Aug. 12, 2010
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Editor’s Note: The following was written by Ron Maly and first appeared in the March 19, 1983 edition of the Des Moines Register.
LOUISVILLE, KY. – Well, as Iowa Coach Lute Olson pointed out Friday night, another basketball theory just went down the drain.
We’ve always said that the team that shoots the best generally should win,” Olson commented after Iowa survived its worst offensive performance of the season to slip past unheralded Utah State, 64-59, in the first round of the National Collegiate Midwest Regional.
Iowa appeared to be trying to set basketball back a half-century or so by connecting on only 27.8 percent of its shots while falling behind, 37-30, at halftime.
The Hawkeyes improved to 52.9 in the last 20 minutes, but finished at only 36.4 – the first time they’ve been under 40 percent all season – for the game.
“There aren’t many teams in America that can shoot 36.4 and win,” said Olson. “We did it with great defense.”
And a lot of free throws. The Hawks, who came into the tournament with only a 66.7 free throw percentage for the season, banged in 24 of 32 chances. Utah State, meanwhile, made three more field goals.
So Iowa now has a fifth straight 20-victory season, and heads into a 2:35 p.m. (Iowa time) game Sunday against Big Eight Conference regular-season champion Missouri.
“Missouri has consistently been a top 10 team,” Olson said, “but I’d rather be in our shoes than theirs (meaning playing a first-round game rather than receiving a bye). I’ve been in both spots.
“It’s a long time sitting around until Sunday. We’ve got the jitters out of our system.”
Missouri Coach Norm Stewart was among a crowd of 12,745 (about 4,000 below capacity) in Freedom Hall. An estimated 4,000 Iowa fans were scattered about the huge arena.
The Hawkeye rooters and the Iowa band made a lot of noise. Utah State was without music or many fans.
Utah State, which closed its season with a 21-8 record, rained in 59 percent of its shots in the first half and closed at 48.9. The Aggies are a short (they have no starters over 6 feet 7 inches), hard-working team that did a good job of hurting Iowa for the game’s first 28 minutes.
“Iowa was the most physical team we’ve played,” said Utah State Coach Rod Tueller. “Their physical play finally wore us down.
“There was a period when we spread out our offense to take some time off the clock, but got out of our game. We had two or three critical turnovers. We didn’t want to play catch-up.”
Bob Hansen, the senior guard who has been a consistently fine player in the final weeks of the season, banged in 24 points to lead the scoring. But he was just 4-for-11 from the field in the first half and 8-for-20 for the game.
“Iowa was the most physical team we’ve played. Their physical play finally wore us down.”
Utah State Coach Rod Tueller
Asked if the reason Iowa shot so poorly was because of nerves or over-confidence, Hansen said flatly, “I think it was a case of not being ready to play basketball tonight.
“It was a long day for us – a 9:40 (Eastern Time) game. We got up late, had shooting practice, sat around with nothing on TV. We just laid around the hotel and looked at each other.”
Center Greg Stokes added 17 points for the Hawks, but no one else was in double figures.
“I think you’re going to see a different game from Iowa on Sunday,” said Hansen. “We’re going to come out and be a lot more ready. We’re going to apply the defensive pressure all over the floor, and we’re going out there with no worries and see what happens.”
Hansen’s maturity in the final few games of the regular season and Friday night has been remarkable. He admits he wants the ball in pressure situations, and he didn’t miss a free throw in eight opportunities against Utah State.
Iowa still trailed by six points with more than 6 minutes gone in the last half, but began making its move a bit later. The Hawks rattled off seven straight points to take a 46-45 lead, the last two coming on Michael Payne’s 7-foot field goal.
Steve Carfino had made a free throw and Mark Gannon and Stokes collected field goals prior to Payne’s basket.
When Stokes drilled a short semi-hook shot with 7:04 to go, Iowa led 53-47, and had outscored the Aggies, 18-6.
“We were 11-for-15 on our final pressure free throws,” said Olson.
Utah State had to foul in the final minutes to regain any hope of pulling the game out, but didn’t get the help it was looking for because Iowa did no wholesale missing at the stripe.
Olson was asked if he felt his players were “flat” or “tight,” and responded with the comment that, “I guess most teams in the playoffs are tight. All you can do is get the shots, and we certainly did that.
“Sometimes maybe we were too close to the basket on those we missed in the first half. Maybe we were so close we couldn’t see the rim well enough.
“Sure, it was frustrating to get great shots and not score. But what can you change?”
Iowa didn’t have the zip it closed the regular season with six nights earlier in a 17-point victory at Michigan State. But that, too, was probably to be expected. After all, this Hawkeye team for some reason rarely puts together two straight strong games.
Iowa won the rebounding battle, 36-32, led by Payne’s 10 and Stokes’ nine. But it was a good thing Utah State didn’t have a couple 6-10 or 6-11 players. Battling the Hawks on the boards so well with its undersized team was something.
Olson was disappointed in the play of guard Steve Carfino. The off-again, on-again junior was limited to five points and didn’t do well on defense.
“Because we’ll be facing a fine Missouri guard in Jon Sundvold,” said Olson, “we’ll have to take a look at Carfino’s situation. Maybe we need to use Andre Banks more.
“A key stretch tonight was when Banks was in the game for Carfino. He did a lot of things better defensively than Carfino, but he had to come out because he’s not yet ready to run the point that much yet.”
Help the Hawkeyes be “ MAD” again. Click HERE to purchase your 2010-11 Iowa men’s basketball season tickets.
Olson was impressed with Greg Grant, the 23-year-old Utah State freshman. Grant, who spent two years in church mission work and sat out last season because of an injury, scored 17 points and grabbed 10 rebounds.
“Grant was outstanding,” said Olson. “He made good shots and bothered some of our people inside. We finally had to put Gannon on him, and then he was under control.”
Tueller said he was “very proud of the way we played. We ran out of gas at the end after dictating the play in the first 28 minutes.
“Congratulations to Olson and his team. They’ll have to be reckoned with in the tournament.”
Grant said he felt Utah State “slowed the ball up too much. The game seemed to go in spurts.”
Here’s a list of “MAD” Moments that have appeared previously inside hawkeyesports.com.
- Iowa defeats George Washington, March 1996
- Iowa defeats Oklahoma, March 1987
- Iowa defeats NE Louisiana, March 1993
- Iowa defeats UAB, March 1999
- Iowa defeats Georgetown, March 1980
- Iowa defeats NE Louisiana, March 1993
- Iowa defeats Santa Clara, March 1987
- Iowa defeats Arkansas, March 1999
- Iowa defeats UNLV, March 1988
- Iowa defeats Creighton, March 2001
- Iowa defeats Notre Dame, March 1970
- Iowa defeats Texas, March 1992