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January 31, 2013

Fran McCaffery

Iowa – 76
Penn State – 67

THE MODERATOR:  Questions for coach.

Q.  Melsahn had a double‑double for you.
COACH McCAFFERY:  He had a couple really good days of practice and he'd been playing really well.
Like I said, I don't always like to make changes when a guy's playing really well where he is in the role that he's in.  But I felt like he had earned the right to start, so I put him in the starting lineup.

Q.  What upset you the most towards the end of the game?
COACH McCAFFERY:  We didn't execute.  It's not easy.  You're trying to protect the lead.  You don't want to quick shoot the ball.
We missed a couple guys under the basket against the press.  Aaron's three out of the corner when Melsahn is wide open, we can't shoot those types of shots.  Those are the kinds of things that upset me.
Our execution when we were trying to run clock, run a set late in the clock, that wasn't very good.  Then we turned the ball over in the backcourt against the press with four time‑outs.  Can't do that.  You find yourself in that position, you got to call timeout.
So those are the things that hopefully we learned tonight.

Q.  What was a little different having Basabe be in the starting lineup?
COACH McCAFFERY:  It gave us a bigger lineup.  This is a team that rebounds, a very physical team.  I think a bigger lineup was effective for us tonight.

Q.  (No microphone.)
COACH McCAFFERY:  He was great.  I thought he was spectacular both halves.  Hit a huge three.  Got to the free‑throw line.  Engineered the offense, played pretty good defense.

Q.  How did he take it when you pulled him?
COACH McCAFFERY:  He's fine.  He's a pro that way.

Q.  Aaron had a pretty good night.  Career high in points.  What do you think he brought?
COACH McCAFFERY:  You know, he played tonight with great energy.  I wouldn't have said that we'd be able to play him 34 minutes.  He seems to have been tiring a little bit to where I need to play him 28.
But we just felt like he was affecting the game at both ends and we needed to leave him out there.  When we took him out, time to put him back in.  He was terrific.

Q.  Your defense keyed your transition game.  14‑0 run.
COACH McCAFFERY:  It changed everything.  It was important to get back in it after you fall behind 8‑1.  I think it was a 16‑2 run there.  You're right, it was defense in transition.

Q.  Did you stick with your starting lineup a little bit longer right out of the gate?
COACH McCAFFERY:  I thought Woody was playing really well.  They were playing well together.  It was kind of a slow game in that period of time, so it wasn't like I felt like anybody was really tired.  I'm looking to see if anybody was winded.  I didn't think anybody was winded.

Q.  Woodbury, do you feel he's progressed more?
COACH McCAFFERY:  I felt he was terrific tonight.  I thought about putting him back in when we were struggling rebounding the ball.  They were going off the dribble so much that I went with the smaller lineup there.

Q.  Do you feel like coming in alongside Melsahn took a little bit of pressure off him?
COACH McCAFFERY:  I think they play well together.  What you're seeing Woodbury do, he affected the game in a lot of different ways.  Defensively, a couple buckets.  He was passing the ball really well.  When they were in the zone, he was really effective as a feeder.  He was moving the ball.
In ball screens, not many 7'1" guys are out there showing them ball screens, hustling back to the front.  His post defense was phenomenal.  He was outstanding tonight.

Q.  You hit the road for two games in four days.  What are you looking for your team to do?  What do you need to improve on?
COACH McCAFFERY:  What we need to do is I think play a little bit better, again, offensively.  That's been a little bit of a struggle for us.  We hit some more jumpers tonight, that's good to see.  But our execution is still a little bit off.  It's closer.  They're working at it.  They're trying, but it's got to be better.

Q.  Is that basically screening?
COACH McCAFFERY:  It's a combination of everything.  When you're running offense, it's five guys working in unison, looking for certain things depending on how they're playing it, making the right reads, drive it, don't drive it, whatever.

Q.  (No microphone.)
COACH McCAFFERY:  I think so, yeah.  That's my plan right now.

Q.  Did Josh's shot look more comfortable?
COACH McCAFFERY:  I thought every one of those was going in.  He made eight yesterday in practice, eight.  I feel so bad because the first one looked good.  When he drilled the second one, I thought he was on his way.  Then I feel bad because I feel like every time I take him out, it puts pressure on him.  I want to just leave him in there.
But, you know, I'm rotating fresh personnel.  They don't play as many guys.  We wanted to keep fresh bodies out there to keep pressure on them.

Q.  It helps to have the free‑throw shooting tonight.
COACH McCAFFERY:  Especially in a game like this where they were fouling so much.

Q.  That should be good for the road then.
COACH McCAFFERY:  Yeah, no question.  You know, we're a good free‑throw shooting team.  The last couple games I think were not typical of who we are.

Q.  You mention you don't like to normally switch up the starting lineup.  When you decided to go with Basabe, were you confident with it?
COACH McCAFFERY:  No, I was good with it.  I'd been considering it for a game or two.  I thought he was tremendous at Purdue.  He really was.  Again, he comes right back with the double‑double, so...  Proud of him.

Q.  At least this way he was able to stay in the game.
COACH McCAFFERY:  He made his free throws.  Around the basket, they're going to foul you.  You have to be able to be strong, get fouled, make 'em.

Q.  You just ended this game.  But Sunday against Minnesota, you have a physical, best‑rebounding team in the Big Ten.  Going to have to play well.
COACH McCAFFERY:  He and Woody, but everybody.  Zach and Gabe.  I thought Gabe was really good in the first half.  I put him in probably a difficult time for him.  I probably should have put him in earlier.  But I left Woody in because he was playing so well.

Q.  Do you feel this will help you learn how to close out games in the future?
COACH McCAFFERY:  Well, you know, for the most part we handled the press.  We had the one turnover.  We made our free throws, all right?  Those are two good things.
We didn't rebound as well as we should have and we didn't execute as well as we should have.  Those are two bad things.
So if you do three bad things, you lose.  We did enough to get home, that's good.  But let's be realistic about how good we have to be in those situations because at the time we were up 14, I think.  What if you're up 5?  Different story.

Q.  What has Basabe done in the last six games or so?  He's been so consistent.
COACH McCAFFERY:  He's been very efficient.  He makes his free throws.  He sticks his nose in the glass.  He gives you a low‑post presence.  And defensively he's just so far ahead of where he used to be.
He used to hurt us defensively.  So Rick points out he was fouling.  Well, he was in the wrong place a lot.  That's why he was fouling.
Now he's in the right place.  He's seeing the game and affecting the game at both ends.  What you're seeing is a guy as a result of that has more confidence in himself, which is great.

Q.  A lot more improvement than his freshman or sophomore year.
COACH McCAFFERY:  Yeah, you've seen a lot more consistency without question.  Even his freshman year when he was putting up big numbers, a lot of those was because I couldn't take him out.  He's not making the mistakes he was making the last two years.

Q.  Did you get the sense your team was maybe looking ahead?
COACH McCAFFERY:  No, not at all.

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