Jan. 10, 2013
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IOWA CITY, Iowa – – University of Iowa head men’s basketball coach Fran McCaffery answered questions from the media after the Hawkeyes’ 62-59 loss to Michigan State on Thursday night inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Q. Did you think the play when Aaron gets called for the foul, that was kind of a pivotal play because it got them back in there?
COACH McCAFFERY: You can’t foul a three point shooter.
Q. What about the timeout late? You’re up. They’re down three? How tough was it without Devyn? How much of an adjustment?
COACH McCAFFERY: It was tough offensively to get the kind of rhythm we needed. You know, they’re a very physical team defensively, and you need a guy who can break his man down and get to the rim and get to the free throw line. Of course, I don’t know if anybody would have gotten to the free throw line that much tonight, apparently.
Q. Do you think the four fouls called on Michigan State. They’re a physical team, were you surprised by that?
COACH McCAFFERY: No comment on that.
Q. How about Devyn for Sunday?
COACH McCAFFERY: Iffy.
Q. Did you like the toughness your team played with?
COACH McCAFFERY: Didn’t play with any toughness. No, did not. And that’s disappointing. Offensively we played with no toughness whatsoever. Defensively, we did. On the glass, we did. But you have the other end of the floor, okay? Can’t turn the ball over 18 times. They don’t change defenses. They don’t press. You can’t turn the ball over 18 times, because when you do, it’s dunks and lay ups. Here we are working hard to stop them and giving them lay ups off turnovers. Can’t do it.
Q. Talk about the spark that Melsahn and Zach gave you?
COACH McCAFFERY: Melsahn and Zach were fabulous. Did exactly what we need them to do. A junior who has come off the bench. Has been through it. We’ve been struggling from three. Zach gets three big threes. Missed some, came back, kept firing. Basabe was great, ran the floor, moved his feet, terrific.
Q. Trying to get Josh the last shot?
COACH McCAFFERY: No. Anything they’re going to be switching late. So you’ve got to take what’s there. You’ve got to put enough guys that can score, and hope they breakdown at some point. When they’re up three, they’re going to give you a two under eight seconds. Not give it to you, but they’re going to be up, taking away the three.
We felt like the first time we took the two and ended up getting fouled. The second time we end up shooting it because we didn’t have any time left.
Q. What are your thoughts on what you got out of Eric May?
COACH McCAFFERY: I thought Eric May was spectacular. You know, but he always is. He gives you everything he’s got. He executes. He defends. He’s all over the glass, and it came very close to that last rebound when we missed the free throw and would have tied the game. He came from the top of the key and almost got it.
Q. The toughness you mentioned, was it youth, physicality, intimidation? Anything else?
COACH McCAFFERY: What you have to be able to do in this situation is execute your offense whether you’re running motion or set plays. We worked a lot in the last three days on that, and we didn’t do it. What we ended up doing was having some good players make some good plays at times.
We got some transition opportunities. But we didn’t execute at any point in time when we really needed a basket. We needed to get the ball inside. We needed to get the ball to somebody. Everything that we got was kind of off of now, again, going back to your earlier point, Mike. A little bit because of how they play. You know, there’s going to be a little bit of that.
The X is going to be on the O. So your screening action is going to be a little different. They’re going to knock you out of your timing and spacing and things of that nature. But you’ve got to be able to get the ball where it needs to get to and space the floor accordingly and run a set play if you need to, and we couldn’t do that today.
Q. What, if anything, do you tell Anthony after a game like this where he had an opportunity to tie it at the end and wasn’t able to hit that second one?
COACH McCAFFERY: You know what, I’m not going to say anything about the free throw. The kid missed the free throw. He’s human. He’s a great person. What I’m not happy with is four turnovers and how they happened, and that’s what to me he has to address. He jacked up too many threes in the first half, and he had too many turnovers at critical times.
We had momentum, and next thing you know they’re dunking the ball. That cannot happen. Now you could say well, we’ve got two freshman point guards out there. I don’t care. They’re not freshmen any more. I don’t care if you’re a freshman. I don’t care what grade you’re in. You cannot turn the ball over in those situations. You might have a bad shooting day. You might miss a free throw. You might make a mistake in terms of I thought I was supposed to lineup here, and I was over there. Especially Mike because we’re moving him around. Clemmons plays one spot. Get us to our stuff. That’s what I need you to do.
Q. Scored on one of your last 13 possessions in the first half. Is that the offense lacking toughness right there?
COACH McCAFFERY: It was a combination of that. We didn’t execute anything well. We were a little bit tired. They ratcheted defense up a little bit at that point knowing the score and so forth. So that was, I think, a combination of things.
Q. Is there, maybe there wasn’t, but was there a moment or play down the stretch that really stood out to you in defining the outcome?
COACH McCAFFERY: We got three, and didn’t get the rebound and fouled the three point shooter. That’s the bad play. You’ve got to get that rebound. We had been doing a pretty good job in the zone rebounding, and that’s a worry that a lot of coaches have when you go zone, rebounding responsibilities, a lot of threes, a lot of long rebounds. Got to run them down. We get that rebound, and it would be a different game.
Q. What do you do to make them tougher? It seems that that’s been the theme this week?
COACH McCAFFERY: Well, clearly, they’ve got the message on defense. We were tough on defense. We guarded them and we rebounded with them and blasted them, but it’s a different kind of toughness. It’s a mental toughness, and an understanding of how you’ve got to run certain things offensively.
What are we trying to get? How do we have to execute? Because you’re going to be on the road, there is going to be pressure because of the timing and scoring and pressure defensively, pressure from the crowd. So we’ve got to be able to go out and execute offensively in those situations so we get a good shot opportunity and get a good driving opportunity.
We made a couple of decent plays. We’ve got a couple of screen rolls late. Basabe caught the ball and finishes. We had a number of opportunities where we tried to run stuff, had guys open and we didn’t throw the ball. Timing was a little bit off, whatever. That’s going to come with a little more experience.
But, again, it’s like, okay, if we’re coming out of the timeout, we’re going to run it. And I want to get the ball where I have to get it to, and I’m going to get it to where it has to go. So if I’ve got to dribble it here and throw it there. All right. Now if it’s fronted and denied, that’s another story. Now we’re going to run something else here or we’re going to go into our motion.
Q. In a league that’s this tough and this deep. How important is it to get NCAA resume wins like tonight?
COACH McCAFFERY: I’m not thinking about that at all. I’m just thinking about how we’re going to win the next game on our schedule. Obviously, we’re disappointed. We had an opportunity to win this game. We had an opportunity to win, and we didn’t have an opportunity to win the Michigan game. We didn’t put ourselves in that position. All right. But we learned from it and played better.
We were better tonight than we were against Michigan. That’s a good step in the right direction. Now we’ve got to go on the road and play a team that’s going to execute to perfection and they’re going to shoot it, and we’ve got to be better at both ends of the floor.
Q. Have May and McCabe played well enough tonight to earn starts?
COACH McCAFFERY: Devyn starts when he’s healthy. No question about that. Eric will go back to the bench if Dev is okay.