Peter Pan.
*Iowa shot 33 of 39 from the line.
*The Hawkeyes were outrebounded 41-34, including 12-8 on the offensive glass.
*Iowa held a 34-2 edge in points off of turnovers.
*Haluska is now averaging 195 PPG, while Smith checks in at 15.4. Freeman is next at 8.0.