Posts Tagged ‘Kansas State’

Finally, Cyclones and McDermott catch a break

March 7, 2010

A group of reporters were sitting inside Hilton Coliseum the other night asking which game, if any, could be considered the signature win in Greg McDermott’s four seasons as Iowa State’s head coach.

The list of candidates was not terribly impressive. It’s better now.

McDermott has a no-brainer after Saturday’s 85-82 victory at No. 5 Kansas State, the Cyclones’ first win over a ranked opponent since Feb. 5, 2006, a span of 21 games.

It was the coach’s first win over a ranked opponent in 20 tries, including nine this season, most of any team in the Big 12 Conference.

Here was McDermott’s post-game address to his players inside the locker room, courtesy of

ISU (15-16, 4-12) started fast, led 42-33 at halftime and were tough and colllected in the closing minutes of regulation and overtime — which were played without star forward Craig Brackins, who had fouled out with 2 1/2 minutes to play.

K-State tried to make it a numbers game. Brackins and LaRon Dendy each fouled out, while Justin Hamilton and Scott Christopherson made it through despite each having four fouls with 6 minutes still to play in regulation.

Diante Garrett scored five of his eigth in the extra session.

Finally, the bounce of the ball went the Cyclones’ way. After Tuesday’s disheartening overtime loss to Missouri at the buzzer, they needed a pick me up.

“My hat’s off to Greg McDermott,” K-State coach Frank Martin told reporters after his Wildcats likely dropped out of contention for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. “As disappointed as I am in our guys, I’m extremely happy for him, happy for those kids. With all the close losses they’ve had this year, [McDermott] continues to get those kids to play as hard as he does. I’m real happy for Greg.”

Now it’s on to Kansas City, Mo., and the Big 12 Tournament at the Sprint Center.

ISU faces Texas (23-8, 9-7), which has lost eight of its 14 games after a 17-0 start propelled them to No. 1 in the rankings two days before coming to Hilton Coliseum on Jan. 13.

The Longhorns won that game 90-83, quickly erasing ISU’s halftime lead and pulling away late.

Here’s the schedule for the Big 12 Tournament (Cyclone fans will have to stay up late to watch):

Wednesday’s opening-round games

11:30 a.m. — No. 8 Colorado vs. No. 9 Texas Tech

2 p.m. — No. 5 Missouri vs. No. 12 Nebraska

6 p.m. — No. 7 Oklahoma State vs. No. 10 Oklahoma

8:30 p.m. — No. 6 Texas vs. No. 11 Iowa State

Thursday’s quarterfinals

11:30 a.m. — No. 1 Kansas vs. Colorado-Texas Tech winner

2 p.m. — No. 4 Texas A&M vs. Missouri-Nebraska winner

6 p.m. — No. 2 Kansas State vs. Oklahoma-Oklahoma St. winner

8:30 p.m. — No. 3 Baylor vs. Texas-Iowa State winner


Lacey: Future in hoops, U.S. up in the air

February 27, 2010

If Alison Lacey wants to, a career in the WNBA is likely hers

AMES – Rarely is Alison Lacey confused about much of anything relating to basketball.

Except now, as Iowa State’s star senior closes out a decorated career while also trying to decide whether she wants to make a living playing it.

“I don’t know what I want to do,” said Lacey, who came to Iowa and the United States from Canberra, Australia. “Sometimes I want to play. Sometimes I want to go home. Sometimes I want to stay here. It stresses me out so I just don’t think about it.”

One thing that is clear is that Lacey’s play this season has her among some elite company.

The 6-foot point guard is sixth in the Big 12 Conference in scoring (17.5 ppg), first in assists (6.7 apg) and leads the nation in assist-to-turnover ratio (3.3).

Lacey also is shooting 40.8 percent from 3-point range and is 11th nationally in free-throw percentage (88.7).

Coach Bill Fennelly said it may be ultimately rank among the greatest single seasons in school history.

