UNI Up Next for Alford's Squad

Dec. 8, 2003

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Iowa (6-0) travels to Northern Iowa (2-3) Tuesday, Dec. 9 for its fourth game in eight days and its final contest before semester exams. Game time is 7:05 p.m. in the UNI-Dome (10,000). Iowa hosted its own Gazette Hawkeye Challenge over the weekend, defeating Northern Illinois 65-57 in the championship game after a 70-54 win over Eastern Washington Friday. Northern Iowa dropped a 64-55 contest to Furman in Cedar Falls Saturday.

Radio: Iowa games are broadcast on the Hawkeye Radio Network. Gary Dolphin handles the play-by-play with color commentator Bob Hansen. Television: Fox Sports will carry the game to a network of stations within the state of Iowa. Rob Brooks, Mac McCausland and Karen Schulte will call the action.

Iowa has played 2,287 games since beginning basketball in 1902. Overall Iowa’s record is 1,365-922 (.597). That includes an 852-300 (.740) record in home games, a 513-622 (.452) record in games away from Iowa City, a 648-637 (.504) mark in Big Ten games and a 258-74 (.777) record in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

IOWA COACH Steve Alford
Steve Alford (pronounced ALL-ford) is in his fifth season as the head coach at the University of Iowa and his 13th season as a college head coach. Alford holds a career record of 235-135 (.635), including a 79-58 (.577) record at Iowa, a 78-29 (.729) record in four seasons (1992-95) at Div. III Manchester College and a four-year record (1996-99) of 78-48 (.619) at Southwest Missouri State. He is 24-39 (.381) in Big Ten games at Iowa. Career win No. 200 for Alford came in 2002 in a 78-53 win at Iowa State. Alford is 8-5 in the NCAA Tournament (3-2 in Div. I and 5-3 in Div. III) and 2-3 in the NIT.

Alford led Iowa to the 2001 Big Ten Conference Tournament title and into the second round of the NCAA Tournament in his second season with the Hawkeyes. Iowa earned a return trip to the title game of the Big Ten Conference Tournament in 2002 and advanced to the NIT in post-season play in both 2002 and 2003. The Hawkeyes set a Big Ten Conference Tournament record with seven straight wins over two seasons (2001-2002) before a last-second loss in the first round of the 2003 tournament. Alford’s record in the event is 8-3 in his four seasons. Alford led Southwest Missouri State to the NCAA Sweet 16 in 1999 and in 1995 Manchester advanced to the NCAA championship game before suffering its first defeat of the season.

Alford is a 1987 graduate of Indiana, where he led the Hoosiers to the 1987 NCAA title. Alford was a member of the 1984 U. S. Olympic team that earned the Gold Medal and he was the 26th player selected in the NBA Draft following his senior season. Alford played four seasons in the NBA before beginning his coaching career.

At Indiana, Alford started 120 of 125 games in four seasons. He served as team captain in 1987 when the Hoosiers were 30-4. Steve concluded his college career as Indiana’s all-time scoring leader with 2,438 points and he holds the Indiana record for career steals with 178. He was a consensus first team All-American and the Big Ten MVP as a senior. Alford is a member of the Manchester College M Association Hall of Fame and the Indiana University Athletics Hall of Fame. In 2001 he was named one of the “Top 50 Athletes” in the history of the state of Indiana and was selected as a member of the 15-man Indiana University all-Century team. Alford is 10-2 vs. Northern Iowa and 3-1 vs. UNI Coach Greg McDermott.

Greg McDermott is in his third season as the head coach at Northern Iowa and his 10th year as a college head coach. McDermott holds a 27-35 mark with the Panthers and his career record stands at 158-99. McDermott is an Iowa native and Northern Iowa graduate. McDermott posted a 135-66 record in six years at Wayne State (NE) and posted a 15-11 record in one season at North Dakota State. The native of Cascade enjoyed a successful playing career at UNI, leading the team in field goal percentage for three straight seasons.

