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February 18, 2017

Fran McCaffery

Iowa City, Iowa

Illinois - 70, Iowa - 66

Q. Shot 55 percent in the second half; what made the difference?
COACH McCAFFERY: Well, they made some threes, and we turned them over a few times. We thought that would be good. But I thought they moved the ball. They shared it, you know, so they got good shoots.

Q. What wasn't working offensively? You were forcing those turnovers and couldn't convert at the other end. What weren't you able to do, I guess.
COACH McCAFFERY: I thought we quick-shotted a few times. Maybe should have moved it a little better.

Q. You've gone to that press repeatedly against Illinois, but a lot of opportunities. It seemed to be effective. Did Baer kind of get gassed the end?
COACH McCAFFERY: He was tired at that one stretch, and I actually had somebody at the table for him. And he went a little far there and then we got him out and then we got him back in. We need him on the floor, late, in those kinds of games, but he was done.

You know, we've talked about that before. He goes till exhaustion. You try to get him out before he is completely shot, the best you can. Sometimes you can't always get it right.

Q. Mike Cook was a safety valve for most of the game and then he went out with that fourth foul, lost that. How important was that, losing him to that fourth foul?
COACH McCAFFERY: Well, I mean, he was really in a rhythm offensively. I think that's where we got hurt the most.

Q. There's a lot of emotion in this game. Do you think they pressed a little bit, or is that an excuse?
COACH McCAFFERY: I don't know. I thought we did make some uncharacteristic mistakes at times. Yet we made some really good plays at times. So I don't know.

Q. Were you happy with the looks you were getting down the stretch, Brady and Nicholas both had --
COACH McCAFFERY: Nicholas had a great look at it. Brady had a great look at it. You know, Jordan went to the hole at one time and blocked, but I thought that was the right play.

That's what you're looking for in that situation: Can you execute, can you come down and get a shot, that's good, by a good shooter, relatively quickly, because you're trying to lengthen the game when you're down four or three or whatever it was.

Q. How hard is it to take a loss like this when you look at rebounding, you forced a lot of turnovers; how hard is it?
COACH McCAFFERY: I think what you do is you look at it as intelligently as possible, okay. Those things that you just mentioned were good things.

What were bad things, well, 55 percent in the second half, and you know, there were some other mistakes that we made, and there's some mistakes that individuals made that we want to try to make sure they don't make again; learn from it.

Same thing if we had won the game. You know, you go back and you say, hey, we did these things really well, but those things we didn't do well, we've got to improve in those areas if we're going to continue to win. So, nothing changes, really, whether you win or lose there.

Q. How was the crowd tonight and the whiteout for Kenny?
COACH McCAFFERY: Crowd was great. We really appreciate that. The players appreciate it. I looked up and saw so many people in Kenny Arnold shirts. It means so much to that team, and to Kenny. He's very well aware of what this day was for him.

So we're really proud of him, we're proud of those guys, and the fact that they have stayed connected to our program, and we want them to stay connected; and the fans, how they supported everything that was going on, we really, really appreciate that.

Q. How hard is it -- I know these guys have played a lot of basketball in their lives, but their first go-around, and you're 27 games in and it's a long season. How hard is this time of year on them?
COACH McCAFFERY: Well, you're right. It's hard in a lot of ways. It's physically exhausting. It's mentally exhausting. It highlights, the things that are critical in a game like this.

You know, it usually comes down to a mistake or two, who makes a mistake, who overcomes a mistake. And like I said, we did so many good things, and we did some things that obviously weren't so good, and they capitalized on those, and you have to give them credit for that.

So you're right. Sometimes you've got to go through it, and experience it; the good, the bad. You know, if you're out of the game, what did your teammates do right; what did they do wrong. Remember, they were there all week, and they went through the scouting report. So they know if somebody in particular made a mistake that really cost our team.

And you know, could somebody have communicated something to them; could somebody have recovered and covered up for that mistake, and that's the journey and that's where you have to get to when you're a young team.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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