The Des Moines Register from Des Moines, Iowa on March 10, 1996 · Page 29
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The Des Moines Register from Des Moines, Iowa · Page 29

Des Moines, Iowa
Issue Date:
Sunday, March 10, 1996
Page 29
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pAVID WITKE, Executive Sports Editor, 515-284-8130 r : Boys' Tournament Preview A look at the brackets, players to watch and statistics in the state boys' basketball tourney. Page 3D Urs JUoincs Sunbaij Jtcgisf cr 13 Sunday, March 10, 190(5 . Skctiqn Lady Bears Win Valley Title Southwest Missouri State's women win the Missouri Valley basketball tourney title at the Knapp Center. PageSD 6 i X sr. Marc Hansen Cyclones ride defense again Bf ansas City, Mo. "It was a F J great defensive game," said If B Tim Floyd, repeating his mantra. Translation: It was yet another Iowa State basketball victory that won't be competing for wall space in the local art gallery. But once again, beauty was beside the point. Along with the Cyclones' trademark dee-fense, there were technical fouls, non-technical fouls, back-alley muggings, death-valley shooting percentages, missed free throws galore. Fortunately for Iowa State, there was also Dedric Willoughby, who was picture perfect when it counted. : I The Cyclones spent the first 394 minutes shooting foul shots like the village smithy. Then, with the game on the line at the end, they For the first time, the Cyclones have advanced to the title game two years in a row. knocked them all down to win. As if they'd been doing it all afternoon. Norm Stewart, the ornery Missouri coach, was not pleased. After Iowa State's 57-53 victory in the Big Eight tournament semifinals, he stormed out of the interview room. "Oh, hell's fire," Stewart said when asked to comment on Jason Sutherland's intentional foul toward the end of the game, "look at the box score." He left with a wave and a scowl, which was understandable. It is now National Invitation Tournament or nothing for the Tigers, who were supposed to challenge Kansas this season. . As it turned out, they couldn't even challenge the no-longer-surprising Cyclones, who swept the Tigers three straight games. Stewart hasn't lost ; three games to one team in the same ''' season since the days of long hair and ; bell-bottoms. But that's beside the point, too. The ' point now is beating Kansas today in . the title game and persuading the NCAA basketball committee to give 4 the Cyclones a good seed for the big tournament. - Iowa State's best seed in the tourney has been seventh (in '86 and '95), which means the '96 Cyclones could v be breaking even more new ground. As it is, they've already worn out several shovels in this serendipitous season. The final Big Eight tournament has been a strange one in more ways than one. For the first time, the Cyclones have advanced to the title game two years in a row. ; ; Last year, Floyd did it with Johnny Orr's players. This year, he did it with his own players. Are you beginning to sense a trend? Not that Floyd could win with your uncle Henry's players, but sometimes he makes you wonder. ; A strange tournament indeed. Here in Kansas City, Iowa State fans have been speaking a foreign language. . They gather at Kelly's, the dusty saloon in Westport, to discuss NCAA tournament seeds, of all things. In past years, the hot subject was whether the Cyclones would be invited to the tournament at all. Wangle an invitation first, worry about your seed later. Orr was known for his fiery interview-room speeches. The day before the tourney, some unsuspecting reporter would ask Johnny if he thought the Cyclones had wrapped up a bid. It Isn't even an issue, he would explain, sometimes in excessively colorful language. The Cyclones would arrive in Kansas City needing a victory. Then if they got that victory, they would need another just to be on the safe side. Then they'd go back to Ames and anx-' iously await the pairings on television. Even last season, when the Cyclones finished with a school-record 23 victories, the issue was in doubt until they rolled into Kemper Arena and beat Missouri. Their Big Eight record was 6-8. Had Julius Michalik missed that late shot at Nebraska, the Cyclones would