Hawkeyes Look to Defend Home Court
Feb. 8, 2013
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Frustrating, yes. Sense of urgency, maybe. Desperation, no.
It's an emotional time for the University of Iowa men's basketball team that lost two heartbreakers on the road to open the month of February. Throw in a three-point overtime loss at Purdue on Jan. 27 and it's easy to see that the Hawkeyes are close. Real close.
"We have to keep fighting, go on to the next game and try to beat the next team," UI head coach Fran McCaffery said Friday during a news conference in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. "You can't look five games down the road and hope something good happens. You have to make something good happen on Saturday."
That's when Iowa (14-9 overall, 3-7 Big Ten) hosts Northwestern (13-10, 4-6) with a 3:36 p.m. (CT) tip from Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The Hawkeyes won 70-50 on Jan. 13 in Evanston, a game when Iowa made 19-of-35 field goal attempts in the second half (54.3 percent).
"Now we just have to be able to play better in the last couple minutes," McCaffery said. "Youth is not a problem. I think what you're doing is you're on the road playing against two really good teams."
UI senior Eric May averages 18.8 minutes per game. He played 24 at Minnesota and 33 at Wisconsin. He said playing close games against quality competition shows what the Hawkeyes are made of.
"We're right there, we just have to keep plugging away and keep pushing," May said. "There are a lot of winnable games left, so if we take care of business, we're still in control."
For UI junior Zach McCabe, staying positive during trying times is important. He has scored 10 points in back-to-back games.
"You have to work on the things we need to be closing those tough games out," McCabe said. "We need to get our guys together and make sure we keep playing the next game and not press it."
Northwestern -- 4-23 all-time in Carver-Hawkeye Arena -- is shooting for its third straight win on Mediacom Court. The Wildcats prevailed 70-66 in 2012 and 90-71 in 2011.
"They have a good team." McCaffery said. "They make 3s, they make plays, they guard you. It's always a tough game when you play them."
In the first meeting, UI sophomore Josh Oglesby made 4-of-9 3-point field goals and finished with 14 points in 20 minutes. He has made a 3-pointer in three straight games, including a 3-for-11 effort at Wisconsin.
"My confidence is coming around," he said. "Every shot I take feels better."
Saturday's game will be televised on BTN with Justin Kutcher and Shon Morris calling the action.