They don’t deserve the disdain the Iowa Hawkeyes rightfully deserve, and they’re not as annoying as the always-under-everyone’s-skin UNI Pantherhawks.
They’re just a MEH program. Des Moines’ college that no one ever pays attention to except for the one good season they randomly stumble upon every 15 years or so.
Yet somehow, two very good (one incredibly so) Iowa State men’s basketball teams fell at the hands of the Bulldogs.
Let’s start with the loss to Drake during the 1999-2000 season.
I should probably refresh your memory, through I also shouldn’t need to. This Cyclone squad, who was led by the likes of Marcus Fizer, Paul Shirley, Jamaal Tinsley, Michael Nurse, and Stevie Johnson, would finish 32-5 on the season. They won both the Big 12 regular season and conference tournament titles, and would play the de-facto national championship game in the Elite 8 against Michigan State.
They also lost to Drake at the Knapp Center, by a score of 48-44.
It was a very ugly, low scoring affair, with Fizer leading the Cyclones with 13 points. ISU led the game only once, and was down by 5 at halftime. Though a Shirley putback and some Fizer free throws would get Iowa State within 2 points near the end of the game, Drake’s Dontay Harris iced the game with two free throws of his own.
Iowa State only lead once the entire game.
Since we still have another sad loss to cover, let’s move on to the 2011 loss.
This game was rather different from the 1999 contest. While still a bad loss, in hindsight, it would later serve as evidence of just how far Fred Hoiberg’s first NCAA tournament team came from the seasons beginning to their tournament exit at the hands of the eventual champion Kentucky Wildcats.
That said, it was still an embarrassing loss. Especially when you consider the fact that Iowa State humbled Drake in Ames the season before by nearly 50 points.
The Royce White led Cyclones Had only played two games prior, one an exhibition, and had not performed all that well in either contest. This had Cyclone fans feeling a little nervous as the team headed down to Des Moines.
I can include myself in that group, as I was at attendance that forgetful Novemeber evening.
Early on, it was evident that Iowa State just wasn’t all there – it was going to be one of those nights where nothing goes right. Except for Royce White, that is. His performance really showed Cyclone fans a glimpse just how talented he really was, and he lead the team with 21 points and 14 rebounds.
The worst part about ISU’s play that night was that they were never really out of the game, they just couldn’t make shots. Like, at all.
The Cyclones wound up shooting 12-31 in the second half, going 4-12 from three point territory. The poor shooting night even got to Scott Christopherson, who did not make a triple, ending his streak of making a three-pointer in 35 consecutive games.
After falling behind by 10, Tyrus McGee and Royce White worked the Drake lead down to six. Chris Babb hit a three to make it 66-63 with 1:19 to go. Rayvonte Rice hit a layup, but Royce quickly got it back down to three. A Ben Simons lay-in would finally put victory out of reach for the Cyclones.