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January 22, 2013

McCaffery discusses loss to Buckeyes

The first half of Iowa's loss to Ohio State looked very familiar with the Hawkeyes stumbling in the final few minutes before halftime. But in the second, Fran McCaffery's squad rallied in the final eight minutes and nearly pulled off the upset. After the game, McCaffery met with the media to talk about the hard fought loss, his team's comeback effort, and much more.

See post game video from Kevin Noon at BuckeyeGrove.com and read the complete transcript below.

Q: There were some similarities to the Michigan game. What got the team to come back this time?

McCAFFERY: We had some chances early in the second half that we didn't convert. We kept getting to the rim and they would poke it free. We had a couple of layup's. At least we dug in defensively. We were pretty good there. Once we started going with the big lineup, we were able to get the ball inside a little bit, got to the free throw line, and slowed the game down a little bit. Then we tried to chip away at it. They were up 24 with a substantial amount of time. A lot of times teams don't have the maturity or the patience to try and chip away. That is what we did. We got it up 20. Then we got it under 15. Then 10 and then under five. If Whitey makes that last free throw its 63-60. It was a big play of the game. Instead of a two possession game, it's a one possession game and who knows.

Q: Was the full court pressure just to pressure then a little bit.

McCAFFERY: Yeah we did that, but we had been pressing before that too. It was a little more effective. We went with a big lineup. Once we got a couple of steals, we got them a little sideways with their offense. They were pretty comfortable, you know shooting a good percentage and getting the ball where they needed to. It's difficult with Craft because he's a good point guard. By scrambling a little bit and trapping and running at guys, we got a couple of turnovers, a couple of run out's and easy baskets. We got to the free throw line and for us, that's how you have to do it. You can't just start jacking three's. It has to be easy baskets, free throws, and an occasional three.

Q: Your reserves came through for you too.

McCAFFERY: You know that's the type of team we have. You never know who is going to be out there. If you would have told me we would have Zach, Mel, Gabe, Eric, and Sapp out there, I would have said there is no way. That is the team that clicked. Fortunately we go 11 deep and we can do that.

Q: Inaudible question. Something about Iowa's press.

McCAFFERY: It was a combination of things. I think it was better for us offensively, so we were able to score, be it a basket or a free throw and then get into the press. That is the critical thing; we have to be able to score first. I think they got a little tentative. You have a 20 point lead and you just want to just put it way. We were scrambling and we got a couple of steals and we reacted pretty well. All the sudden someone throws an ally op over the guys head and the complexion of the game changes.

Q: Free throws were a killer for you guys tonight.

McCAFFERY: We have been so good. I think we were first in the league coming into the game. You miss 13 in a 9 point loss. It is very disappointing.

Q: It seemed like Gabe Olaseni was one of the guys that really got you going.

McCAFFERY: He is a competitor and he has a very unique skill set. You can post him or you can pop him out. He is usually automatic from the foul line. He is the one guy that if I was going to have a technical foul shot, he would shot it. He was a big factor in the game for us.

Q: Basabe was a factor for you guys as well.

McCAFFERY: Early. We had 22 offensive rebounds and early it was Melsahn. The good thing for him is he was able to sustain his energy. That was as many minutes as I have played him in a while and he is continuing to get better. He impacts our team because he is a low post scoring threat, gives us a traffic rebounder, and he's a shot blocker.

Q: It's not a win, but big picture; you chipped away at a good team tonight.

McCAFFERY: You are playing a team of this caliber in this environment; it's a positive in that sense. The disappointing thing for us is we have had trouble with this team's defensive quickness. The last two times they beat us and they beat us pretty bad. They got up in us and we couldn't execute our offense. They took us out of what we wanted to run, whether it was motion or any other kind of action. That is what happened early. That is what happened at the end of the half, where we kind of let it get away from us, like in the Michigan game. A couple of possession game and then all of the sudden we went down by 12. You can't let it get away from you. We shoot it early and missed free throw, rebound, lay up. Hopefully we will learn from it and execute better. Our execution in the 2nd half was substantially better.

Q: At the end of the half you are down 8 and White goes to the basket and gets blocked and they go down and get a score.

McCAFFERY: It is tough to overcome that on the road against a team of this caliber. They have enough shooters and enough athletes, and enough putbacks that you don't want to give them those type of opportunities. You have to keep it tighter.




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