She’s been the primary reason why this young Cyclone team is ranked No. 15 nationally with a record of 21-5 overall and 9-4 in the conference entering Saturday’s 7 p.m. game with Kansas State (12-15, 4-9) at Hilton Coliseum.

“She’s having a senior year like you hope every senior has,” Fennelly said, “and probably has put herself in the discussion of one of the best players ever to play here.”

Fennelly has had eight of his players selected in the WNBA Draft.

He thinks Lacey — one of only seven players in Big 12 history to amass 1,500 points, 500 rebounds and 500 assists — has the best chance of any of them to enjoy a lasting career as a pro.

“She’s the most prepared player that’s ever played here to go to that level,” Fennelly said. “She’s as good as any guard coming out. Her versatility, her skill set, her competitiveness… all those things. We are getting calls from every WNBA team.”

Lacey said she is leaning towards continuing with basketball, provided the injury problems she’s had during her career are minimized.

“It depends how my body feels,” Lacey said. “I feel good right now.”

The question then would be where to play. WNBA? Europe? Both?

“She could go home and be a professional and make a good living for a while and enjoy it,” Fennelly said.

Lacey also could finish her degree this spring and start a life back in Australia. Or stay in the U.S. until she’s ready to return home.

“Sometimes I miss home and miss my family. I haven’t had a summer back there in five years,” Lacey said. “But I’m ready to experience new things so I don’t know if I’m quite ready to go back.”

Fennelly has tried to provide her with reasonable advice.

“What I told her is not to close any doors until you know you are sure,” he said.

 Lacey admits it won’t be easy leaving the country.

“It’s so cheap here. And I love all the food now,” Lacey said. “I’ve grown accustomed to the way of life here. It’s more fast-paced than home. It’s really laid back in Australia. No one is that motivated. People just kind of hang out.”

Recruits hoping for big finish to Cyclones’ season

February 10, 2010

Two recruits already in the fold for Iowa State had front row seats at Hilton Coliseum last Saturday for the Cyclones’ 79-75 loss to No. 10-ranked Kansas State.

ISU’s disappointing season (13-10 overall, 2-6 Big 12) that started with NCAA Tournament dreams isn’t souring their feelings about coming to campus or the future health of the program.  Brewster (N.H.) Academy’s Melvin Ejim and Marshalltown Community College guard DeMarcus Phillips are hoping the current group can carry some positive momentum forward.

“Hopefully they start playing better and start getting some W’s,” Ejim said.

Phillips, who has been out of action since Jan. 1 because of a broken bone in his arm, has seen several games in person this season and keeps in contact with a lot of the players.

It’s not been an easy stretch for them. ISU plays Wednesday night at Missouri.

“They been struggling,” Phillips said. “They started off fast. The last few games have been rough. They’ll get it back together though.”

Both guards believe they have skills that can be of immediate help.

Phillips said he was leading the conference in scoring before having to have screws inserted below his right wrist. He’s hoping to return to the lineup very soon.

“I can be a big help at the 1 or 2 guard,” Phillips said. “I can help on defense. I can hit the jumper and make plays when they need it. I think I fit in pretty well with this Iowa State team…We’ll get back to the top of the Big 12 hopefully.”

The 6-6, 205-pound Ejim also has high hopes for himself.

“My jump shot is better and I’ve been working on my handle,” Ejim said. “I’m coming along as a player. Hopefully I come in and really play a lot and play well. I’m the type of player that with my intensity I can help bring up this team.”

Ejim signed his letter of intent back in November, but was finally taking his official visit.

It was the second time he’s been inside Hilton for a game.

“It doesn’t get any better,” Ejim said. “The amount of people that are here all the time and the support…it’s going to be a crazy place to play. I’m excited.”

Beaverton, Ore., center Jordan Railey will join ISU’s recruiting class in the spring. There could be more depending on Craig Brackins’ NBA decision and Marquis Gilstrap’s luck in asking the NCAA for a sixth season of eligibility.

“There will be a whole lot of talent here,” Phillips said.

Has he tried to convince Brackins to stay for his senior season?

“When I asked him about it he just laughed it off,” Phillips said. “It’ll be exciting to see what he does. I hope he does (stay).”

