“You Have To Keep Executing.” Iowa wins 68-62.
With 7:13 left in the B1G college basketball game, Iowa was facing it's largest deficit of the of the night- 12 points
"You have to keep executing. And you have to keep defending."
Was the message Coach Fran McCaffery hammered to his Iowa Hawkeyes. The #18 ranked team in the nation responded by going on a 23-5 run to win the game 68-62.
The change in the game came as Iowa was down by 11. Joe Toussaint was fouled on a "and 1" fast break lay up in the paint. He made the free throw and the Wisconsin lead was down to 8. The Freshman tallied 11 points on the night.
"He (Toussaint) can always have nice drives to the basket," Said Coach McCaffery. "I think, for him, his decision making today was spectacular."
After an awful performance, by both teams, in the first half, Iowa worked to get the ball inside to Luka Garza more. Garza, who posted his Big Ten-leading 12th double-double of the season, finished with 21 points at 18 rebounds, a personal best.
"He plays with a tremendous motor. So that is credit to Luka, he has obviously put in a lot of time. He must be one heck of a worker because he has taken a huge jump from last year," said Wisconsin Badger Head Coach Greg Gard said of Luka.
The fans at Carver were incredible again-- cheering on the Hawkeyes and letting the officials know when they were displeased with the calls. "They (the crowd) were spectacular. It's a weeknight, you got snow, I mean, you can come up with any number of excuses, but these fans come out either way. C.J.'s three went in. That was pretty loud. And I thought coming down the stretch you're going to need energy at the defensive end and the crowd provided that for us, without question," said Coach McCaffery.
Iowa has won nine of its last 11 games, including its last five in a row. The Hawkeyes won their ninth straight home game.
Iowa returns to action on Thursday at No. 15 Maryland. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. (CT) at the Xfinity Center in College Park, Maryland.
BONUS-- Coach Fran McCaffery talks about the death of Kobe Bryant (**kudos to WHBF Channel 4 & Hawkeye Headquarters Adam Rossow for asking him about Kobe so McCaffery could elaborate)
Yeah, the team decided to all wear Kobe's, that's why I wore Kobe's. He and I played for the same AAU coach, Sam Rines, real Philly basketball legend, was my mentor. I knew his dad really well, Joe Bryant. I knew his uncle, Chubby Cox. Recruited him when I was at Notre Dame, spoke to him on the phone, went and saw him, took my head coach to go see him in the Palestra when he played against Rip Hamilton, one of the best high school games I ever saw. Those of you that were at the game when we played Penn State, that's how loud it was for that high school game. The playoffs are at the Palestra in the state of Pennsylvania, at least in the eastern part.
So, you know, I just, thoughts and prayers go out for his family. Like I said, knowing his parents, knowing the rest of his family, knowing the impact that he made, I think in particular on the generation that is our guys right now; like us older guys a little more Michael. And then for me I watched Kobe grow up, I watched him in high school, I watched him when he was a kid. But these guys it really hit home for them and when they had the idea to where the Kobe's I said, I'm on board, I'm going to wear the Kobe's as well.
More from Coach about talking with the players...
Well it's strange because we practiced yesterday and as soon as practice was over I got up to my office, Kirk and I were watching film, and then I got a text from Margaret, she was at my son, Jack's game and said, Hey, Kobe's been killed in a helicopter crash. And we looked on ESPN, they didn't have anything on yet, because they wanted to make sure. TMZ runs with everything. And then, you know, everything kind of stopped for everyone. The players were really affected.
But when I got here today, they had already decided that this was a meaningful thing to them and they wanted to wear the shoes. And guys had stuff written on their sneakers and on their wrist bands and whatnot, so that's what we did.