No. 4 Cyclones' latest thrilling comeback takes down Iowa
AMES, Ia. – Iowa State has this final-minute comeback thing down against Iowa.
Monte Morris scored on a floater in the lane with nine seconds left, completing a spectacular Cyclones’ rally from a 20-point second-half deficit in an 83-82 win over Iowa at Hilton Coliseum.
“Get the ball to the point guard,” first-year Iowa State coach Steve Prohm said, “and go make a play.”
Iowa didn’t – and for the second time in three years frittered away a last-minute lead in one of college basketball’s toughest venues.
“It hurts. We were beating them the whole game,” said Iowa’s Peter Jok, who scored 16 of his 18 points in the second half. “We just couldn’t execute the last minute-and-a-half, whatever it was.”
It was actually the last 2:36, after Mike Gesell’s layup gave the Hawkeyes an 82-74 lead. Iowa didn’t score again, shooting 0-for-4 and committing three turnovers – the biggest being Jarrod Uthoff’s failure to inbound the ball after a 3-pointer by Matt Thomas (career-high 19 points) cut it to 82-79 with 1:05 to go.
“I was about to get rid of it and they called five seconds,” said Uthoff, who was the game’s biggest story until Iowa State rallied for its third straight win the Cy-Hawk series. “My fault.”
Iowa State (8-0) pieced together a 9-0 run in the final 1:42, but the Hawkeyes still had a chance. Iowa coach Fran McCaffery decided not to call timeout, said he didn't consider it, instead letting his guys go for the win.
Uthoff got a clean look at a 3-pointer, but it bounced off the rim.
“I thought it was good,” Uthoff said.
Many of the 14,384 at Hilton stormed the court.
“(If) you can play in front of fans like this that still get hyped when with you’re losing and being down 20 and getting your brains beat in,” senior Georges Niang said, “this is what makes this place so special.”
For Iowa’s four seniors starters, two trips to Ames resulted in the almost the same exact outcome. It was in 2013 that Iowa led 82-79 with the ball with under a minute left – exactly the same score as when the 5-second c
all happened Thursday – but an uncharacteristic Aaron White turnover gave Iowa State the ball, and the Cyclones came back for an 85-82 win that night.
This night will hurt for 7-3 Iowa.
It will be remembered as electric for the unbeaten Cyclones, who have done this before – just as impressively last year when they rallied from down 21 in the second half to score 22 straight points and beat 15th-ranked Oklahoma.
That was a game that Prohm, who was at Murray State at the time, knew all about.
“I’ve watched it a couple times just because of the way they guarded them that game,” Prohm said. “I talked to (former coach Fred Hoiberg) one day this summer and Fred had told me, ‘Just watch the Oklahoma game, because that was their best offensive half.’
“We were out of character (Thursday) really for 15 minutes in the first half. They threw a punch. Uthoff was playing out of his mind.”
Uthoff, oh yeah – he scored 30 first-half points on his way to a career-high 32. At one point, Uthoff was 8-for-8 from the floor with 22 points with the Hawkeyes leading 37-19.
But even that wasn’t enough to overcome Hilton Magic. And Morris, whose last two of his 20 points (to go with nine assists) will be forever remembered in Cyclone lore.
“Even in practice, we do situations and stuff like that,” Morris said. “And they always clear me out for a chance to go make a play.”
For Iowa, this is one that got away.
“We had a play called and we got a good look at it,” said Gesell, who had nine points and eight assists. “(Uthoff) got a clean look, a shot he’s capable of hitting. That’s all you can ask for in that situation.”