Hawks Win Final Tuneup Before Big Ten Season

The Iowa Hawkeyes improved to 7-6 on the 2007-2008 season, beating SE Louisiana 57-50 in Carver Hawkeye Arena on Saturday night. They did that despite going nearly 13 minutes of the first half without scoring a point, and battling back from a 20-6 deficit. Read what coach Todd Lickliter had to say about Iowa's last game before the Big Ten season begins...

Todd Lickliter Opening Statement

I think Cy demonstrates what you are looking for. People who aren't swayed by circumstances. They are prepared, they are ready, they contribute, they think about the team. That is what he said. When I was called on, I tried to do my job. That is the way that we should approach life and our responsibilities. I was pleased to hear him say it, I was pleased to watch it. That was very difficult in the first half. The first two possessions were textbook and then we can't score again. We continued to guard, and if you watch a lot of teams that let offensive droughts affect the way they guard. I thought we did a good job of maintaining our focus defensively. When you do that, you give yourself a chance. We could have hung our heads and made it something that was insurmountable. But we didn't do that. We were rewarded for the effort. I hope that is a good lesson for us. We have done it before and I think they understand that.

Q: JR Angle helped out

Todd Lickliter: He did a nice job. I have always said, isn't that what a team is? When you call on someone and they help? I have been fortunate to have been a part of teams…and watched, and have seen guys that don't play as many minutes as they would like, but they are very professional. Those are your best teams. These guys are really pulling for one another. If you do that, you need to be prepared when you are called up.

Q: Any update on Jarryd Cole's knee (he injured it landing after a dunk in the second half, and did not return)

Lickliter: We have to wait and see. We will go through the process. We have said this before, I am very impressed with our medical team and they will figure it out and let me know tomorrow.

Q: That is sort of a bizarre way to get hurt.

Lickliter: I have seen some bizarre ones through the years. Just something happens and you can see the obvious ones, but there are times when you take a bad step or whatever and the next thing you know you have a problem.

Q: Was there a defensive adjustment at the end of the first half that helped?

Lickliter: There wasn't an adjustment. There was a greater commitment. We decided to continue. We had one that was unbelievable. We played it until five seconds, shifted and they scored a difficult shot…if we could have stayed for five more seconds….but it was just a great commitment.

Q: Did you make a commitment to go to the basket more in the second half?

Lickliter: We asked them to. We struggled to be able to see inside while we were penetrating, or making a move. I wish we could see better what was going on. I thought we did that. JR Angle was really good, he would pop and then look in. That is what got us started. Our bigs had been working hard ducking in and we had not hit them. When we do pass sometimes, it's the wrong pass. I wish we could make the right pass to the right guy at the right time. Maybe that just comes through more practice. I do think in the second half you saw more of it and you saw the results.

Q: Do you think this team has improved enough to become a viable Big Ten squad?

Lickliter: I thought you were going to stop at do you think this team has improved, and I was going to say yes. And then you went on, and now I am saying you never know what is going to happen, we will have to be tested and see. I wish we could progress faster. I know that we are making progress, but I know how demanding the competition is. Have we made enough to be successful every night? I don't know. I know this, we are better than when we started. We are better this week than we were a week ago. That is what we can ask, in my opinion. We are going to go in to every game and fight. We will be prepared and we are going to compete at the highest level we can compete at.

Q: How important was this win for the psyche of your team?

Lickliter: You are worried about the kid's psyche more than mine? What about my family? I don't know…I just think it's the idea that we hung tough. It was a difficult situation. It didn't seem like anything would go right. I told them at halftime, no one gives you anything. If you want it to go right, you make it. Our guys took that approach and made it happen. It's not just the win; it's the ability and the fight that we showed.

Q: You got to the line tonight, where you didn't against Drake. When you got there, you couldn't make two in a row, but made your last nine.

Lickliter: That is a good point. I don't have an answer as to why…I think we are really good enough shooters to make our free throws. No one is trying to miss. When you watched them, Tony had one rim out, JR did, they were there. It was not like we were missing bad.

Q: Talk about Tony Freeman's play.

Lickliter: Tony was more poised tonight, more consistent, and that will be huge for us. I really appreciated that. I think he is feeling more comfortable.

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