Williams: A fitting ending
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DAYTON, Ohio --- One of Hollywood’s best screenwriters couldn’t script out what happened to Iowa State on Sunday afternoon in the NCAA Tournament’s Round of 32.
A year full of doubt (picked to finish eighth in the Big 12), controversy (Kansas) and buzzer beaters (Kansas and Texas) came to an end at the hands of the West Region’s No. 2-seed, Ohio State, all thanks to a late controversial charge/block call and you guessed it, an Aaron Craft buzzer beater that ultimately ended Iowa State’s 2012-13 campaign.
Forty minutes of basketball impeccably represented the vast span of 35 games.
But with what was at stake against the Buckeyes, this one hurt so much more.
“It was tough,” said Korie Lucious, who led Iowa State with 19 points. “We have seen so many buzzer beaters and so many shots go in at the last seconds of the game in about four or five of our games this year. A lot of overtimes and everything like that. It just broke my heart for us to go through that again.”
There are a lot of broken hearts in Iowa right now.
You know often times the staff here at Cyclone Fanatic jokes that we should create nut cups with our company’s logo featured in the center and sell them as silly souvenirs – just for fun. However after what members of the media witnessed on Sunday afternoon in Iowa State’s locker room, I’ll never joke about that again.
To us, the media, you fans and bystanders alike, this is a game. To a guy like Georges Niang and seniors who just played their final game, it is so much more. I’ve covered teams after hard losses before. I’ve covered season-ending games before. I have never witnessed anything like this though.
Watch this and you’ll see what I mean.
The 2012-13 Iowa State basketball season is over and that is a crying shame for a few reasons. The first is that when you take a look at who is left in the West Region, a guy can’t help but wonder “what if?”
With Arizona (6) and La Salle (11) and Wichita State left in the West, I don’t think there is any question that Ohio State (in Ohio) would have been Iowa State’s toughest test on the Road to the Final Four.
As the headline to this column reads, what fans witness on Sunday was actually a very fitting way for the season to end and that is too bad.
As you all well know, it isn’t easy being a Cyclone.
*** The video of Georges Niang after the game is hard to watch but I decided to post the raw footage though because it shows fans exactly how much these guys really do care. I’ve read that Charles Barkley noted after the game just how badly he felt for the Cyclones after this one. That was the case nearly everywhere you looked too. I saw Ohio State fans give the Cyclones a standing ovation as they walked off of the floor. Iowa State might not be heading to L.A. this week but the Hoiberg’s program has the respect of basketball fans across America.
*** Despite the loss, Sunday had to have been a good day for Iowa State on the recruiting trail.
“Hoiberg’s offense allows guys to be successful,” said Lucious.
I think that on the biggest stage of them all, Iowa State proved that this weekend in Dayton.
*** As if Niang wasn’t already motivated enough…
“This is not only motivation to me but motivation for everybody who is coming here next year,” said Niang. “We have gotten so close. We are right there at being looked at as an elite team, like an elite Ohio State team. It is just motivation.”
Matt Thomas and Monte Morris, listen up.
*** Would Iowa State have won had Chris Babb not gone down with an ankle injury late in the first half?
It’s hard telling and injuries are a part of sports. But it’s impossible not to ask that question.
***Melvin Ejim ended the season 0.7 rebounds per game away from averaging a double double. At 6-foot-6, he has to be one of the top five most underrated players in America.
*** I’m writing this from Indianapolis on Sunday night where I am stranded due to the weather. I just heard on television that Indy hasn’t seen a winter storm this bad in March in over 100 years. That’s Cyclone luck right there.
Tyrus McGee on his team taking another bad beat…
“It is very emotional. We went to KU first game of the season and McLemore hit the shot over me to take us into overtime. They won. Then we played KU at our place. It was a bad call but we couldn’t do anything about it. Then here – Craft shot it and there were some bad calls but that is part of basketball. You have to fight through those things, face adversity and continuing to play.”
I’ll be traveling (or attempting to get home I should say) all day Monday so we probably wont ‘have any fresh content on the site until Tuesday when oh yes, spring football kicks off.