Quotes & Notes: Illinois

The calendar changing to March didn't help Iowa turn around its fortunes on Saturday as the Hawkeyes fell, 58-47, to rival Illinois at Carver. Tony Freeman scored 21 points in the losing effort on Senior Night. Read what he said after the game along with comments from Jake Kelly and Seth Gorney, plus notes from the game in this wrap-up report.

QUOTES

Jake Kelly

Do you feel like there is any physical or mental fatigue setting in?

Maybe. Coach does a good job of not bringing up past games and just moving on. As soon as we get into the locker room, there‘s our travel plans for Northwestern. We put it behind us, so I don‘t think we‘re necessarily mentally tired. We‘re tired of losing but that‘s about it.

Is it a little more frustrating that you couldn‘t get the seniors a win tonight?

Yeah, it was frustrating. I would have loved to have got them a win on Senior Night. It‘s a memorable night for them. They were pretty down and sad. It‘s just a tough way to go out, but it happened.

The last 10 minutes of the first half you got two field goals. The last two minutes of the second half you got three. What goes on during those stretches?

I don‘t know. They are just lapses where we don't take the ball strong and finish on free throws. We‘re not running our offense. We‘re just standing around waiting for somebody to do something.

What did they do defensively? It seemed like they were jumping the ball screens a little more?

Yeah, they were really up in us. We could drive on them because they weren‘t really help-side as much, but they were just really up in us and being physical and making it hard to get open threes. That‘s our game. That was tough.

You guys struggled from the field, the 3-point line and the free throw line. Can you talk about that?

Yeah, we couldn‘t hit nothing. It was really frustrating. Seth and JJ struggled. Myself and Tony, we al put up shots that we usually hit. We just didn‘t.

Tony Freeman

Do you know what happened?

I don‘t know, guys. It‘s been the same questions the whole season. We made a lot of good plays just not enough to win. I know guys want to win but actions speak a lot louder than words. You can say anything you want. You can get mad. You can pout. But actions speak a lot louder than words. We‘re not doing enough action.

And you tried to take over the game.

Yeah, well, I try to do what I can do. I know that they were denying everything, so the lane was there. They guarded me 94 feet so there was a clear lane to drive so I decided to take advantage of what I had. But what I did doesn‘t matter at all. It doesn't mean anything.

Do you think some fatigue has set into the team, either physical or mental?

I don‘t know. Personally, I don‘t even like coming out of the game so I don‘t know about fatigue. Guys are in great shape. It‘s not about that. It‘s just about mental. It‘s more mental toughness than anything. It‘s like beating a dead horse now, guys. I know what we‘re capable of. When we‘re on we‘re capable of beating any team in this league. With the right mindset and toughness, we can. But with anything of those factors lacking in the game, any team can beat us. That‘s the best that I can do right now. It‘s not about fatigue. We just have to do more. There are just a number of things that we‘re lacking in. We‘re not very consistent. When those things are lacking it‘s just tough to get wins against quality opponents. There‘s a lot of parity in the league. If you‘re not coming to play, it can result in a loss as you guys just saw.

How frustrated are you overall?

I‘m just sad for the seniors. Guys were in the locker room just sitting there not even getting dressed. You can just see the frustration. It‘s sad to see those guys go out like that. It‘s like beating a dead horse right now. You know what you want to happen, but it‘s just not happening.

Seth Gorney

You guys have kind of a quick turnaround now. How much do you have left in your tank?

I‘ve got as much as we go for. I might show signs a little bit of getting tired. I‘ll pick it up eventually and get my second win.

What do you think was the biggest problem was today?

A lot of it was we came out and assumed since it was senior night that we were just going to get an easy win. Illinois is in the bottom half (of the Big Ten standings). They might even be below us. I‘m not sure. But I‘m sure a lot of us came out there and thought that "Hey, this is just going to be another game. We‘ve got senior night, so our crowd will be into it and we‘ll play well." It didn‘t happen.

So did you think that maybe the momentum from senior night it would just kind of take care of itself?

A lot of people thought that. I knew Illinois was going to be tough. I tried prepping our guys for it. It just fell short.

What do you guys play for from here on out?

That‘s tough to say. I juts want to win. Being a senior, having my last couple of games left, I just want to do everything we can to win.

Are teams improving at a greater rate than you guys are right now? It seemed like you guys were playing better in January and early February than you are now.

It‘s tough to say. A lot of teams are starting to realize who we are and what our strengths are and are making us play to our weaknesses. It‘s tough for us. We can‘t really adjust well. That‘s what hurts us in the long run.

NOTES

Statistically Speaking: Iowa's shooting was consistently poor. The Hawkeyes shot 14 of 39 from the field, 3 of 16 from the 3-point line and 16 of 27 from the free throw stripe.

Freeman led Iowa with 21 points, the fourth time this season he's had 20 or more but the first since scoring 28 at Michigan on Jan. 19. He made 13 of 15 free throws, but had six turnovers to one assist.

Cyrus Tate pulled down a game-high eight rebounds but scored on five points on 2 of 4 field goals. Kelly was the only other Hawkeye in doubles figures, scoring 10 points.

Iowa was outrebounded, 36-27, including 10-6 on the offensive glass. The Hawkeyes turned it over 13 times to Illinois' seven. The Illini held a 13-5 advantage in points off of giveaways.

Shaun Pruitt paced Illinois with 18 points on 7 of 10 field goal shooting.

Illinois connected on 16 of 19 free throw attempts.

Minute-by-Minute: Tate (39), Gorney (29), Freeman (39), Johnson (39), Kelly (38), Peterson (4), Looby (12).

PutBacks

-Iowa hosted three recruits this weekend - Chris Babb. Aaron Fuller and Harrison Barnes - and two signees in the next class - Matt Gatens and Anthony Tucker - also took in the game from behind the Hawkeye bench.

-Seniors Seth Gorney, Justin Johnson and Kurt Looby were honored before the contest, their last in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Each received a very loud round of applause and cheers from the fans.

-The announced crowd was 15,500, a sellout, the first of the season. Plenty of Illinois orange was sprinkled throughout the crowd.

-St.Joseph's (Westchester, Ill.) High Coach Gene Pingatore watched the game from behind Iowa bench. Pingatore coached Freeman in high school and also was featured in the Academy Award winning documentary, Hoops Dreams.

-Iowa (12-18 overall, 5-12 Big Ten) lost for the sixth time in their last seven games. The Illini (12-17, 4-12) won for just second time in their last eight games.


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