Christopherson kisses Cyclone career goodbye


Photo: Jordan Maurice/Iowa State

Senior guard Scott Christopherson makes a move toward the basket against Baylor’s Pierre Jackson during Iowa State’s 80-72 upset of ninth-ranked Baylor on Saturday at Hilton Coliseum. Along with his 23 points, Christopherson dished out five assists against the Bears.

Jeremiah Davis

Scott Christopherson put the final touches on his ISU career and Iowa State’s 80-72 upset of No. 9 Baylor with a kiss.

As he was being subbed out for the final time as a Cyclone, the senior knelt at center court, kissed the ISU logo and went to hug his coach.

“Hilton’s been good to me,” Christopherson said. “Just like in real life, any time a girl’s good to you, you’ve got to let her know you appreciate her. I was just telling her, ‘Thanks.'”

Christopherson made his send-off from Hilton Coliseum a memorable one. The LaCrosse, Wis., native finished the night with 23 points and six assists on 8-of-16 shooting from the field.

He also moved into second place on the all-time ISU list for career 3-pointers, moving ahead of Dedric Willoughby, as he reached 192 for his career. ISU coach Fred Hoiberg said it was important to him — because of his final game as a Cyclone — to send Christopherson and Chris Allen, the other senior, out the right way.

“I still remember my senior day, and it still disappoints me to this day that we lost on my senior day,” Hoiberg said. “Walking out of Hilton Coliseum for the last time as a player with a loss was a very disappointing thing.

“I wanted so bad for these guys to have a better feeling than I did on my senior night, and they did everything they had to do to get the win.”

Hoiberg said he appreciated the effort and determination both Christopherson and Allen have shown throughout the season. 

What they — as well as the rest of the ISU men — did after being picked to finish eighth of 10 in the Big 12 by the conference’s coaches was very important to Hoiberg.

“Both those guys have meant a lot,” Hoiberg said. “We pushed them hard. Again, this was a team that was picked eighth. And they went out and played with a chip on their shoulder and played with great effort and togetherness.

“It was great to have your seniors do that.”

The Cyclones (22-9, 12-6 Big 12) trailed 37-30 at halftime and were losing to the Bears (25-6, 12-6) in nearly every statistical category before turning it around completely in the second stanza.

Christopherson said the comeback showed a “resolve” that will help them going forward.

“I think that’s what the [Big 12] Conference does, is test your resolve, because everybody knows each other so well, the margin for error is so small,” Christopherson said. “I think now, over an 18-game conference season, we’ve shown that we’re mentally tough enough to make the plays coming down the stretch to win big games.”

Guard Chris Babb — who shined on the defensive end again, stopping a streaking Baylor guard Pierre Jackson in the second half — said in addition to sending the seniors out the right way, the win solidified the team’s confidence.

Even still, no sentimental win will deter the team from focusing on what lies ahead for the Cyclones.

“I think we’re very confident at this point, but we’ve got to keep staying focused and keep taking care of business,” Babb said. “We’ve still got work to do. We’ve still got some noise to make in the Big 12 tournament.

“It’s a huge win for us — you know, senior night — but we still have a lot of work to do.”

Along with the seniors, Hoiberg was adamant that he also wanted to send another group home satisfied after a 16-2 record at Hilton Coliseum on the season.

The second-year coach said the win was as much for the sellout crowd of 14,376 as it was for his team and him.

“For our fans, there wasn’t one empty seat in the house tonight,” Hoiberg said. “And to show them the appreciation for everything they brought to us this year, I mean that’s Hilton Magic right there.

“I’m so proud of our guys to send our fans off with a great feeling in our last game at Hilton this year as well.”