You guys had it at 28-28 with about 17 minutes left in the game and they went on a 17-4 run. What do you think happened in that stretch?
I would say the offensive rebounds they were grabbing. Those offensive rebounds led to a three, an open lay-up. The tendency we had to commit a silly foul. They were fortunate to go up there and hit their free throws. Whenever you give a team that many chances at the free throw line, it‘s a recipe to lose.
Coach said you guys were trailing plays on defense which led to a lot of the fouls. What was the reasoning for that?
Maybe a lack of communication and maybe not being aware and lack of basic concentration on defense. They were able to get us in the post and hold their seals. Unfortunately, we‘d try to reach around and steal the ball and then they‘d call a little knick-knack foul.
You guys have played two of the top teams in the conference pretty close. The fans are probably OK with that and the effort with which you guys have played. But you guys in the locker room can‘t be hanging to moral victories.
We don‘t play for that. We‘re here on scholarship to play the game so at the end of it we're on top on the scoreboard. But I‘d say we have a little momentum. Confidence isn't an issue at all. We‘re all confident and we believe we can play with anybody. We have a strong Ohio State team coming up on Wednesday. We‘ll prepare and we‘ll be ready.
What‘s it going to take to turn these close losses into wins?
Eliminating the silly plays. Play to your strengths and stay away from your weaknesses.
You guys were tied at 28-28 early in the second half before they went on a 17-4 run. What happened during that stretch?
We didn‘t make plays. Defensively, we didn‘t do what we were supposed to do. They got a lot of offensive rebounds. That really hurt us.
Coach said you guys trailed a lot of plays on offense leading to fouls. Why were you guys getting behind on defense?
They were doing a lot of flex cuts. People don‘t call them out. People don‘t say they‘re cutting. You get caught up and you get fouls. We just have to do better and prepare for the next game.
So, is communication a problem?
It‘s that and we just have to be mentally focused on defense. Do our jobs and let teams be one and done.
Brian Butch got off on offense. What was he doing that was so tough to stop?
He had a good game. I‘m not going to take anything from him. But there were just some things that we didn‘t do that were causing the points that he got. We just have to do better. We face Wisconsin again, but we have to get ready for Ohio State now.
You guys have been real competitive with two of the better teams in the league. I can‘t imagine you guys feel good about moral victories, though.
No. Not at all. We know that we can hang in there with the good teams. They‘re capable of being beat. We know that. If we get on the same page, we can be really good. We proved ourselves in the Indiana game and in this game that we can be good. We just have to go out there and give it our all and play poised and play with purpose.
Is it hard to keep your mind when you‘re coming close but still losing?
Yeah, but we‘ve got a lot of young guys. We‘ve got freshmen. It‘s a learning experience for them. It‘s up to us to guide them, to tell them how the Big Ten is. They‘re adjusting well, but we have to step up and be leaders and show them how it's done. Last year for me it was kind of rough. I relied on Adam (Haluska), the experience that he had, and Mike (Henderson).
Coach said he sees you guys getting better. Do you guys see it?
Yeah, but at the same time it‘s all mental. We just have spurts where we do real good but we just have to keep it up the whole game. We have to continue to keep working.
Do you feel like you guys are getting better?
We want to get better but, basically, we want to win. Coach doesn‘t want to just build for the future. He wants to win now. It‘s not fair for our seniors - J.J., Kurt and Seth - to plan ahead. We‘ve got to win now.
How much better is this team than it was in November?
We‘re a lot better. Wisconsin is a good team. Indiana was a good team. We played them tough, but we can‘t be satisfied with a loss to both of them. We could have come away with a win with both of them, really.
Coach said you guys were a step behind on defense causing fouls, especially inside.
In the post, they really got us in foul trouble. It seemed like we just weren‘t getting around and fronting enough. When they caught it, they had some size on us so we struggled.
Is it disheartening or frustrating to get this close but still come up short?
