In case you missed it: Winter break woes, woos


Photo: Jonathan Krueger/Iowa State Daily

Redshirt junior tight end Ernst Brun catches a pass before being engulfed by the Tulsa defense at the Liberty Bowl on Dec. 31, 2012.  The Cyclones lost to the Golden Hurricane 31-17 in the 54th Liberty Bowl.

Jake Calhoun

As usual, competition for ISU athletics did not cease during winter break.

Student-athletes got a reprieve from schoolwork in preparation for their respective games and tournaments, whether on the road or at home.

Cyclone fans flooded Beale Street as Paul Rhoads’ team had another uneasy postseason finish, a senior women’s basketball player got an unexpected surprise and Cyclone wrestling found itself on the upswing.

Without further ado, here’s everything an ISU fan might have missed during winter break.

1. The ISU football team lost a bowl game… Again.

Blame it on the stomach virus contracted by quarterback Sam Richardson, but the ISU offense found itself stalling for three quarters en route to a 31-17 loss to Tulsa in the 2012 Liberty Bowl.

An estimated 25,000 ISU fans were in attendance at the annual bowl game in Memphis, Tenn., with many groans to accompany the three scoreless quarters following the 17-7 lead after one.

Richardson turned in a less-than-stellar performance, going 10-for-21 in passing for 129 yards, one touchdown and one interception. After the first quarter, however, Richardson went 4-for-14 for 15 yards as the offense tallied just one first down.

“I give [Richardson] props for getting his go,” said senior linebacker A.J. Klein after the game. “Today he looked bad, but last night he was even worse. Just the effort that he gave, you can’t ask much more from a young player like Sam.”

Tight end Ernst Brun and cornerback Jeremy Reeves earned honors for the game as offensive and defensive players of the game for the Cyclones.

Reeves, a true senior who played his last game as a Cyclone, scored the first touchdown of the game by picking off TU quarterback Cody Green and taking it back 31 yards for a touchdown.

Brun shortly followed suit, hauling in a 69-yard touchdown catch in the first quarter to propel the Cyclones to a 17-7 lead.

The loss came in the Cyclones’ third bowl appearance in four seasons under Rhoads, who is now 24-27 as the ISU coach and 1-2 in bowl games.

2. Men’s basketball team almost beat Kansas on the road.

Since the formation of the Big 12 Conference, Kansas has only lost eight times at home.

The ISU men’s basketball team almost made that nine on Jan. 9, as it held a 79-76 lead staring down the end of regulation.

But with 1.3 seconds remaining, the Jayhawks’ Ben McLemore banked in a 3-pointer to tie the game and send it to overtime.

“It came down to a freak play there at the end,” said ISU men’s coach Fred Hoiberg after the game. “When it left his hand I said ‘We got it.’ It looked like it was off to the left and it banks in.”

The outcome could have been quite different had Hoiberg and Co. decided to foul McLemore, which would have forced him to earn the game-tying points at the free-throw line in lieu of banking in the 3.

Iowa State was responsible for one of Kansas’ eight losses at the Allen Fieldhouse, having won 79-77 on Feb. 5, 2001.

The Cyclones redeemed themselves with an 82-62 drubbing of Texas on Saturday, giving them their first Big 12 win of the season.

3. Anna Prins’ unexpected surprise

A seemingly routine rout of Alabama State on Dec. 30 had a sentimentally unexpected twist that made national headlines.

Senior center Anna Prins received an unexpected surprise: a marriage proposal from long-time boyfriend Ryan De Hamer after the Cyclones’ 86-47 win against Alabama State.

“I did not expect that at all,” Prins told the Ames Tribune. “He was very sneaky. I was super shocked, but I’m so thankful Ryan decided to do it in Hilton, because that’s just going to be a special memory, having coach be a part of it and my teammates.”

4. Gadson takes fourth at Midlands, wrestling team begins road stint

Not to be outdone by the ISU basketball teams’ eventful winter break, the wrestling team went to work as well.

The Cyclones kicked off their break with a 22-18 upset of North Dakota State on Dec. 16 with the help of bonus points from 197-pounder Kyven Gadson and heavyweight Matt Gibson in the final two matches of the dual meet.

Gadson continued his success at the Midlands Championships in Evanston, Ill., where he placed fourth in the 197-pound bracket. Gadson was the only Cyclone to place in this year’s tournament.

After a close loss to Oklahoma on Jan. 5, the Cyclones picked up a 19-15 win against Rutgers in Piscataway, N.J. They followed that up with a 31-12 win against Drexel on Sunday before beating Penn 25-9.