The losing skid has ended! Iowa State got their act together, and pulled off a big win against a team that needed a win to stay in the NCAA tournament bubble conversation. We ended their hopes and dreams! I know this is not football, but whenever you can ruin the Huskers season in any sport, it feels good, doesn't it?
The game went very similarly to all of the others, and I'm not sure if there was a single fan in the building that felt confident Iowa State would pull it off. They would be crazy to, given the team had been in these same situations before and did not get the job done. Iowa State has a 2 point lead with a minute left or so, Diante turns the ball over with 36 seconds left in regulation. Nebraska gets to the line and tie the game. Like I said, we have seen that before.
When Nebraska only made 1 of 2, I thought maybe this game would be different. Diante hit 4 big free throws, and I thought maybe, just maybe, Iowa State was going to pull it off! But then what ended up happening is what all Cyclones fans probably feared the most. Lance Jeter pulls up and takes a NBA-distance 3 with 3 seconds left in regulation that sent the game in OT.
Damn. At this point, I thought we were screwed. Nebraska carried all of the momentum into OT, and as a Cyclone fan, you just never feel good about OT, no matter what. But then, the Cyclones MVP (in my mind) Jamie Vanderbeken stepped up. He got Iowa State started with their first 5 points. But like how most Iowa State games would go, Nebraska would rally and actually take control of the game with a 2 point lead off a McCray three pointer with 2:00 left.
Damn again, is what went through my mind. The lead slipped away, Iowa State was going to find a way to lose, and we'd all be disappointed as heck. But then something happened. Iowa State played a little bit of defense. They made two big defensive stops, Diante made a huge layin to get the clutch-monkey off his back and give Iowa State the lead again. Lance Jeter does what he does and makes it interesting, hitting a 3 with 0.8 seconds left, but Iowa State gets the ball inbounded and locks up their 2nd conference victory of the season.
The Cyclones fans celebrated by throwing crap out on the floor, and hugging each other. If you were in Hilton this afternoon, you would have thought Iowa State won the Big 12, or locked up a NCAA tournament spot from the fan's reactions. We just were all so damn happy for this team, a team who worked their butts off all season, to have something positive go their way. All of that hard work paid off finally, and while it feels good for us fans, it has to feel that much better for the players and coaches.
The official attendance today was 12,684, and from looking at butts-in-seats, it was probably around 11,600-12,000 fans there. How many fanbases would show up like that to watch a 1-12 team? It is awesome this team is still getting the fan support, and we all know that the future of this program is very bright. Being a Cyclone fan is about having pride and loving your team no matter what, and I think Cyclones fans this year are showing their pride and support this year. It is awesome.
Going back to the game, the whole starting five got into double figures, and they all had good shooting performances this game. Only Jake Anderson, going 4-9 shot less than 50% from the starting 5 today.
On the Nebraska side, props definitley goes Lance Jeter's way. He took over the game at times, dropped 27, got 10 boards, and damn near willed the Huskers to a victory today. This is a 31% three point shooter going 5-7 from beyond the arc, and making a lot of those threes when Nebraska was desperate for a basket. As a Cyclone fan, I'm happy we will not have to see any more of Jeter. I put his abilities right up there with the best point guards in the conference.
Overall, a much needed win, and it was fun to be at Hilton. Iowa State takes on Colorado on Wednesday night, in the last home game of the year.