I don‘t think it‘s disheartening because I believe it does help our confidence even though we‘re losing. We know we could have beat them. We know we‘re as good as them. We just have to play smart and do the little things. It‘s just abut blocking out, all the little stuff that will get us wins.
Is that what happened in that stretch where they went on a 17-4 run after it was 28-28?
They got it to their posts and we weren‘t getting around and fronting it and going to our defensive principles. Their big guys are bigger than us, so they drew fouls. They hit all of their free throws. We didn‘t hit out free throws. We took bad shots, shots that we probably can't make. We have to do a better job with that.
How do you feel physically?
I feel fine. I feel great, actually.
You left Carver on Wednesday on crutches with your foot in a boot. When did it click in that you were OK again?
I didn‘t think I was OK until (Friday) morning during practice. I got on it and I was like, "Man, this is alright." I couldn‘t even put pressure on it at the Indiana game or I would have come right out. I don‘t know. (Trainer John) Streif is a miracle worker I think.
What did you do on Thursday to get hit healthy by Friday?
It was just icing it and keeping a wrap on it to keep the swelling down. I elevated it while I was sleeping. It was fine. I had no pain during that game.
What do you guys have to do turn some of these close losses into wins?
We have to put it into our minds that we have to do the little things. We have to stop fouling and hit our free throws. We have to box out and not let offensive rebounds hurt us. Our defense is pretty good. Our offense is good, too, expect when we take bad shots and we‘re not humble about our shot selection.
I know you guys don‘t want moral victories, but do you take something out of playing with these teams?
It‘s a builder. Even though we lost, I saw some good things. Coach says he sees a lot of good things. We just have to minimize the bad things that we do; taking bad shots. We have to front the post. It‘s just the small things really.
What did coach say after this? Was he mad?
He doesn‘t just get real mad. He‘s just nonchalant. He just tells us the goods and the bads. That‘s how he is.
Coach said that he would like to see you guys improve quicker. Is it hard for you as a senior that you guys are not improving fast enough?
Yeah, if we just listen to coach we‘ll improve. We have all the tools. We know all of the tools. If we would just use them, it would put us in a good spot. Sometimes we just go and do our own thing. That‘s when it comes down to us just being mentally strong and not being crazy sometimes.
Is it more frustrating to know that you guys have hung with these teams but fell short?
Yeah, I‘m not saying that we‘re better or they‘re better. I‘m just saying when we play them and are in position to win, we just let it slip away. We can‘t keep doing that. It‘s a long season, especially in the Big Ten. But when chances present themselves, we have to take full advantage. Hopefully next game we can take full advantage.
Can you look at Wisconsin and see what Coach Lickliter wants you guys to do?
I can‘t speak for Wisconsin. I‘m sure any coach doesn‘t want to see turnovers. You always want to see your team have more assists than turnovers. It‘s just about confidence. It‘s about being tough with the ball, trusting our teammates and getting them ball in a spot where they can score. We haven‘t been doing that. Like I said, when the opportunities present themselves, we have to take full advantage of it.
The last couple of games the opponents have shot and made more free throws, considerably more. Why is that?
Man, I don‘t know. Myself, the team, I don‘t know what‘s the matter with our free throw shooting. Free throw shooting is mental. It‘s just about going up there and hitting them. We do a lot of good things out there. We‘re in good positions throughout the game. We just let them pull away. The other team takes advantage of that and they win the game.
A lot of people were suggesting that the Indiana game was a moral victory. How do you guys guard against accepting moral victories?
I want an actual victory. I don‘t want any moral victories and I know I speak for myself and also the team and the coaching staff. We want actual victories. Like I said, we‘re in good position. We just have to keep fighting and keep doing the little thing to win the game. We‘re always where, we just always slowly but surely let it slip away, especially with good teams.
You went through a scoreless stretch of about nine minutes in the first half and another of seven minutes in the first half. What do you do to eliminate those?
