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Omaha dumps Hawkeye men, 98-89

This news story was published on December 3, 2016.
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logo_iowa_hawkeyes1IOWA CITY – The Iowa Hawkeyes men’s basketball team was beaten Saturday by the Omaha Mavericks, 98 – 89.

Peter Jok, the Big Ten scoring leader, led all scorers and rebounders recording his second career double-double with 33 points and 10 rebounds. For the second time in three games, Jok made all 12 free throw attempts. Jok has scored 20+ points in five of eight games, including two games of 30+ points this season.

After making seven 3-pointers in Iowa’s last outing, freshman Jordan Bohannon followed up that performance by sinking six triples (6-of-12) against Omaha today. Bohannon finished the contest with 20 points.

Iowa (3-5) trailed Omaha (4-4) 53-47 at halftime.

Iowa will return to action Monday when the Hawkeyes host Stetson. Tipoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. (CT) on Mediacom Court at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The game will be televised nationally on ESPNU. Omaha faces Iowa State Monday at Hilton Coliseum.

Fran McCaffery, Iowa head basketball coach

Fran McCaffery, Iowa head basketball coach

University of Iowa Basketball Media Conference

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Fran McCaffery, Men’s Basketball

UNO – 98, Iowa – 89

Q. Just couldn’t get enough stops tonight; was it the same thing as before?
FRAN McCAFFERY: Pretty much. You know, I think it was a talented team. I think it was a talented team that moved the ball. They’ve got a really good point guard. They have multiple three-point shooters, so it’s obviously harder. But our defensive communication and coordination was really poor. I don’t know if I’ve ever coached a team that made 14 threes and lost by nine.

Q. Were you out there searching for combinations?
FRAN McCAFFERY: Yeah, I was. I think that’s fair. You know, you’re searching for combinations. You’re searching for fresh bodies. We did have some foul trouble in the first half, so that precipitated some of the moves. You know, you want to go small, you want to go big. We clearly had trouble on the glass, but they’re a quick team, so you want to be smaller to hopefully guard off the dribble and play ball screens, but 19 offensive rebounds is not a good number. We had 17. We didn’t get as much pay back from it.

I felt bad for Ahmad because I thought his effort level was exactly what our team needed; he just didn’t get any payback from it.

Q. What did you think of your offensive output tonight?
FRAN McCAFFERY: I thought it was really good at times. I thought we executed at times. I felt we could have run a little bit better. I think they were locked into that. But I mean, we shot a decent percentage.

Second half, if you remember the first 10 minutes, we didn’t score. I mean, it’s not poor execution or high turnovers. We just were missing shots that we would normally make after the first couple minutes because we cut a six-point lead to one very quickly, and then maybe in the first 10 minutes of the first half we were shooting like 17 percent, gave them a chance to go back up again. So that was unfortunate.

Q. A couple guys that have scored the bulk of the points the last couple games, is that just how the last couple games have played out or is that a trend you see developing?
FRAN McCAFFERY: Well, I mean, we’re going to go to those guys. I think with Jordan and Pete you’ve got two really big time scorers in the backcourt. You’ve got Cordell obviously who’s a great low post threat. He got a second foul early. That hurt him in the first half. I wanted to keep him out there, and then he got his third, I took him out, put him back in, he got his fourth. I don’t like to have to do that. When you have a guy that’s cooking, that’s comfortable, you want to leave him in there because he’s in a groove and he’s coming out, going back in, and sometimes you lose that edge offensively.

Those two guys were tremendous, and so was Pete. Pete was phenomenal tonight. 33 and 10, I mean, he really took the loss the other night personally. He blamed himself completely, which is certainly not the case and certainly nothing we want him to do, but that’s kind of how he is. He’s a competitor, and shot 4 for 20 and felt awful. Really committed himself in practice, came back, had a terrific game. I’m really proud of him.

Q. You played Jordan all 20 minutes of the second half. What went into that decision?
FRAN McCAFFERY: I just thought he gave us the best chance to win, and I thought he earned it.

Q. How much of that is him making threes? Seems like he made so many big threes to keep you guys close.
FRAN McCAFFERY: He makes threes. He does do a good job of getting the ball inside. Does do a good job getting the ball down the floor. He had a tough cover. Hollins is a handful. He really is. They set a lot of screens for him. I thought he really battled.

Q. Denzel and Bohannon, still making some of those young mistakes but it seems like their trajectory is really high.
FRAN McCAFFERY: I would think so, yeah. If you look at their line, it was terrific in so many ways. They both had four turnovers each. That’s probably one or two too many for either of them, more so Cordell. Jordan had the guy who’s leading the nation in steals guarding him. There was a little more of a reason there. But Cordell has just got to take a little bit better care of the ball.

Now, I do put it in his hands a lot because I trust him as a feeder in the backcourt against pressure because he’s a good ball handler and he has good feel and he likes to pass, and he’s good at it, and he finds people.

Q. What did you tell the team at halftime after kind of a sloppy finish the first half?
FRAN McCAFFERY: You don’t have a lot of time at halftime. You can scream and yell if you want to, but then you don’t have any time to give them something to hold onto. Obviously we changed defenses. We went to the zone. We called a set coming out, thought we tried to do something there, and we tried to point out the activity level that was going to be necessary and how we were going to have to do that out of the zone because I planned on staying in it for a while, which we did. We got some stops early and we had some stops I think at critical times, but we didn’t get the rebound at much, and that was unfortunate.

Q. What did you think of the team’s activity and effort on the defensive end?
FRAN McCAFFERY: Not good enough. It was not good enough. I mean, they scored 98. It’s not good enough.

Q. Zone defense, is that what you see as maybe a long-term solution over the course of the season?
FRAN McCAFFERY: You know, it’s always been a long-term solution at times. We’ve always played zone. We’ve always played different kinds of zones. Whether it would be something we would do exclusively, I would say probably not.

Q. Outside of Ahmad, did you see anybody off the bench doing anything you liked?

Q. You have a young team, you hit a rough spot here, confidence could be an issue. How do you handle teams like this? I’m sure you’ve had this experience before.
FRAN McCAFFERY: Well, I’ve had experience before with issues. I’ve never had one with consistently the same problem and seemingly no effected change, and that’s what’s been frustrating because we haven’t defended. We’ve played essentially 10 games if you count the scrimmage and the exhibition game. We haven’t defended in any of them. We have outscored people in four or five of them, but we haven’t really competed defensively like you’re going to need to with the caliber of teams on your schedule. So that has to change.

So how you do that? Well, you change your practice structure, you change personnel, you reward the guys that are playing with the kind of effort that you’re both referring to. If you don’t run back, you’re coming out. That happened today. Put a guy in, he didn’t run back, they tipped one in, you’re out. I don’t need any attitude.

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