ISU auctioning off game-worn pink unis

February 8, 2010

This from Iowa State’s athletic web site:

The pink-accented uniforms and pink shoes Iowa State wore last Saturday against Kansas State to help raise awareness for the fight against breast cancer and those jerseys are now up for auction at

Each auctioned jersey will be signed by every member of the team. Bidding will start at $150 each.

All proceeds from the online auction will go towards the “Hoops for Hope” program, which benefits the American Cancer Society.

Jerseys from the following players are being auctioned from now through Feb. 15: Dominique Buckley (1), Charles Boozer (4), Scott Christopherson (11), Alex Dorr (12), Craig Brackins (21), Bubu Palo (25) and Justin Hamilton (41).

The rest of the players’ jerseys will be available from Feb. 15-22:  Chris Colvin (2), Marquis Gilstrap (3), Diante Garrett (10), Antwon Oliver (15), LaRon Dendy (22) and Jamie Vanderbeken (23).

Also, an autographed game ball and an autographed pair of shoes will be auctioned during each of those time periods.

The jerseys are white with gray numbers and pink trim. The shoulder has an embroidered breast cancer ribbon logo.

K-State coach praises Cyclones, McDermott

February 7, 2010

Kansas State coach Frank Martin showed some empathy for Iowa State and hard-luck coach Greg McDermott Saturday during his post-game remarks to reporters.

He also piled on departed Cyclone guard Lucca Staiger, who last month abruptly left the team to pursue a professional career in his native Germany.

K-State won its eighth straight game in the series and fourth straight at Hilton Coliseum with its 79-75 victory.

Martin has his team rolling at 19-4 overall and 6-3 in the Big 12. He recognizes the significance of a win in Ames, even against an undermanned ISU team with just eight scholarship players.

Martin was much more calm after Saturday's win over ISU. Really.

“These arenas are so hard to play in. Fans here at Iowa State are great and they have a good basketball team,” Martin said. “My heart goes out to Greg and those kids because to deal with the injuries to (Jamie) Vanderbeken and (Charles) Boozer and then to turn around and have some selfish guy quit on his team, and for them to still be playing as hard as they are is a credit to their team and coaching staff. I think Iowa State is going to win a bunch of games here.”

ISU fans may have only nine more games to watch big man Craig Brackins.

The junior forward is likely to leave early for the NBA after flirting with the idea last offseason. Brackins had his 26th career double-double Saturday against K-State, scoring 29 points and grabbing 12 rebounds.

After a frustrating start to conference play, he’s looking more like the player who earned first-team all-Big 12 honors a season ago.

“He’s quick and he’s a great shooter,” KSU forward Curtis Kelly said. “I didn’t know he was that good of a shooter because I’ve never played him before. You really have to pressure him. If he gets one sight of the rim it is going in.”

ISU having “Pink Out” Sat. vs. K-State

February 1, 2010


Here's what Craig Brackins will be wearing

Iowa State’s men’s basketball team will be wearing pink shoes and jerseys with pink lettering during Saturday’s game at Hilton Coliseum with No. 10-ranked Kansas State in support of breast cancer awareness.

ISU is one of four schools nationally – Brigham Young, Illinois and Oregon – the Nike has outfitted with the specially-made uniforms. Students in Cyclone Alley will be wearing pink shirts and the general public is encouraged to wear pink clothing to help make it a “Pink Out” crowd for the ESPN2 national audience.

Coach Greg McDermott’s wife, Theresa, and graduate assistant Bryan Petersen’s mother, Karen, are breast cancer survivors.

“Nike is very aware of Theresa’s battle with breast cancer,” McDermott said. “She is doing well and that’s great. Part of the reason she is doing great is because hers was detected early. That’s really what this is about. It’s about awareness. It’s about people understanding that you just can’t forget what you are supposed to do. You have to be proactive with your health. If in some small way this helps, it’s a small price for us to pay.

“Our guys were all fired up about wearing them. They are happy to be on board with this and hopefually we can get as many fans as possible wearing pink.”

