For a program that was on life support, a more than respectable performance against the nations #1 team was just what the doctor ordered. In fact, for one half, it seemed like all was well again in Cyclone Nation. A wildly entertaining first half had Hilton Coliseum rocking like the good old days as the Cyclones carried a 44-42 lead into the locker room. But we knew the Clones were probably in trouble, having played about as well as they could possibly play in the first half, and only leading by 2. Like the words of a famous Bon Jovi song, they were only half-way there, and yes, they were living on a prayer--mostly to the tune of six first half 3-pointers.
The Longhorns came out in the second half and proved why they are the #1 team in the nation, going on a 10-0 run to start the half. They did it with a trapping, full court defense that ISU couldn’t figure out, and when they did, the lethal damage had already been done. It could have gotten ugly at that point as it looked like Texas was going to run the Cyclones right out of the gym. But Iowa State showed determination, heart, and hustle and did everything they could to keep the game within striking distance. Every time it looked like they were going to cut the lead to five or less, the Longhorns had an answer. In the end, it was a 90-83 loss, but it was a loss that, in some strange way, felt better than the two-point win against North Dakota State last Saturday. Texas is just on another level, a Final-Four level. They could play this game ten times, and 7 points is probably as close as ISU would ever get. Maybe, just maybe, this team is on the road to recovery.