This one stung for a 10-year old boy who found his love for Iowa State Basketball for the first time. It was 1997, and while Iowa State had some pitiful jerseys, they were 22-8 and had just beaten #3 seed Cincinnati in a thriller a few days before on their way to their first Sweet Sixteen since 1986.
Led by tough coach Tim Floyd and sharp-shooting First Team All-Big 8 guard Dedric Willoughby, this Cyclone squad was relentless. In all, they had five seniors (four of them transfers), and only went six deep, but they were fun to watch.
I remember this game vividly, and kid you not, still have the VHS tape back home. UCLA was the equivalent of the New England Patriots at this time, having won the NCAA Championship only two years before, but had just brought in a risky hire in snake-oil salesman coach Steve Lavin.
The game started late (as the previous NCAA game had gone to double OT), and this 10-year old boy had to go to bed, only to stay up the entire night anyway listening to it from my bedroom.
Iowa State started off hot, and by hot I mean Dedric Willoughby was on fire. This stud hit 8 three-pointers, including a four-point play, and Iowa State got up by as much as 16 in the second half.
And then UCLA started clawing back. Led by little known point guard Cameron Dollar (who of course had a career-high in points), the Bruins staged a comeback and forced overtime.
Fast forward to 1:17 in this video…
After Shawn Bankhead laid in a beautiful layup off an inbounds pass with 9 seconds to go, Dollar went the length of the floor, clearly pushed off Jacy Holloway, and, over the outstretched arms of shot-blocking phenom Kelvin Cato, floated a bank shot in for a one-point lead.
1.9 seconds were left on the clock and ISU had to go the length of the floor.
Now I challenge you readers to watch this next play closely.
As Klay Edwards ran the baseline, you can see that his defender follows him and at the last moment (4.5 seconds in) he blindsides Willoughby on what should be a foul and two shots.
But, as you all know, the referees called a five-second violation and the game was over.
Cameron Freakin Dollar