After a close, toughly contested overtime game, the coaches of both Northwestern and Iowa had very differing things to say. Also, Alex Olah and Tre Demps spoke to the media. Here are some of the more notable snippets from the press conference:
- Fran McCaffery focused on how his team didn't have nearly the interior presence it usually does: "We didn't finish at the rim and we didn't establish ourselves there at all." This was partly due to solid Northwestern defense along with poor Iowa offense.
- McCaffery also mentioned how he didn't think his team struggled against Northwestern's 2-3 zone, even though it shot just 32 percent from the field. McCaffery certainly did not have much to say on the afternoon's festivities.
- McCaffery declined to comment on the officiating in this game, which he was notably upset with during play. When a reporter asked him to give his thoughts on the referees, McCaffery refused and his portion of the press conference promptly ended. The Iowa coach elaborated on very little to the media and was visibly frustrated with his team's second-straight disappointing loss.
McCaffery has cut off just about every reporter when asking a question. He's really unhappy.— Inside NU (@insidenu) February 15, 2015
Reporter: "Getting frustrated?" McCaffery: "What do you think?" And the press conference ends there.— Inside NU (@insidenu) February 15, 2015
- On the other hand, Northwestern's Chris Collins was upbeat, if not incredibly relieved, after what was undoubtedly one of his toughest months in basketball. He referred back to how disappointed he was in his team and how different he feels today: "We had a great three days of practice...If you look at everyone who played in this game, everyone did something to help the win."
- Collins talked about how Dave Sobolewski, who has seen his role get heavily diminished this season, made big free throws to seal the win. He also mentioned Nathan Taphorn, whose return from injury was a big reason for the win: "Nathan made the big three at the top of the key. He was also the inbounder who got the ball in cleanly for us."
- Collins even referred to the divine, discussing how he is a believer in the "basketball gods" and thinks they finally gave his team a reason to be happy: "I think you get what you deserve and [the players] deserved this win. That shot by Uthoff [to send the game to overtime] was meant to test us, in a sick kind of way."
- Collins said how even though his team almost let this game get away, his players never gaved up. "The looks I saw in the huddle were determined, and different from those against Michigan State and Maryland," Collins said, in reference to his team's recent tough losses.
- Sanjay Lumpkin, who didn't score in the game but made some important defensive plays, was praised by Collins, who cited the two fouls he committed in overtime on Iowa's center Adam Woodbury: "Woodbury had two wide open dunks in overtime and Lumpkin took two hard fouls to prevent them. He went 1-4 from the free-throw line instead of getting the two dunks. That's hard basketball."
- Collins summed up his thoughts in a six powerful words: "Losing stinks and winning is fun." For Collins' young team, after a win like this, it sure is nice to be able to focus on the "fun" part of that sentence, and not the part that stinks.
- Olah didn't have much to say, but he did mention how he enjoys the 2-3 zone Northwestern used today: "It makes it harder for the offense to score." He also said how it makes him the "quarterback of the defense."
- Olah also talked about how confident Collins was that his team was going to win: "He kept saying 'we're gonna win, we're gonna win.' We really wanted to win this one."
- Taphorn's three, according to Olah, really energized the Wildcats. Olah: "When he made that three, I was so hyped." Well said, Alex.
- Demps said how the team "came together" even in the wake of the long losing streak. He emphasized how he and his teammates were "able to respond every time" when Iowa made repeated pushes to get back in the game. He also talked about the positivity on the bench, even as the Hawkeyes forced overtime.