Jan. 26, 2012
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IOWA CITY, Iowa — University of Iowa head men’s basketball coach Fran McCaffery spoke with the media after the Hawkeyes fell to Nebraska, 79-73, on Thursday at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
What happened in the last six minutes? Seemed like you guys were one or two away from seizing control.
COACH McCAFFERY: I think it was fairly typical of, you know, probably what we’ve been experiencing all year. We couldn’t get a stop when we needed it. I don’t think I’m saying anything everyone in this room doesn’t already understand. You saw it.
It was disappointing, because I mean, defensively tonight, that’s about as bad as you can play. I can’t and I’m not blaming my players, at all. And we have got to do a better job. We did not play good defense tonight.
Richardson is a good player, but nine for ten, six for seven, 25 points, I mean, he hasn’t shown that. But you’ve got to give him credit. But he was going off the dribble, he was mixing it up. We concentrated on Spencer, did a pretty decent job on him and we still gave him 16. Very disappointed in our defensive effort.
In the second half, getting back in foul trouble, how much does that affect your rebounding?
COACH McCAFFERY: It’s going to affect your rebounding, especially if we downshift and play Eric at the four, already small. I thought Arch gave us great minutes in the second half. I was very proud of him. I thought White was great, 11 and 9, five offensive rebounds. When we were strong offensively, I thought he really picked us up a couple times with the put back, a tipped dunk, the one put back, Melsahn tipped it. So I think that was good.
But you’re going with your zone offensive team, they went zone, we put our shooters in; you’re not as big. So now you struggle together rebounding the ball but you figure we can guard penetration a little better, which we didn’t do.
Turned it over three times in a five possession stretch, and they went on an 8 0 run, how pivotal was that?
COACH McCAFFERY: Very pivotal. Unfortunately we made another run at the end of the half, because it looked like it was going to be about a one point game after being up 11. So it was disappointing that that happened.
They put some pressure on us, and we tried to put our head down and go, and there was nothing there. And we have got to be a little smarter in that situation to keep them on defense for a while. We want to run we always tell the guys, we want to run but we don’t want to play nuts. We played nuts for that minute and a half.
You said over the nine day layoff the team really emphasized defensive rebounding
COACH McCAFFERY: What I said was we emphasized offense. That’s what I said. The offense was, all right. We shot 49. So I guess we should have emphasized defense.
How surprised were you to see Doc play that much zone in the second half?
COACH McCAFFERY: Well, he has not done it, so I think from that standpoint, a little bit surprised but he has shown it and he has played it and he has utilized it effectively at times.
You know, he only played seven. So I think he had I wouldn’t say a tired team, but he was trying to get them to the wire where they had enough juice on offense. And I thought we got great shots against it, we really did.
I think it might have helped him, and helped them in terms of fatigue. But I tell you, we got great looks at it. Unfortunately they didn’t go in.
McCabe went for 20, career high; seems like he’s just more assertive on that end. To what do you attribute his having two great games like that offensively in a row?
COACH McCAFFERY: Well, what he’s doing is he’s mixing it up, he shoots threes, he drives the ball, he has put backs. He has versatility in his game but I think confidence is another side. He’s very confident in himself right now.
The other thing that he did, he turned the ball over last year. He was a turnover guy and he’s not a turnover guy anymore. So I think what that’s done is helped his confidence. He knows he’s not out there making mistake. He’s typically making one good play after another helping our team. So that combination of things is really what’s helping him.
The first minute of the second half they scored the first seven points; did you feel you didn’t have any rhythm or momentum?
COACH McCAFFERY: One of the things there, I think it was the second possession, they got three shots. That was disappointing, because they scored quick and then we got a miss twice and we couldn’t get the ball and then they scored.
And then, you know, we had a couple looks at it, didn’t go and next thing you know it’s tied, and you know it’s going to be a different kind of game than it would have been. We score the first seven points, it’s a lot different.
Looked like when Devyn got a couple quick fouls, he got taken out, lost a bit of rhythm on offense, as well.
COACH McCAFFERY: Yeah, I was reluctant to play him with foul trouble. Plus when I took him out then, he was clearly tired. It was sort of a combination of both. And we did, we clearly lost some momentum there, no question about it.
The separation, he just could not get to a point in the first half where he could get away from them so that they wouldn’t hang around.
COACH McCAFFERY: Well, you know, if you foul this team, I don’t know why everybody is surprised. They lost the first three games without two of their best players. They are 3 3 since then. They have not gone away against anybody. Down 11 against Indiana late, come back to win the game; at Wisconsin, same thing; at Illinois, same thing, down to the last possession. They have not gone away. They are not going away. They have got a good team. I give Doc a lot of credit. I give their players a lot of credit; they play hard and they play well together.
13 Melsahn minutes no shots.
COACH McCAFFERY: No effort. No effort from him tonight. Disappointing.
You’ve talked, it’s happened over and over again
COACH McCAFFERY: He’s got to figure it out. We have done everything that we can do in terms of breaking it down on film, having discussions with him, working with him extra.
He’s got to decide where this is going. I can’t make it any simpler than that. I told him the same thing. He’s got to decide, does he want to rebound, does he want to run, does he want to block shots, does he want to attack the rim.
Now, I will say this. He’s doing it in practice. So I think that’s probably step one, for him. Because he’s clearly struggling in the games but he’s not struggling in practice. That’s why he’s still in the starting lineup.
So I do think it will happen for him, but tonight, didn’t bring it and that’s unfortunate.
McCabe was again in the 20 point range.
COACH McCAFFERY: I mean, Zach is probably playing the best we have right now.
What do you think is the main problem defensively down the stretch, seemed like Nebraska got
COACH McCAFFERY: Well, they spread us out and we didn’t contain dribble penetration.
Will defense be emphasized now?
COACH McCAFFERY: It will, but it’s always a fine line, because we have got to go down there and score, too. Because they are going to come after us and it’s going to be an enthusiastic crowd. I think they are a substantially better defensive team this year than they were last year, simply because you have got Zeller in the middle but you’ve got long arm guys that have been around now, instead of freshmen, sophomores, you’ve got sophomores and juniors and then you have the big fellas. We’ll do a little of both. But yeah, we will emphasize defense.