I'm not sure what it is right now. Either Missouri has done an awful job of getting ready for the Cyclones, playing like crap, and leaving them in the game OR the Cyclones have done an awesome job of preparing for the Tigers this season. At second thought, it's probably a little bit of both. It was a game that the Tigers were handing over to the Cyclones, only for the Cyclones to hand right back to the Tigers.
Our guys battled and they get credit for that. But at the end of regulation and at the end of OT, we couldn't seal the deal. Believe it or not, I'm not real upset about it. ISU hasn't come through in this type of a situation over and over, so what was to make me think they'd be able to get all clutch and execute when needed the most? It sucks, but it's honestly how I felt and still feel this morning. I've said it before, but when it's time to execute our guys forget what got them in that situation to win the game, and do something out of their character.
Gilstrap was coming up clutch down the stretch time and again, but on the last possession in the 2nd half, we leave the ball in DG"s hands. In OT, we have it in Christopherson and Dendy's hands. This isn't ripping on those guys, but you need to have a go-to type of a guy who's touching the ball down the stretch and making the big plays. Gilstrap has shown more than the other guys that he can do that. He's made some big 3s in games in the past, and seems to know when to take an outside shot, and when to put the ball on the floor and drive. It's like he's played on a teams that have won before (I believe he did play for the #2 JUCO in the Nation last year), while the rest of the team really hasn't done a lot of winning (in which they haven't).
Honestly, when we're trying to close out the first half, or do something at the end of regulation, we look like we're trying to do what other teams do (point guard isolation), but haven't practiced it, or guys not being confident with it. So it just looks like ISU is going through the motions, trying to look like something they're not, almost never really putting up any kind of a high percentage shot. I wish they would have scrapped that approach, and tried to come up with a couple of sets that the guys know well, and are comfortable executing. It doesn't matter what it looks like; all that matters is that the players can execute with confidence. The closing seconds is when you need to make a basket, and the guys should have some kind of bread and butter. We never do any kind of isolation when we're in our halfcourt set in a normal situation, so when it's crunch time, it doesn't seem genuine when we try to do it.
It was just so fitting to be in a situation to have the ball with 12 seconds left in OT, with a chance to win the game, that we'd turn the ball over, that would result in Mizzou hitting a basket at the buzzer. We didn't deserve to win it. Playing hard and battling with a team better than you is great. But when you're not smart, and not disciplined, I have a hard time feeling bad for you when you lose. Mizzou was sloppy and not prepared, but down the stretch they were a much smarter and more disciplined team.
The Cyclones play their last regular season game on Saturday at K-State. It would be a moral victory of sorts if they could keep the score close.