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Basketball

Williams: Still hope for the 2010 Cyclones

By Chris Williams

Moral victories. Do you believe in them? I know that the athletes in Iowa State’s locker room last night sure don’t. Greg McDermott said that doesn’t during the Cyclone Radio Network’s post game show last night. I have never asked him, but I about guarantee you that Jamie Pollard isn’t a fan of them.

Last night, the top-ranked Texas Longhorns came into Ames and beat the Cyclones by a 90-83 final but strangely enough, that loss made me feel better about the psyche of this team than any of their 11 victories.

I guess that makes me a fan of this specific moral victory.

Call me crazy, but that’s the truth.

What we saw out of this team last night was heart Fanatics. Last night, the Cyclones showed that they have it. They showed that they still care about playing serious basketball and that they aren’t about to fold up the tent and call it a season.

Game on. That’s my outlook for the rest of the 2010 Iowa State men’s basketball season. Game on. It is a whole new season starting Saturday because let’s face it. Nobody gave Iowa State a chance to win that game last night anyway. We all had the Cyclones pegged at 0-1 to start conference play. Up next is Nebraska. Then a road trip to Texas Tech. In my opinion, those are two winnable games. We’ll debate that later.

At the end of the day, nobody can argue that Iowa State just took the best team in the nation down to the wire. The Cyclones made number one sweat. Last night, Iowa State proved that they could play with anybody.

You want to know what the best thing about the game was? It’s that Texas actually played really well. This wasn’t a 35 percent field goal percentage night that the Longhorns turned in. Avery Bradley was 10-of-14 from the field. Damion james went off for 23 and 14.

Texas is really good and they showed up last night. Iowa State had this team down at half and realistically could have won the game. So you’re telling me that everybody should pack up and call it an era?

Where is Lee Corso at right now? Can I please find the old man…Oh…here he comes. It is cameo time.

“Not so fast my friend.”

Thank you Lee.

Look Fanatics…I’m not going to sit here and promise and NCAA Tournament berth on the 14th day of January. I’m not even going to guarantee you a winning record in the Big 12. All I know is that before tonight, I honestly was starting to doubt how much these particular Cyclones actually wanted to be in Ames playing basketball for Iowa State.

I am happy to report to you today that last night, the team proved me wrong.

Can I say it again? Bring on Nebraska. Bring on Tech. Bring on Kansas. Bring on everybody.

A new season starts today.

Stats that make you go hmm

The key to this game was obviously the first five minutes of the second half. Specifically, it was the first 1:26 of the second half where Texas began the period on an 8-0 run. That has been beaten to death so I am going to go another direction this morning. The 3-point shot dictated the outcome of this game as much, if not more than any other statistic.

Iowa State went 6-for-9 from 3-point range in the first half. The Cyclones struggled going 1-for-10 in half number two. As for the top-ranked Longhorns, consistency was the story of the night. Texas hit four 3-pointers in each half including their outstanding freshman Avery Bradley going 4-for-4 from behind the arc. Iowa State’s Lucca Staiger started off red hot but finished 4-for-9 from 3-point range.

Biggest stat of the night? Well, as expected, Iowa State didn’t outrebound Texas but they came close. The Longhorns ripped down 42 boards to Iowa State’s 38. Another moral victory but still, I’ll take it. That is improvement and it gives me hope.

Hilton

“The Magic is dead,” I’ve heard pessimists say. I don’t know if there was any “magic” in the old building last night but what was there, was certainly something special. Iowa State lost the game so I refuse to call it magic but for a time last night, that place was awfully loud wasn’t it? I’m not just imagining this am I? At one point, I Tweeted that my ears were bleeding.

Everybody did his or her part last night. The students were phenomenal. The team played with a ton of emotion. It was a well coached game. Just a solid night all around…without the W unfortunately.

LaRon Dendy

I owe an apology to LaRon Dendy this morning. After his performance on Saturday, I was awfully down on the junior. Dendy stepped up and went for 14 and six last night while going 4-for-5 from the field. He played a great game and I thought that was worth mentioning.

Other notes

The big story to watch out for between now and Saturday (at Nebraska) is the injury situation. Charles Boozer, Marquis Gilstrap, Craig Brackins and Justin Hamilton all had injury situations last night. Boozer was the only Cyclone who didn’t return to the game. While nothing solid was said afterwards, it doesn’t sound like any of the four were too serious. Boozer’s will probably slow him down more than the other three. Of course, we’ll keep you updated here at CycloneFanatic.com.

Around the Big 12
Texas 90, Iowa State 83 (read above)

Kansas 84, Nebraska 72 – The Skers actually led this game by a point at half. They hung with Texas A&M in College Station last Saturday. Listen…they aren’t good but I really think that this Nebraska team is better than anybody expected them to be. The Cyclones will be in for a fight on Saturday.

Missouri 94, Texas Tech 89 in OT – Mark it down right now. Texas Tech will be the most disappointing team during Big 12 Conference play. Quote me on this.