By Chris Williams, CycloneFanatic.com PublisherFollow Chris on Twitter @ChrisMWilliams
If you were to ask an Oklahoma State fan about Ames, Iowa, I can just about guarantee you that you’ll get some "house of horrors" type of response. You know, the football loss that eliminated the Cowboys from national championship contention in November…The Scott Christopherson buzzer-beater a few weeks ago…The women’s basketball loss last week…You dig?
That has all gone done within the last year.
From an Iowa State perspective, good golly. There is something about Stillwater, Okla.
Iowa State hasn’t won a men’s basketball game in Gallagher-Iba Arena since the year 1988. For those who care, the original Die Hard and Beetlejuice were both released during that fateful year. George Bush Sr. defeated Michael Dukakis to become president.
Iowa State entered Tuesday night’s game with all sorts of momentum, but a Chris Allen lay-up attempt in the final second of the game was blocked and the Cyclones lost to Oklahoma State by a 69-67 final.
Here’s the recap.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Chris Allen – If this Cyclone senior wouldn’t have brought his A-game to Stillwater, this one could have potentially gotten ugly. Chris Allen went 6-of-9 from 3-point range and led the Cyclones with 22 points in what was arguably his best offensive game in an Iowa State uniform.
"It was good to see Chris have a breakout game like that," said Iowa State head coach Fred Hoiberg during the Cyclone Radio Network’s postgame show. "If we want to do anything at the end of the year here and in the postseason, we’re going to need Chris Allen to step up."
Here’s some good news for Cyclone fans. Allen’s game is heating up at the right time. Allen has scored in double-figures in Iowa State’s last three contests.
Royce White – How does a guy who records 15 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists in a game not win Player of the Game honors? Because he’s won it too many times this season! I had to mix things up a little bit!
White, who is quickly developing the nickname "Swiss Army Knife," didn’t play his best game as a Cyclone in the loss. He turned the ball over four times, committed four foul, went 3-for-7 from the free throw line and was only 6-for-16 from the field. But still, White made a handful of individual efforts in this one that kept the Cyclones in it and more importantly, ended a few Oklahoma State runs.
No, it wasn’t White’s best game. But if a double-double and being three assists away from a triple-double is considered ordinary, sign me up.
Rebounding – Oklahoma State got the Cyclones on the glass during the first meeting between these two teams. Iowa State took care of business on the boards Tuesday by a mark of 38-30.
Defending Keiton Page – Iowa State executed its defensive game plan in this one. The Cyclones forced the Cowboys to mid-range jumpers and unfortunately for Iowa State, Oklahoma State flat out executed and hit some really tough shots.
A combination of defenders held Oklahoma State’s senior guard, who I refer to as Keiton "Bleeping" Page to a 4-of-7 performance and only 13 points. However, Oklahoma State shot 55 percent from the field in the second half and when you compare that to Iowa State’s 38 percent on the game, that was the difference.
Missed opportunities – Iowa State snagged 13 offense rebounds in this game. That’s 13 second chances. Heck, in the span of 10 seconds at one point in the second half, Iowa State missed three wide open 3-pointers in one possession. After knocking down a school record (in a conference game) 15 3-pointers in Saturday’s win at Oklahoma, a shooting letdown was inevitable in this one. But shooting 38 percent (which isn’t bad) from 3-point range isn’t what did the Cyclones in. Missed bunnies and a 13-for-19 performance from the free throw line combined to lead to Iowa State’s first loss since Jan. 24.
Gallagher-Iba Arena – On television, Oklahoma State’s Gallagher-Iba Arena looked like Carver Hawkeye Arena during the Todd Lickliter years. According to analyst Eric Heft on the Cyclone Radio Network’s postgame show, maybe 5,000 Cowboy fans were actually in attendance on Tuesday night. If crowds like Iowa State has seen at Texas A&M, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State this year don’t make you appreciate Hilton Coliseum and the Cyclone Nation, I don’t know what will.
Technical Fouls – I hate being critical of officials. It’s not my style. In the sport of basketball, calls go both ways all of the time and in any game, the losing fan base will always have a gripe. Does Iowa State have a gripe in this one? No. Not in my opinion. Both teams do because of two technical fouls (on Le’Bryan Nash and Tyrus McGee) that still have me scratching my head. Don’t get me wrong. Officiating basketball is a TOUGH, tough thing to do. I wouldn’t want that job. But those technical fouls were ridiculous. In a game that came down to the wire, they were important too.