In a microcosm of the Cyclones' season, the team kept pace with an excellent Ohio State squad for most of the game, then came back from a double digit hole caused by Chris Babb's injury (warning: do not watch if squeamish) and the ensuing fatigue from lack of substitutions, only to lose in the final seconds, as has been the case far too many times this season.
The Cyclones were led on the comeback by a bunch of threes from just about everyone on the roster, including Tyrus McGee going crazy for a short stretch. Korie Lucious was about as schizophrenic as it gets today, making up for plenty of boneheaded mistakes with a good shooting performance (6-9 FG), finishing with 19 points to lead the Cyclones. Not to be outdone, his Buckeye counterpart Aaron Craft was determined to be even more Jekyll and Hyde, having one of the worst five minute stretches for an elite point guard in recent memory, but redeeming himself on an ice cold three pointer over Georges Niang to win the game. You have to think Chris Babb would have been guarding Craft if he was uninjured, and would have at least made the shot more difficult. Deshaun Thomas lived up to the scoring machine Iowa State prepared for, but LaQuinton Ross made the unexpected impact, as the 7.5 ppg player chipped in with 17 big points.
Charles Barkley is going on a near-meltdown on CBS about how Iowa State and Will Clayburn got hosed, and there will be a lot made of Aaron Craft's heel being over or on the restricted circle. Personally, I'm choosing not to put the loss on the refs, but the charge call does bring to light the widespread problem of referees continuing to allow defensive players to slide under offensive players after they're already in the air, which is a player safety issue, and in my opinion, the part of the Clyburn/Craft charge that is somehow being ignored. Duke is especially good at this, and it's dangerous. Jay Bilas weighs in.
On the charge call, college basketball refs repeatedly call charges on clear blocks. It is an epidemic, and a failure. We can do better.— Jay Bilas (@JayBilas) March 24, 2013
Everybody can choose their personal level of griping about the call, but I think we can all agree that the fact officiating is getting this much attention game after college basketball game is a problem that needs to be addressed.
Ohio State is now primed to get to at least the Final Four with all the chaos in the west region, and perhaps more, since three out of the last four teams to knock Iowa State out of the tournament have won the championship (Michigan State 2000, North Carolina 2005, Kentucky 2012).
It's a tough way for the seniors to go out, but they should go out knowing they were the keys to reviving the program and bringing back Hilton Magic. So to Will, Korie, Tyrus, Chris, and Anthony; Thanks for everything, and best of luck with your next steps in life.