I'd be lying if I thought the game would end any other way. However, I'd also be lying if I would have said that we'd be in tonight's contest for as long as we were. I certainly wasn't expecting anything big out of Iowa State tonight - a team that was 0-7 on the road in conference, with the lone road win on the year coming over the Division 2 Oregon State Beavers. That being said, for the second straight year, the Clones went into Mizzou Arena and took the game down to its final seconds.
Diante Garrett started again in place of Rahshon Clark, and while Clark received plenty of minutes, it was often Diante that looked positively sick on the floor. Sick with skill. (I had to fit that crappy joke in somewhere.) Showing some flashes of what got Cyclone fans all hot and bothered before the season, Diante had a breakout game with 20 points. While his assist:turnover ratio wasn't the prettiest (2:5), his sense of control on the court for most of the game was a welcome change. He's always seemed like the best choice to handle the rock against pressure for most of the year, and up until late in the game, he did well. It really seems like getting him comfortable is half the battle. He shot decently enough from the field (a few crazy shots off the glass aside), and he did a magnificent job of getting to the line. Getting the rebound of his own shot at the end of regulation and putting it back almost gave me hope. It all sort of unraveled in the second overtime, but playing 38 minutes has to be something new to Diante, and one has to figure that he was gassed. That being said, it was an extremely encouraging sign for next year.
The Clones effectively slowed down the pace to what they wanted tonight. The defense did it's part, and the offense actually made the few shots they did take in the second half. It was really just a case of Mizzou having a few more bullets in the chamber than did Iowa State. Leo Lyons and DeMarre Carroll were both extremely effective from the midrange in. When a team seems to be draining midrange shots, it gets tough.
On the offensive end, Wes and Craig were hurting again, shooting 1-8 and 3-11, respectively. While Wes got back on the boards with 9, including 4 on the offensive glass, it's just another case of a bad year for him. Hopefully, a move out of the guard court next year will pay off. Brackins did manage to get to the line tonight, and while he wasn't anything special defensively, he at least managed to be a presence with a handful of stuffs.
Rahshon, the quietest rebounder you've ever seen, finished with 7 and 8. He's going to be missed next year. The fightin' walkons, Haluska and Petersen, combined for three treys, but were both essentially nonfactors, despite Petey racking up 42 minutes. You get the sense that even if Cyclone fans feel uneasy with BP at the point, McDermott doesn't.
Oh, and by the way, we still shoot too many threes. Five out of twenty is still not acceptable.
The Clones close out the regular season on Saturday by hosting the Kansas State Fighting Beasleys. If you're close to Ames, this will be your one opportunity to see him, because he's going to be long gone. And he's a good one. But, more than that, come out to support the seniors. Mike Smith and Mark Currie are guys at the end of the bench who have given their all for little fanfare. Jiri Hubalek is a guy that's frustrated us for three years, but we've come to depend on him as our rock down low. Finally, Rahshon Clark deserves no less than a standing ovation. Quietly going about his job, he's given his all to State, and never took the easy way out, despite every excuse to do so. I hope he's proud to be a Cyclone, because we should be even prouder to have him.