NEW YORK CITY — The following is a transcript of Fred Hoiberg’s postgame press conference following Iowa State’s 81-76 loss in the Sweet 16 on Friday night to UConn.
COACH FRED HOIBERG: Well, first of all congratulations to Connecticut. They played a heck of a game tonight, and really came out and shot the ball well out of the gate. Had a very good game plan I thought defensively. I they got us standing around a little bit.
Second half I thought we were very aggressive and figured some things out. Got much better movement and went down swinging and that’s exactly what I would expect out of this team.
So many times to fight adversity to have our backs right against the wall to go and right down to the last second, even though we were down by 17 points at one point in that second half. And that’s who these guys are, they’re fighters. Great chemistry all season long, and to lose a guy like Georges Niang still go out and beat a North Carolina and have an opportunity after being down 17, tells you everything you need to know about this group of guys.
Couldn’t be more proud of these seniors, and the way that they went out, and what they did for this program. I’ve been a fan of Iowa State basketball since I was a little kid, and seeing this program taken to new heights because of guys like DeAndre, four‑year guy like Melvin, who’s meant so much to our university, and to get off to a 14‑0 start this year, best start in school history, cut down the nets in Kansas City, win a Big‑12 Conference championship, get to the Sweet 16, even though like I talked about, what had happened with one of our guys.
So couldn’t be more proud of this group, and again, congratulations to Connecticut.
Q. You talked about the adjustment you had to make without Niang, running it through him and Kane in the past. Do you think that it was just too short of time to make such a radical adjustment?
COACH FRED HOIBERG: No, I don’t think so, because I thought that we had great pace to our play against North Carolina. Again, we did get to the rim a lot in those first few minutes, we just you know characteristically missed quite a few of those. I don’t know if it was intimidation, I don’t know what it was. We still outscored them 42‑28 in the paint. That’s usually a pretty good sign when have you that stat.
And we outrebounded them; almost 17 offensive rebounds. So when you have those types of numbers, usually you have a pretty good chance of winning the game.
I thought that we just got really stagnant. We switched ‑‑ all ten eyes were on the ball handler and we just stopped moving. In the second half we really picked it up. I thought we got the ball in the right players’ hands. There weren’t nearly as many isolation plays. Ball was swinging side to side and in turn we scored 50 points as opposed to 26 in that first half.
So just again, I thought we left maybe some things bothered us a little bit in the first half that really hadn’t bothered us all year, and it took us at halftime and getting on the guys a little bit coming out 17 to get us going. But again, we fought all the way to the buzzer, and that’s something I told our guys, we walk out of Madison Square Garden with your head held high.
Q. Talk about matching up with DeAndre Daniels and how much of a problem he can be with his size and his outside shot.
COACH FRED HOIBERG: He was unbelievable tonight. Shabazz and Boatright were really good early knocking down shots for them, and then Daniels went through that stretch in the second half where they really went to him. He was hitting mid‑range shots over extended hands, and got free for a couple threes where I didn’t think we went out there and got a hand up, even though we were in the area. They did a good job going to him. And give Kevin credit for continuing to feed the hot hand.
Q. You mentioned how you guys figured some things out in the second half. You touched on that, but specifically so much more prolific offensively in the second half. What did you kind of figure out with the guys in the second half?
COACH FRED HOIBERG: Well, that’s who we were all year. We just got back to playing how we played. I thought our pace was so much better. Any time we play with great pace, and get that spacing, get our wing runners all the way down to the corners, we’re so much more of an effective team. We just I thought were getting the ball up slowly, which is playing into their hands. They wanted to get the tempo set, and they had it set. Once we got it in our favor, the tides turned. And we got that thing up and down the floor, we got it to Dustin, who we felt had a mismatch and he went to work. And did a great job.
We had some guys that hit some shots all year that just didn’t fall tonight. And that’s the way it goes. Unfortunately in the game of basketball you have nights where that basket looks that big (indicating) and sometimes it looks like a little thimble. And unfortunately a few of our guys had that type of night tonight.