McDermott concluded his playing career under Eldon Miller in 1988. McDermott is 1-1 vs. Iowa and Hawkeye Coach Steve Alford. Iowa and Northern Iowa did not meet during McDermott’s playing career.

Three Iowa players were named to the all-tournament team as Iowa won its own Gazette Hawkeye Challenge this past weekend. Pierre Pierce, Greg Brunner and Jeff Horner, all sophomores, were selected to the squad. Pierce had 16 points vs. Northern Illinois after collecting 17 points, eight rebounds and four assists vs. Eastern Washington. Horner had 22 points and 13 assists in the two games and Brunner led Iowa’s attack in the win over Eastern Washington with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Brunner earlier this season was named co-Big Ten Conference Player of the Week after he scored a career-high 26 points in a win over Louisville.

Iowa holds a 29-4 advantage in the series that began with a 51-9 Iowa win in 1906, but Northern Iowa has won two of the last three meetings in Cedar Falls. Iowa scored a 63-54 decision last season in Iowa City, while the Panthers won 78-76 two years ago in the UNI-Dome. Northern Iowa also won at home in 1997, but those are UNI’s only two wins in the last 13 meetings. The teams did not meet between 1917-1980, and Iowa holds a 15-3 advantage since the series resumed, including a 10-4 record in games played in Cedar Falls.

Iowa used an 18-4 run over the final eight minutes to earn a 63-54 win over Northern Iowa last Dec. 10 in Iowa City. Northern Iowa led 50-45 with 7:23 remaining before Iowa allowed UNI just four points for the remainder of the game. A Glen Worley basket gave Iowa a 54-52 advantage with 2:36 remaining and Worley added a three-point basket at the 2:20 mark to give Iowa some breathing room. The Hawkeyes then converted all four free throw attempts in the final 25 seconds to secure the win.

Iowa started slow, trailing 16-8 in the early going before using a 21-4 scoring run to build a 32-24 halftime advantage. Iowa had just nine turnovers in the game, blocked nine shots and had 10 steals to overcome a cold shooting night in which the Hawkeyes shot just 38% from the field and made just 5-25 three-point attempts.

Worley led Iowa with 17 points, nine rebounds and five assists. Brody Boyd added 12 points and five rebounds, Greg Brunner collected nine points and seven rebounds and Sean Sonderleiter added eight rebounds and four assists. Northern Iowa was led by David Gruber with 15 points and 12 rebounds.

Iowa holds an all-time record of 113-31 vs. Current members of the Missouri Valley Conference, including a 74-56 win over Drake earlier this season. Northern Iowa is 5-33 against the Big Ten, but has only played Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

The largest crowd to ever attend a basketball game in the state of Iowa was on hand at the UNI-Dome in 1990 when Northern Iowa defeated Iowa 77-74 in front of 19,042 fans.

Iowa assistant Coach Brian Jones played college basketball at Northern Iowa.

Iowa Director of Athletics Bob Bowlsby joined the Iowa staff after serving in the same position at Northern Iowa. Rick Hartzell, UNI’s athletic director, was an assistant baseball coach at Iowa from 1980-82.

Iowa’s roster includes eight players from the state of Iowa, while the Northern Iowa roster also includes eight Iowans. Iowa’s Mike Henderson, a freshman from Waterloo, competed against UNI sophomore Ben Jacobson in the Iowa state championship game as a junior. Jacobson helped his Sioux City East team win that state title that season, while Henderson led his Waterloo East HS team to the state title as a senior the following season.

Both Iowa and Northern Iowa are playing their second game in the state series, as Iowa has defeated Drake 74-56 and Northern Iowa dropped a 79-76 contest at Iowa State. Iowa plays at Iowa State Jan. 21, while Northern Iowa will host Drake Jan. 17 and play at Drake Feb. 25. Iowa State visits Drake Dec. 20. Iowa last season defeated Drake and Northern Iowa in the regular season, but lost to Iowa State in December before defeating the Cyclones in March in the NIT.