Tamin Lipsey on his first Cy-Hawk game played at Hilton: “It’s gonne be a lot of fun”

Nov 23, 2023; Kissimmee, Florida, USA; Virginia Commonwealth Rams guard Max Shulga (11) passes the ball between Iowa State Cyclones forward Robert Jones (12) and guard Tamin Lipsey (3) in the second half during the ESPN Events Invitational at State Farm Field House. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

 AMESTamin Lipsey felt miserable.

  His body ached. His temperature spiked. So instead of making an official visit to Iowa State two years ago that happened to coincide with the Cyclones’ momentous annual meeting with Iowa, he slept through the first half at home.

 His future team, however, remained wide awake — and raced to a 73-53 win over the typically high-scoring Hawkeyes.

 “I just remember hearing about it, the atmosphere,” said Lipsey, who will play in his first Cy-Hawk game situated in Hilton Coliseum at 6:30 p.m. (ESPNU) Thursday against the Hawkeyes. “It’s gonna be awesome. It’s gonna be a lot of fun.”

 Time will tell. The Hawkeyes turned the tables on ISU last season, surging to a dominant 75-56 win at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. So expect the unexpected, as usual, in the always-heated Cy-Hawk game.

 “Neither of those games came down to the final minutes to determine the winner,” said Cyclone head coach T.J. Otzelberger, who is 1-1 against Iowa. “And for us to be in the position we want to be in. we’ve got to control what we can, which is all of those effort-based controllable things that we focus on and we practice every single day to carry over to game night.”

 One thing Otzelberger can fully expect is a highly-engaged Hilton Coliseum crowd that will assail the eardrums of players and coaches alike. ISU big man, Robert Jones, played in his first Cy-Hawk game two years ago while Lipsey slept.

 “I think my ears popped in the middle of the game just because of how loud it was in the arena,” said Jones, who notched four rebounds and a blocked shot in that win. “So I’m expecting it to be pretty close to that.”

 Outside of noise, the game appears typical on paper. The Cyclones (6-2) boast the nation’s 10th-best defense in terms of adjusted efficiency according to KenPom. The Hawkeyes (5-3) bring the country’s 13th-best offense per KenPom into Hilton’s hostile environment — and will try to push the pace against ISU’s disruptive defenders.

 “They really get out and go,” Otzelberger said. “They’ve got very skilled players across the board. (Transfer forward Ben) Krikke has given them a unique dynamic as a 5-man who can be a playmaker and take you off the dribble, and the fact that he’s left-handed is a unique dynamic.”

 So is Lipsey’s emergence as a potent scorer in his sophomore season. He already proved he could rebound, defend and dish out assists at a high rate last season, but now he’s the Cyclones’ leading scorer at 15.1 points per game and is coming off his first career triple-double. The Ames native is also the team’s top rebounder (6.5 per game), facilitator (6.3 assists per game), and disruptor (3.0 steals per game).

 “He knows our team believes in him and we’re counting on him,” Otzelberger said. “He’s the ultimate competitor, so he loves those challenges. He has more opportunities. He’s proving in those opportunities hat he can either initiate offense, create an advantage, knock down the mid-range (shot), or get to the rim, or hit the 3-point shot, so there (are) so many things he’s doing well.”

 That’s why Lipsey expects Thursday’s game to “be a lot of fun.” Cue the deafening noise. Bring on the pressure. This time around he won’t sleep until long after the final horn buzzes.

“(We’re) just wanting to play better than how we performed in last year’s game, so we’ve got that on our shoulders,” Lipsey said. “So we’re taking that as a little extra hit, a little extra motivation for this game this year.”