I don't know. I guess we‘ve just to stick to the basics. It always seems like we‘re doing what we‘re supposed to be doing, but when we deviate from the norm that‘s where we go stretches where we can‘t make a basket and we start taking tough shots. We stop guarding. They go on runs and we stop scoring. We just have to be tough and keep guarding and taking good shots. The best basketball we played throughout the game was probably the last five minutes when kept fighting.
How much better is this team from Thanksgiving to now? Coach says he sees improvement but he wishes it could be quicker.
We‘ve obviously improved, but the level of competition has gone up. We‘re making less mistakes than before, but the level of competition goes up. You make little mistakes against a good team like this they‘re going capitalize on them. Unfortunately for us, they‘re losses.
Kelly Returns: After missing most of Wednesday's Indiana game with a sprained ankle, Jake Kelly returned to the starting lineup. He looked unencumbered by the injury and did a really nice job defending Cedar Rapids native Jason Bohannon and point guard Trevon Hughes.
Kelly was slowed by foul trouble and finished with just three points in 27 minutes. But Bohannon wound up scoring two points on a late put-back in 19 minutes of action, while Hughes netted just six in 33 minutes. The Badger guards shot just 3 for 14 from the floor.
Kelly picked up his third foul midway through the first half and sat the rest of the way before the intermission. He ended up fouling out late in the game with three assists and no turnovers.
Statistically Speaking: Iowa shot just 7 of 15 from the floor, while the Badgers knocked down 19 of their 27 attempts. The Hawkeyes shot 52.9 percent from the floor in the opening half but just 35.7 percent after the break. Wisconsin reversed its 31.0 percent first half with 55.0 percent in the second.
Johnson paced Iowa with 13 points on 4 of 8 shooting from the floor, including 3 of 5 from beyond the arc. He now has 11 3-pointers in his last two games.
Cyrus Tate led the Hawkeyes with a game-high eight rebounds to go with his eight points. The junior also blocked two shots.
Iowa turned the ball over 14 times, while the Badgers committed just seven. The Hawkeyes did assist on 12 of their 19 baskets.
Wisconsin held a 14-6 advantage on second-chance points courtesy of 11 offensive boards.
Iowa enjoyed a 19-9 spread on bench points.
Minute-By-Minute: Angle (21), Freeman (28), Johnson (31), Peterson (25), Kelly (27), Tate (33), Looby (9), Gorney (26).
Bohall Still Sitting: Dan Bohall sat out his sixth game in a row after being arrested for public intoxication on Dec. 2. Lickliter said on Friday that he wasn't sure if his sophomore from Sioux City would be used against the Badgers, but he will be ready when called upon. We've gotten no indication on when that might be.
Late Arrival: The hockey rink was open in the Kohl Center on Friday, which prevented the Hawkeyes from practicing in the arena before the game, according to the Badgers Radio Network.
Iowa held its workout at Carver and did not arrive in Madison until 9 p.m. on Friday.
-Wisconsin now has won nine of its last 10 meetings with Iowa and taken seven in a row in Madison.
-The Badgers were installed as a 17-point favorite by some of the sports books.
-Seventh-year coach Bo Ryan moved to 100-6 at the Kohl Center.
-Tony Freeman appeared to be on Lickliter's bad side on Saturday with some poor decisions. The junior guard played 28 minutes, but sat for a long stretch at the end of the first half and the beginning of the second without being in foul trouble. He finished with eight points on 3 of 7 shooting from the field, including 1 of 5 from 3-point land.
-The game was tied at 28-28 early in the second half before the Badgers took control of it with a 17-4 run.
-David Palmer did not play - coach's decision.
The announced attendance was 17,190.
Iowa started the Big Ten season 0-2 for the first time since 2004-05 and just the second time since ‘93-94. The Hawkeyes have not began a conference season 0-3 since ‘93-94, when they dropped their first four games of the league schedule.