What got into Iowa State’s basketball team Wednesday night in its 70-42 obliteration of Colorado?
A viewing of Missouri’s floor-storming victory Monday night over Kansas. More to the point, a handful of plays down the stretch that made the difference for the Tigers in ruining KU’s unblemished league record.
Coach Greg McDermott was so impacted by MU guard J.T. Tiller’s inspired, relentless play in the final minutes that he felt the need to show some of them to his struggling team. It worked.
“He (Tiller) had a whole bunch of hustle plays, getting down on the floor for the ball and getting after it on the defensive end,” said ISU guard Diante Garrett. “That fueled our fire and we came out yesterday (Tuesday) in practice hungry to get the W.
“It motivated us and got in our head. Coach Mac talked to us right after we watched it and told us that’s what we have to do to get to that next level.”
The Cyclones were outstanding defensively, especially during a first half where they led 37-9 at halftime, a Big 12 record for fewest points scored in a half.
Tiller’s impressive effort a few nights earlier — helping MU rally from a 14-point halftime deficit — was one of the catalysts.
“If that’s where we want to get to, that’s what we have to start striving for,” said forward Alex Thompson.
Iowa State plays at Oklahoma State Saturday afternoon. Will they pop Tiller and Mizzou in the VCR again for inspiration?
“Maybe we can watch some of what we did (Wednesday) and learn what we did right,” Garrett said.
OSU isn’t having an OSU-like season, at just 3-6 in Big 12 play, but ISU hasn’t won in Gallagher-Iba Arena in their last 14 tries. It won’t be easy.