The Iowa State men’s basketball team is now 10-3 after beating Houston 82-75 today in double-overtime. Head coach Greg McDermott spoke with members of the media after the game. Here is a transcript of what Coach McDermott had to say in the press conference.
I have been telling people all week that this was going to be an exciting game. I didn’t think that it would be exciting for the reasons that it ended up being exciting. Obviously Houston played in a way that they haven’t even shown one second of for the past 12 games. We had been preparing for something totally different and our guys, defensively adjusted to it fairly well. I think that the amount of time that we spent on the defensive end certainly impacted some of our decisions on offense. I felt like we rested on offense far too often. Part of it was just trying to adjust to the way that they decided to play the game. It is difficult to play against anybody when they are really going to weave it out for 25 seconds and then give it to somebody and drive it to the basket. To our guys’ credit, we were able to keep them out of there without fouling for the most part. And we were able to turn them over some. They turned it over 13 times. They lead the country in fewest turnovers per game. We only turned it over eight times in the second half in the two overtimes combined against a team that is forcing a lot of turnovers. We certainly have a lot of work to do. We have a long ways to go. It was refreshing to be able to find a way to win a close game and frankly, a game that didn’t look like it was going our way at the end of regulation.
What are your thoughts on Marquis at the end of the game?
GM: That is what he is capable of. He was frustrated the first half. He caught it a few places where he is used to being successful and he wasn’t used to being not able to finish the plays. I think that he only had one rebound at halftime, which isn’t anything like him. He also probably guarded one of the better players that he has ever guarded. It made him work for everything. When the game was on the line late, he made some great plays. He forced them into some tough shots, blocked a couple of shots. He and Craig made some plays when they had to. Lucca made a big three. Diante made a big shot to get us into the second overtime. We were really forced to go small because they decided to go small. When they have four guards on the floor, it is difficult for us to play two of our front line guys.
How encouraging was it for you to win a close game late like that?
GM: It is encouraging. Houston is going to win a lot of games before it is all over. This is a team that has a double-digit win over Oklahoma on their resume already. They have played some good competition. They have lost some close games. Those two guards, Coleman and Lewis, you could put a Big 12 uniform on them and they’d fit in fine. Those two guys can really play. We did a decent job on them. To find a way to make a play at the end of regulation when we had to. We executed some offense at times and came up empty. DG missed a layup. DG made a great read to Lucca on the 3-point line. He was wide open and misses it. We got some decent shots and we didn’t turn it over as much tonight as we did earlier in the game. They were stuck on what seemed like 56 or one of those numbers forever. We just continued to defend them. When you have to defend for 30 seconds at a time, that offense, that can wear you out. I don’t know how many minutes in a row that those five were on the floor together but they didn’t get much rest late.”
At the end of regulation, were you trying to foul or poke it away?
GM: We still had a foul to give so we were going to be aggressive when we went after him and fortunately for us, they kind of caught it in that corner and allowed us to trap. As Marquis said, he turned his back and Marquis ran at him. It is one thing to force the turnover, it is another thing to turn it into a basket. The fact that we did not foul the entire half really played to our advantage. We gave a couple of fouls to get to that point where we were still one short of sending them into the bonus. We were able to be a little bit more aggressive than normally we would have been able to.
Did your team learn how to win today?
GM: It is my job to make sure that they take from it, a lot of positives. Also, we need to understand why we were in the position that we were in. We can’t spend anymore time on rebounding than we are in practice. It continues to be a problem. I understand. They went small. Marquis Gilstrap, who is our best rebounder, is guarding the guy with the ball who is shooting fade-aways. It is difficult for him to be a part of the rebounding picuture when that is happening. So now you have Craig Brackins and three guards back there trying to rebound. We have to do a better job. Diante has to rebound it better. Lucca has to rebound it better. Scott, right on down the line. We are going to play against teams who are going to rebound from every position, not just the couple positions. We have to be better fundamentally. I thought that Craig flipped a switch in the second half and went out and got some rebounds that he wasn’t going to get in the first half. That was obviously huge for us as well.
Will Jamie Vanderbeken be ready on Wednesday?
GM: I don’t know. It is slow coming. I really feel bad for Jamie. It is his senior year. You hate to have anybody go through injury after injury after injury. It was a broken foot. Then, it was a knee injury. Then, he slipped on ice and it is an ankle sprain. We’ve had a hard time working that out. I was looking the other day, I think Jamie has practiced 10 or 12 times, workouts, since August 3 when we went over to Great Britain. You are looking at a guy who is big to start with, and now, he hasn’t done anything for five months. I feel really bad for him. We will keep monitoring him day-to-day. He is better than he has been. He has been able to get though most of a couple of practices. Still, a long ways from being ready.