The McDermotts annually participate in “Hoops for Hope,” a fund-raising event benefitting the American Cancer Society. Coaches from Iowa’s three Division I schools some others from other college basketball programs participate each year.

McDermott on ESPN’s campus

December 16, 2009

While his Iowa State players are studying for (hopefully) or taking final exams, men’s basketball coach Greg McDermott will be on ESPN’s Bristol, Conn., campus Wednesday.

McDermott is being joined by Kansas State’s Frank Martin and Big 12 Commissioner Dan Beebe.

The conference has set up visits to ESPN this fall for its head coaches to help promote the league.

McDermott and Martin willwork through interviews from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on television, radio and Internet platforms.  

ISU (7-3) next plays on Sunday against Bradley at Hilton Coliseum. The Cyclones are coming off a 81-71 victory over Iowa last Friday night.

A year later, KU collapse still haunts Cyclones

October 7, 2009

This week’s meeting with Kansas is bringing to the surface all the bad feelings Iowa State players have tried to bury since last year’s painful home loss.

Up 20-0 at half. All the momentum. Offense clicking. Defense forcing turnovers. Get the ball to start the second half.

Didn’t matter.

By the 4 1/2-minute mark of the third quarter, the suddenly unstoppable Jayhawks grabbed the lead for good and sucked the life right out of Jack Trice Stadium in what was the first of ISU’s eight Big 12 Conference losses.

Kansas 35, Iowa State 33.

“We didn’t change anything (at halftime),” said nose guard Nate Frere. “We just didn’t show up the second half. It’s one of those blunders that you can’t really explain.”

The Cyclones fought back in final minutes, scoring with 1:15 to play and recovering the onsides kick that followed. But they didn’t move the ball an inch. Austen Arnaud threw four straight incompletions and players and coaches were kicking themselves all the way back to the locker room.

Upset alert turned into an awfully good comeback win by quarterback Todd Reesing and KU.

“We knew they were going to come out and their coach was going to have them fired up,” said offensive lineman Ben Lamaak. “We didn’t step on their throat when we had the opportunity.”

There was a similarly empty feeling after last Saturday’s 24-23 loss to Kansas State at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City. ISU had the lead, had chances to extend the lead, finished strong but could not make the plays necessary to win.

Last year’s conference-opening loss sent the Cyclones down the path to an 0-8 league finish.

They aren’t going to allow that to happen again, after last week’s gut-wrenching loss.

“Coach (Paul) Rhoads does a great job keeping everyone motivated and hungry,” Frere said. “It’s a different team that it has been in the past. You won’t see anyone give up, at all.”

The Big 12’s dance card

March 4, 2009

The old guard is back atop the Big 12 Conference standings and looking toward a postseason run.

Kansas, Oklahoma and Missouri are the league’s Big Three teams and safely in the field of 65. I think we can all agree on that.

The next tier is where it gets tricky. Who else deserves bids?

This is a league where every year at least five teams and probably six should be playing past the conference tournament.

The way I see it, there’s five pretty solid locks, especially after Oklahoma State’s uber-important victory Tuesday night over Kansas State.

That was a do-or-die game for the ‘Cats, who fell to 20-10 and 8-7. They’re toast, unless they win four games in four days next week in Oklahoma City, a feat that’s never been accomplished in Big 12 tournament history.

Good luck with that guys.

Past the Big Three, it’s Texas and Oklahoma State — each with identical 20-9 overall and 9-6 league records — whose resumes stand tallest before the selection committee.

Texas A&M has a chance to crash the party if its winning streak reaches a half-dozen and  probably beyond. The Aggies (21-8, 7-7) have to win at Colorado and beat Missouri at home. Have to.

A couple wins at the Ford Center next week wouldn’t hurt in solidifying their standing.

It’s a team that’s on a serious roll. Ask Iowa State, which was run out of the gym in the second half of an 87-69 loss in College Station last weekend.

Here’s what I’ve got right now: Five teams in the NCAA field and one on the bubble.