COLUMBIA — Jake Anderson jumped and forcefully threw his arm forward, attempting to slam the ball through the rim.
With two minutes left in the game, Anderson’s Iowa State Cyclones were losing by 30 points to the Missouri men’s basketball team. Perhaps a strong dunk would give the Cyclones a bit of redemption, one moment to cherish in its eventual 87-54 loss Saturday at Mizzou Arena. But, Anderson’s legs couldn't carry him far enough, he had played all but 10 minutes of the game. The ball jarred against the front of the orange rim and ricocheted away.
The Cyclones grabbed their only lead by scoring the first two points of the game, but lost it half a minute later as Missouri tied, then took over on its way to the blowout victory.
Missouri used substitution after substitution to keep fresh legs on the court, while Iowa State relied heavily on its starters and reserve Calvin Godfrey. At dead balls Missouri ran rested players onto the court as gassed ones needed a break.
Sometimes, the Tigers subbed in one at a time, sometimes in groups. By the end of the night, 10 Missouri players had played more than 14 minutes. Only seven Iowa State players could say the same.
"Our starters wore down their players early on, so we were able to extend the lead a lot when we brought in our reserves fresh off the bench. They didn't shoot the ball as well as I would've liked, but they made Iowa State work on both ends," Missouri coach Mike Anderson said.
During time outs, Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg crouched in the middle of his players and staff. Those not in the game circled around him, their red warm ups blocking out any sign of the coach as he urged his team to stop buying in to Missouri’s pace.
“Every time we came over we talked about slowing down,” Fred said.
Missouri's ability to sub and run is an obvious advantage, one that they used well on Saturday. If Iowa State had a strength coming into the game, it was its ability to shoot 3-pointers On Saturday, the Cyclones made four threes out of 22 attempts.
“That obviously tells that they weren’t hitting the shots they way they usually do. I think they’re one of the best 3-point shooting teams in the country, but our defense boggled them a little,” Missouri junior guard Kim English said.
And so it went, with Missouri outshooting, outrebounding, but mostly outrunning the Cyclones.
Before Anderson’s missed dunk, before the steady stream of fans began to exit Mizzou Arena with more than five minutes left in the game, Missouri sophomore guard Michael Dixon knew the Cyclones were done. He could see it.
"You could just kind of tell by their facial expressions that they were a little worn down," Dixon said.
"We knew that if we kept going then we were going to wear them down. I saw guys tugging on their shorts."