Following his team’s thrilling victory Thursday night, Iowa men’s basketball coach Fran McCaffery broke down how the Hawkeyes overcame a 9-point deficit in the final 4 minutes, 15 seconds to beat No. 22 Wisconsin in Madison, 59-57, on the Iowa Radio Network.
ON THE SUCCESS OF IOWA’S DEFENSIVE PRESSURE LATE: “It’s impressive from a lot of different standpoints, No. 1. The way that works is everyone has to be connected and they were. That’s why they had to take 2 timeouts and they had 2 turnovers. I thought what was really important, a couple of times in that last 2 or 3 minutes we executed well and got really good shots and didn’t score, but we didn’t panic. We didn’t run around and start chopping people. We got it to a one-possession game. Just don’t panic and keep coming and that’s what we did. What a great court awareness play by Cordell Pemsl to get a traffic rebound and get it to Jordan (Bohannon) who is wide open (for the game-winning shot). (I) couldn’t be more proud of these guys right now.
ON NICHOLAS BAER’S REBOUND AFTER BRONSON KOENIG MISSING TO SEAL THE WIN: “Great court awareness by him. He got the rebound with 4 or 5 (seconds left) and he dribbled the clock out without them fouling him or anything like that. He would have made them anyways, but it’s one of those things to be able to get that rebound and dribble out the clock and get the ‘W.'”
ON IOWA’S TOUGHNESS IN THE FINAL MINUTES: “I think a lot of it comes down to rebounding. They are plus-8 on the glass on the season and we out rebound them by 10. We talked about that early on, when we weren’t playing as well on the road we weren’t rebounding the ball the way we are now. You can overcome 19 turnovers. We had 10 turnovers in the first half. Probably 4 or 5 of those were uncharacteristic. In the second half we still had a few too many uncharacteristic turnovers. We turned them over 9 times in the first half and they only had 4 in the second half. The way you overcome that is you got to rebound the ball and you got to keep them off the free-throw line. They shot 14 and you got to make some 3s, which we did.”
ON BOHANNON’S GAME-WINNING SHOT: “It had to mean a lot to him. How many times has he made that drive up here to see Jason and Zach (his brothers), weeknights, weekends, support them and it was great to see Zach here. He’s been to every game. Plus, his mom and dad are here. I’m really happy for him and proud of him. I would argue, there is nothing about that shot that surprises me at all. You still have to look at the personal side of situations and say you know what for him and that family it was a very special moment.”
ON 12-0 RUN LATE IN THE FIRST HALF: “We had a good mixture of transition and half-court offense. Again, a lot of times we had some pretty good looks at it and it didn’t go in. That one stretch in the second half it seemed like we went forever without getting a basket. I kept saying we are getting good shots. Pete (Jok) has been open. Jordan missed a couple in that stretch. Isaiah (Moss) missed one. We had a lot of misses that were good shots being taken by the right people. As a coach that is all you can be concerned about. Put your guys in a position to win and make sure they are connected and execute. That is what they were. They shared it. They moved it. Nobody was putting their head down and playing crazy. When you keep playing that way that is the definition of composure.”
ON JOK AND THE FLAGRANT FOUL AFTER GETTING TANGLED UP WITH ZAK SHOWALTER: “I think he hit him, but what happened was he was trying to swing his arms to get open. That is a tough call for an official. Who was the instigator? Whose fault was it? Was it intentional? Patrick (Driscoll) is one of the best (refs). He was really professional as always.”
ON SENIOR DAY COMING UP ON SUNDAY: “I hope (the fans) recognize just how special Peter Jok has been. Unfortunately, they don’t understand who Dale Jones is. That is just one of the worst examples of bad luck I’ve ever seen, but he’s been terrific this year as a human being and as a leader. Peter Jok came in, coming off what some people thought was a career-ending injury and he comes back to earn Mr. Basketball (in high school). He signs with his home school in the state. He was terrific as a freshman, playing behind some guys. We had a veteran team. His sophomore year he breaks into the starting lineup and he’s been one of the best players in our league ever since, but again, I’ve said this to you guys before. He’s just a special individual that means a lot to me because my staff and I can do the best job of anybody in the country in recruiting, but the most important thing in recruiting is your players and their ability to attract talent to this institution and connect with those guys when they visit. Pete is one of the best I’ve been around. Everybody that visits loves Pete. Even some of the guys that don’t come here stay in touch with Pete. He’s got that unique, magnetic personality and so we are going to miss him on the floor. We are going to miss him off the floor. We are going to miss him in the locker room because he is just a delightful person.”