Opening Statement:Well, Susan (Harmon, Press-Citizen), you're my numbers girl. What did you think of our board play.
Harmon: (Laughs) Well, what did you think of it, coach?
Coach Alford: Well, I don't know. I have to go back and look at 15 full years of coaching, but I don't know if I'd have a team give up 27 offensive rebounds. I know I haven't had a team give up 27 offensive rebounds and win by 16.
But minus the board play, we did a really good job. We haven't been at home in a while. We came out slow but we did a good job defensively on them. But to turn the ball over eight times, the guys made some great adjustments at half just with their mindset of attacking the zone and then shoot 65 percent in the second half. So, other than board play, I was really, really pleased with the effort.
This is the second game in a row where you guys have come out firing on all cylinders after halftime.
They're just unbelievable halftime talks.(Laughter) It's the power of please.
Henderson seemed to settle you guys down and get you in a rhythm.
He did a great job of running our offense tonight. He had three assists and one turnover. We haven't had that out of him for a while. Lately, it's been 1-3. He responded. He made jump shots. He wasn't afraid to take the jump shot. He penetrated. He really guarded. He took Luber completely out of the game. Luber didn't score. He made it hard on Luber trying to get everybody else involved. He was as big a key as anybody for us tonight.
Was that the first time you actually coached zone offense as the game was going on? I saw you and Coach Neal leading the guys through the offense.
Once we got the lead and everything, and Coach Neal made a very good adjustment of making them relax a little bit. We got in a little bit of a hurry. As I said on the radio, we were going side to side. That's what you hope a zone defense will do as far as the defense goes. We played right into that. We talked about that at halftime. You've got to go towards the basket. We didn't shoot 65 percent in the second half because we took all jump shots. We got layups. We got touches inside. We did a nice job with that. Our guys did a much better job attacking the zone in the second half.
Mike and Kurt have been in a slump lately. How nice was it to see them break out tonight?
I don't know if it's slumping. They haven't played to their ability. In a long season, that's going to happen. And to their credit, both of them played extremely well. Mike was a key in the starting lineup. Kurt was a big key coming off of the bench. He blocked shots. He changed shots. He went after loose balls. He guarded. What I was impressed with was that he was very active offensively in the first half. He was catching in the paint as the slice guy in our offense and he wasn't afraid to make plays. Those era two guys that we need to have playing at a high level and tonight they did that.
Coach DeChellis said he felt his team should have been up at the half. Did you feel that you were fortunate to be up at the half?
We made a good run to end the first half. Over the last five minutes of the half, we did a really nice job. I don't know. They shot 31 percent. We've been doing that. We've won 12 straight Big Ten home games. If you look over those 12 games and what we've been holding people to, points and shooting, it's been less than 63 points and it's been right around 35 percent shooting. Don't ask me why it happens in this building and not away from here. We've done a pretty good job of guarding in here. All of a sudden we make shots and we end up having a half where it's 51-36.
That's a tough segment. (laughter) Wisconsin looks like they're going to come in here 20-1 and ranked second in the country. It doesn't get more difficult than that. But our guys are excited about it. They're already talking about it. We've got a great winning streak going on here in the Big Ten. It's the longest in school history. They want to keep that going. It's sold out. It's going to be a great environment on CBS as noon. So, it doesn't get any better than that as far as showcasing your program. With that said, it's a very difficult opponent. They're driven. They're experienced. They know what it's like to win in this league and they're playing at a high level. We've got a couple of days here where we've got to get better and get a lot of good prep for them.
How important was it to have a second half like that with Wisconsin looming on Sunday?
Winning with them looming on Sunday, that's the big thing. We had had 60 minutes of some stagnant basketball on the road, the last 20 at Indiana and really for 40 at Ohio State. I just didn't like the demeanor of the team. Tonight, we had a little bit different demeanor. Hopefully, we can keep building on that.
What game Sunday is very important as far as ratings and the numbers and the RPIs and such.
No question. With not taking the advantage in the non conference of getting some key wins, it's important now in league that we get some of those key wins against ranked opponents.