have been hosting a National Invitation Tournament game. . This year, the drama evaporated on Feb. 24 with Iowa State's victory at, you guessed it, Missouri. That was the night the Cyclones won their eighth conference game, and a winning Big Eight record always equals an NCAA berth. Since then, the issue has been where HANSEN Please turn to Page 7D S1S mm mm Iowa State holds off Missouri, will face Kansas in today's tide game. By RANDY PETERSON Rkgistkr Staff Wkitkr Kansas City, Mo. It seemed so improbable in the beginning, Iowa State playing in the final championship game of the Big Eight Conference tournament. One and done said the experts who picked the Cyclones to finish last one season before the Big Eight will be replaced by the Big 1 2. Wrong. It's two and still going. No. 23 Iowa State meets No. 5 Kansas at 12:10 p.m. today in Kemper Arena for the final Big Eight basketball championship. The Cyclones' most improbable season continued Saturday with a 57-53 victory against Missouri. It was so hotly contested that Tigers' Coach Norm Stewart stormed from the news conference when asked to comment on a late, game-turning intentional foul by his shooting guard, Jason Sutherland, against Iowa State's shooting guard, Dedric Willoughby. At first, he said he would not comment on the officiating. Then, he said': "Oh hell's fire, look at the box score," and then walked out. The box score. The brilliant Iowa State defense that resulted in poor Missouri shooting. The free throws. The disparity in field goals. Two consecutive championship games. Willoughby. "We won this basketball game because we continued to play defense," said Iowa State Coach Tim Floyd, the league's coach of .the year and owner of a 4-2 record against Stewart. "Obviously this basketball game was about getting to the line and keeping them off the line late in the game." It resulted in Iowa State's fourth chance at the postseason crown. The others were losses to Oklahoma State, 62-53, last season; to Kansas, 73-71, in 1986; and to FRIDAY'S FIRST ROUND Kansas 88. Colorado 55 Kansas State 58. Oklahoma State 55 Iowa State 62. Nebraska 60 Missouri 92. Oklahoma 88 (OT) SATURDAY'S SEMIFINALS Kansas 61 . Kansas State 55 Iowa State 57, Missouri 53 TODAY'S CHAMPIONSHIP 12:10 Kansas (26-3) vs. Iowa State (22-8) (CBS) Oklahoma, 73-71, in 1985. Kansas was seeded No. 1 and Iowa State' No. 2 in the 1986 tournament. And speaking of improbable, it was the third victory in a row this season, and fourth in a row dating to the first round of last season's tournament, against Missouri and the sometimes-crusty Stewart. The only other time he has lost three games to a team during one season was Kansas during the 1977-78 season. The Cyclones have played Missouri three times in a season 23 times, but never swept the series. Iowa State beat Nebraska for a. third time this season in Friday's first round. This was the first time the Cyclones have beaten two opponents three times during one season. And now Kansas, a team that beat Iowa State, 89-70, in Lawrence, and 61-50 in Ames. "We've got to rebound and stop their transition," Willoughby said. "We're not intimidated." Kansas advanced with a 61-55 victory over Kansas State behind the 16 points and 13 rebounds by Iowan Raef LaFrentz. "Against a team like Iowa State, you have to play with a lot of composure," LaFrentz said. "They're going to be in your face defensively and you have to make the most out of all of your possessions." That's what happened Saturday as Iowa State improved its record' i to 22-8, one victory shy of matching last season's school record. Willoughby led Iowa State with 25 points, and Kenny Pratt added - I l II anil. I. Jill II, I.ILl.. ,11. I II II II I mil I III II) I III l.ll II II I I II. I) , II Illi II mil... umjii .ii.uiUHliil i.n V -..