courtesy of Jack Alden
|Related pages||"It was a sensational beginning for us, and it wasn’t
what they wanted, to say the least. If you had told me we weren’t
going to have Moulaye, and we weren’t going to have Wayne, and
Kirk was going to go 2-11, I’d say we had no chance of winning.
But Nick Collison was sensational, Jeff Graves gave us great
minutes rebounding the ball, Keith Langford and Aaron and Kirk
were really good on the perimeter defensively. When you’re
guarding Jake Sullivan, you’ve gotta really be into it. Jake is as
good a competitor as we’ve ever played against. But I thought the
work on the defensive end of the floor for us, and the fact that they
just didn’t make the shots they would normally make, it was a great
night for us.
“I thought we probably would (play the starters a lot of minutes). It was a TV game, and I didn’t realize the TV timeouts this year are two minutes long, so there’s so much time sitting over there. You’ve got plenty of opportunities to rest. Early in the game, Iowa State called some timeouts, and we called a couple in the second half; one of ‘em I called just to give ‘em a chance to catch their breath a little bit. Our numbers are down, so I knew they were going to have to play more minutes. You take away what Wayne’s played every game and what Moulaye’s played every game those guys weren’t here so it was important for us to stay out of foul trouble, and I think that was a key to the game. That way we could continue to pressure defensively and make sure we didn’t foul needlessly.
“(Collison) has a lot of mobility inside. He’s got a million moves. He’s a Kevin McHale type, but he’s two or three inches shorter. But we thought he could really score inside, and we thought it was important for us to get the basketball inside. If you take away our silly turnovers early in the game, I loved about everything we did. And it’s something for Nick to win two in a row up here. He came up here his first two years, he and Kirk, and we lost, and they took a lot of abuse, so the game was very important to those kids, as it was the rest of us, to try to pull together. You’ve heard me say many times, when you lose a player, that first game afterwards everybody’s gonna pull together a little bit harder, and we did that tonight. The tough thing is, Wayne’s not going to be there next week either, so we’ve got to continue doing that.
“It’s truly one of the fun things there is in coaching to see the look on your guys' faces after a big win when there’s some doubt about it. To go out and play as well as they did tonight and overcome some things was really important for our team.”
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