It looked similar to the recent past, a past the Missouri Tigers did not want to relive.
When Iowa State forward Wesley Johnson tipped in a rebound of teammate Mike Taylor’s 3-point attempt with 1.6 seconds, their teammates on the bench started jumping up and down. And after Marshall Brown’s 60-foot desperation shot fell short, the Cyclones ran onto Norm Stewart Court to celebrate their 66-65 win over Missouri (11-3, 0-1 Big 12).
Tigers guard Matt Lawrence buried his head into his jersey, but took it out to watch the Cyclones celebrate. Teammate Marshall Brown couldn’t stay on the floor and quickly went into the locker room, holding his hands on his head. Some fan took out his frustration by flinging a drink onto the floor, narrowly missing security personnel. The locker room, which usually has talking and clapping loud enough to be heard through the walls, was quiet. The only noises being made were the sounds of players quietly answering questions.
For Leo Lyons, what happened Saturday brought back unpleasant memories. Memories of last season when crushing losses were common.
“Man, it took me back to last year and that’s a place I don’t wanna be,” Lyons said.
This season’s Tigers aren’t supposed to lose games when they once had a lead of 16 points. Their press is supposed to cause turnovers and transform games into routs. Instead, Taylor and the Cyclones were able to play effectively at Missouri’s pace.
“I didn’t feel like for 40 minutes we could run up and down with Missouri and have a chance to win,” Iowa State coach Greg McDermott said. “But I thought we could do it for 20 minutes.”
This season’s team has point guard Stefhon Hannah, a player who is leading the NCAA in steals. But after Saturday’s game, it looked like Hannah was the one who had something taken from him.
After Johnson made a lay-up to bring the Cyclones to within one point at 65-64, Lawrence sent the inbounds pass to Hannah. When he was surrounded by two Cyclones (10-5, 1-0 Big 12), he tried to call a time-out. But none came, and he was called for traveling after he fell onto the floor, setting up Iowa State’s last possession.
“He (the referee) looked right into my face and he looked me off. I mean, I was yelling in his face ‘Time-out! Time-Out,’” Hannah said. “He was looking at, I guess, the Iowa State coach (McDermott) and that’s what happened.”
Hannah said the traveling call was influenced by McDermott, in front of whom the play occurred. McDermott said he did think Hannah traveled, and was pleasantly surprised the referees didn’t call a foul. Before Lawrence’s inbounds pass, McDermott said he told the referees his team was looking for a turnover, not a foul.
“He (Hannah) did not call time-out because I was right there next to him,” McDermott said. “He fell over, so it’s a travel.”
Regardless, there many things Missouri could have done to avoid what happened late in the game. As Lawrence pointed out, the Tigers could have elected to take a shot-clock violation the possession before Hannah’s travel. If they had taken the violation, Iowa State would have trailed by three points with 12 seconds left. Instead, Keon Lawrence tried to force a pass to Lyons but the ball was tipped, leading to Johnson’s lay-up. They also could have gotten more than 11 points from the bench.
“I’ll take the blame on that one there,” Anderson said after he experienced his first home loss. “There were some things I should have done, especially going down the stretch. But, again, the credit has got to go to them.
“I didn’t do a very good job of coaching there, how about that?”
After his team’s wins, Anderson says that his players can celebrate their win until midnight. Then, they have to forget about it and concentrate on their next game. Forgetting about this loss, however, could be more difficult.
“This is going to hurt. This game’s supposed to hurt,” Brown said. “Not when you have a 16-point lead, it’s not going to be easy.”