Post-game interview with Iowa basketball coach Fran McCaffery:
Q. Talk about Melsahn Basabe’s performance today.
COACH McCAFFERY: What he was was very aggressive. That’s what we need him to be. I don’t think he has been as aggressive in recent weeks. It’s great to see.
He was alert. He was on the glass. He was driving the ball to the basket, running the floor. When he’s playing like that, we’re a better team.
Q. You switched up the starting lineup. What was the reasoning there?
COACH McCAFFERY: I felt like Zach would benefit from coming off the bench. I felt he was pressing a little bit. I probably did it more for Zach than I did for Anthony.
This is a team that is a small, quick, so it also helped us match up a little bit.
Q. Seemed like Anthony was pressing a little bit.
COACH McCAFFERY: He was a little nervous, had jitters at the start. He settled down. I thought he played good in the second half.
COACH McCAFFERY: That’s because he had three fouls. He got the second foul, then the tech was his third.
Q. What did he do to get the T?
COACH McCAFFERY: He said something he shouldn’t have said.
Q. Adam, you managed to keep him out of foul trouble early on.
COACH McCAFFERY: He’s getting better at that and he has to because we need him out there. He’s so effective.
You see him getting more and more comfortable. He’s got to be a defensive presence without fouling.
Q. To see Adam score with both hands…
COACH McCAFFERY: He’s always been an ambidextrous person. He’s a right handed baseball player. Very rarely do you see a right handed baseball player who is a left handed basketball player. I’m not surprised when he’s making layups or jump hooks with either hand.
Q. Surprised he made three out of four free throws?
COACH McCAFFERY: No. He’s really worked on it. He’s confident up there. I think he’ll be a 75% free throw shooter before long.
Q. Any outside action that you were talking about?
COACH McCAFFERY: I thought it was particularly important against a team that was playing four guards a lot. We had to go in.
Another thing, when we went in, we got fouled. That was a critical part of game. Fouled us 17 times in the first half because of our size advantage. But the ability to establish in and out is really important.
Q. Unforced errors the first half seemed to frustrate you.
COACH McCAFFERY: In the first five or six minutes, I was very upset about that. Yeah, we did straighten it out and I knew we would. But it needed to be addressed immediately. You can’t play like that.
Q. Are these changes in the starting lineup permanent or just one game?
COACH McCAFFERY: We’ll evaluate that. It may stay. It may change again. We’ll see.
Q. After two straight losses, did you get what you wanted out of this game?
COACH McCAFFERY: We did. I thought our focus on the defensive game plan was maybe the best we’ve had all year. We beat a team that I think is pretty good. Look less talented than they really are because we played guys the right way, battled on the glass. 38 23 on the glass.
But they have individual skills, each guy they put on the floor. We were pretty solid and pretty locked into that. That’s what you have to be when you’re playing teams that have talented offensive players.
Q. What do you want to see between now and Tuesday’s game?
COACH McCAFFERY: Well, I just want to see us continue to improve that’s collective defensively, offensively. We were better offensively tonight than we’ve been, although we still have a lot of improving to do I think.
Our motion game was just okay. We did have some movement and we did have the in and out like we said before. We did drive the ball. So that’s good.
But our screening is not where it needs to be. We did run some sets tonight effectively. That was good. We had a lot of people produce. I think that’s what we’re going to have to be all year long, a lot of people producing.
Q. You had 12 guys play at least eight minutes tonight. Was that by design?
COACH McCAFFERY: Yeah, it’s the only way they’re going to get better, settle down. I want to be able to put them in against a top tier team in a one point game. They’ve got to be able to get out there, make a mistake or two, play through it.
Good to see Gabe today. He kind of played through it, got a lot of things done. Little by little, he’s going to gain a lot more confidence.