-' ..... v r' J '' 7 w v. A - . f . I i i DAVID I'KTK KSONTlIK KlXllSTKU Iowa State's Dedric Willoughby, left, and Kenny Thames during the semifinal round of the Big $U Please turn to Page W Pratt, background, trap Missouri's Kelly Eight tournament. The Cyclones won, 57-53. eeds of change: Iowa stuffs For dee No. 19 Hawkeyes' NCAA tourney seed likely goes up with 56-52 victory, while No. 4 Purdue's may drop. By RICK BROWN Rjmister Staff Writer Iowa City, la. Kenyon Murray finished his home career at Carver-Hawkeye Arena with a rim-rattling exclamation point. "I would have ripped the rim off the backboard if I could have," Murray said. "What a great way to end it." Murray's dunk in the final seconds sealed No. 19 Iowa's 56-52 victory over No. 4 Purdue Saturday in the last home game for Murray and seniors Russ Millard and Mon'terGlasper. But not the last game. Iowa, 1 1-7 in the Big Ten Conference and 22-8 overall, will play this week in the NCAA tournament. "What a great way to go into the tournament and have some momentum, knowing we beat a top-five team," Iowa Coach Tom Davis said. Purdue, already assured of its third consecutive outright Big Ten title, dropped to 15-3 in the league and 25-5 overall. The Boilermakers, playing for a No. 1 seed, will probably have to settle for a No. 2. "Iowa was playing to prove they deserved a higher seed, and they do," Purdue Coach Gene Keady said. Iowa ended a five-game losing streak to the Boilermakers, who DM3 H Ray Allen's basket with 13 seconds left leads No. 3 Connecticut past No. 6 Georgetown, 75-74, for the Big East tournament title. No. 2 Massachusetts wins the Atlantic 10. Page 8D B While two more candidates enter the running for the Drake men's coaching position, Rudy Washington's former assistants turn their attention to finding new jobs. Page 6D saw their 11-game winning streak snapped. Purdue wins with defense and mental toughness, fueled by six seniors. But the Boilermakers had an uncharacteristic faux pas at crunch time Saturday. They started to unravel when Iowa's Jess Settles tied up Purdue point guard Porter Roberts with 10.9 seconds remaining and Iowa leading, 54-52. The Hawkeyes were awarded the ball on the alternate possession. "I got my hands on the ball and heard the whistle," Settles said. "When I looked at the bench and saw the red arrow (showing Iowa's possession), I started going crazy.",; Iowa got the alternate possession because of a heads-up play by Murray with 6 minutes remaining,! He wisely called a timeout, whil lying on his back under the Iowa basket, before a I'urdue player was able to tie him up. , Purdue called a 20-second timeout after Settles' key play, but returned with just four players." Brad Miller stayed on the sideline. 5 Settles inbounded the ball to! Chris Kingsbury. It was passed around, in order, to Settles, Andre Woolridge, Kingsbury, Settles,; Woolridge and then Murray for the, dunk. j Keady noticed he was a player short as the ball ncared halfcourt: He grabbed Brandon Brantley and i IOWA Please turn to Page 8D " . t : t : ; ' . i v r ' iA HIIXNKIIiERGAlVTHt RhXUSTKK Sibley-Ocheyedan players gather on the basketball brate the team's state Class 2-A championship, court at Veterans Memorial Auditorium to tele- Sibley-Ocheyedan held off North Cedar, 52-38. Sibley-Ocheyedan gets to celebrate; Carroll, too Whatever the version of girls' basketball, Sibley-Ocheyedan plays it well. Led by Abbi Schutte, Kary Dawson and Amie Hartwig, third-ranked Sibley-Ocheyedan beat fifth-ranked North Cedar of Stanwood, 52-38, Saturday night to win the state Class 2-A title. It was the second state title in girls' basketball for the school, which won a six-player championship in 1986. Vinton-Shellsburg is the only other school that has won championships in both. "This is a great way to cap it," said Sibley-Ocheyedan Coach Henry Eekhoff , whose team lost in the finals last year. Fourth-ranked Carroll lost most of its 16-point lead, but survived to post a 52-48 victory over top-ranked Vinton-Shellsburg in the state Class 3-A championship game Saturday night. "Our offense just did a super job in finding the open girl and getting the pass," Carroll Coach Don Oleson said. "Our transition game was really on again." Vinton-Shellsburg, which beat Carroll in the semifinal ia;t '. 's , j season, had a 33-game winning streak broken. ' 1 IDowlIng players saved their emotional outbursts for the .u. i ,iK wicui auui i. 1 1 ic mai uui is nuieuy wdicnea me ueaar Falls players cheer before Friday's game. But after winning the state Class 4-A title. 46-37, they got the last cheer. Stories on Page 40

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