Feb. 28, 2010

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February 28, 2010

Indiana Head Coach Tom Crean:
“First thing I would say is, for two teams that are near the bottom of the Big Ten Standings, that was a very hard fought game. Iowa is a very physical, aggressive, and cerebral team. I’m very impressed with how they continue to improve and get better. They’re a lot like us in the fact that they’re fighting without a lot of great results. Our guys fought too, and it was very crucial. When you play Iowa, you’re going to be playing a game where they’re very physical, very aggressive. Their screens are second-to-none. They know how to move the basketball and you have to know how to match that. The negative for us in this game was the first half to second half disparity in points off turnovers. Our whole goal right now is to be in situations where we don’t allow streaks. Even when we weren’t scoring, we were guarding. We weren’t letting the game get away from us. We were rebounding the ball but we just didn’t have a lot to show for it. It’s no secret right now that we’re not a good shooting team, but we are a very good foul shooting team, so we need to get in situations where we can get to the line and stop the game to set our defense. We don’t have a large margin for error right now, and Iowa capitalized on it.”

On Iowa winning the hustle plays:
“Iowa just won them. It’s not like we were out of position, they just got them. They got the 50-50 balls. There’s been times this year where we didn’t get the 50-50 balls because we were a step late. I don’t think we were step late today, maybe a step short. I might feel differently later watching them on film, but I thought we were aggressive. There were some big mistakes on the foul line, mistakes that were physical toughness issues, and we subbed accordingly. I’m far more interested in how hard we play than in anybody’s position.”

On Aaron Fuller and Jarryd Cole:
“Fuller is so much better than last year. Last year we played Fuller like [Matt] Gatens and we don’t play Gatens like that anymore because he’s so much faster and stronger now. We played Fuller in a switch-and-deny because we were as concerned about his three-point shooting as anything else he did. Fuller has made himself an upper-level Big Ten player. He has a toughness, strength and relentlessness about him that would be a great model for our team to look at moving forward. I loved Cole back when I was at Marquette and I used to see him in the summertime. He’s explosive. Whatever limitations he has, he makes up for it with his explosiveness and aggressiveness.”

Head Coach Todd Lickliter:
“I think we learned something on Thursday. I think that we wanted it to be easier than what it was going to be and there’s no easy way to win a game. You have to go out and compete. You have to play with focus and purpose and do what you do. I thought on Thursday that wasn’t the case, but today I thought we learned a valuable lesson. We got to most of the loose balls, we were active, we were in tune and we were helping one another. We shot very poorly from behind the arc in the first half but we had a lead because of effort and because we went to the glass and did things you have to do in order to win games when the shots aren’t falling. I’m encouraged by that. This team is disappointed, like I am, in the record, but I’m not disappointed in them. I’ve enjoyed coaching them. They practice correctly. They work hard and I really like the foundation they’re laying. We have a lot of opportunities ahead of us; a couple of tough ones coming up and then the tournament. This was a really good win.”

On Bawinkel’s last game in Carver-Hawkeye Arena:
“It was nice to send Devan Bawinkel out with a win. He’s been a pleasure and just a real asset to the program. He’s going to be successful throughout his life. He’s going to represent this program in a positive way forever. It’s good to be able to remember his last day in Carver with a win.”

On Matt Gatens’ performance:
“I thought Matt Gatens was very active. He tweaked the ankle again but came back. He’s got toughness about him. We got contributions from everybody and that’s what needs to happen.”

On Cole and Fuller’s performance:
“They were really active today and we need them to be that way. Aaron {Fuller], it seems like, we need to figure out how he can be physical without fouling, because we need to keep him on the floor more. Andrew Brommer gave us a huge lift too. He was very active. Brennan Cougill went in and got a big rebound. He had a couple of great looks, you’re just not going to make all of those shots but we’ve kind of been spoiled by Brennan and think he’s going to make them all. He’s another guy that’ll make the next one all the time.”

Iowa Player Quotes
#5 Matt Gatens
On the overall team feeling about the win:
“It was a big win in the fact that we were battling for a position for the tournament and the standings. [Indiana] has been playing some tough basketball. They’re a tough group of guys and they hustle. Coach Crean really gets them fired up, you can tell by the sideline and the way they respond. For us to be able to shut them down early on and keep the momentum all throughout the game, I think it was great for these guys, especially coming off a terrible performance the other night.”

On playing hurt:
“I was sitting there and [John] Streif was about to put it in ice and I saw it get down to about 13 and I’m like, ‘I need to get out there. We need to finish this off and we can deal with it later.’ When you’re in the middle of the game, you don’t really feel it too much until afterwards. I told coach I was ‘ok’ to go. I kind of felt like I could get the ball and knock some free throws down, but I failed to do that so I was kind of upset. It’s good that Cully [Payne] stepped up and it’s great for his confidence to knock down a few.”

On taking the win into the final two games on the road:
“We just need to keep doing what was working tonight. Come out with the same mentality. Do the little things, the hustle plays and play great team defense like we did tonight. Wisconsin is coached very well and they are a great ball club. It’ll be difficult playing in the Kohl Center, but we just have to come ready to play and take the same stuff we did tonight into that game.”

#24 Aaron Fuller
On the last home game of the season:
“I thought we started off the game really well. We set a tempo and I thought we just kept that going the whole game. We really wanted to win this game for Wink (Devan Bawinkle), and send him out the right way for his last home game. It’s good to win our last game at home. It gives us good momentum. We’ve got a tough game coming up against Wisconsin. I hope we can take this momentum and we can keep playing solid and keep getting these hustle plays like we did tonight.”

Hustle plays as the difference maker:
“Yeah, I felt like we were all really hustling out there, especially Andrew (Brommer) coming in and really contributing off the bench. It was great to see everyone out there really hustling and getting the second chance shots.”

On the aggressiveness of both teams:
“It got kind of chippy towards the end, but again we were both hungry. We wanted to win, but you just have to keep playing hard. We really wanted to win this game really bad so things happen like that.”

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