Cyclone seniors end Hilton careers with win


Diante Garrett plays his final game at Hilton Coliseum against Colorado on March 2, 2011. Garrett is now playing with the Chicago Bulls summer league team, which advanced to the quarterfinals of the summer league tournament Thursday. 

Jake Lovett

It started as a night for the seniors.

One tied for most games played all time in an ISU uniform, another capped a three-year career that was riddled by injuries and another still ended his first and only year in cardinal and gold.

They all came from different places, but they all went out the same way Wednesday night: with a win.

“It was our last day, out here as seniors,” said Jake Anderson after the Cyclones’ 95-90 victory over Colorado. “No matter what, how many games we lost, we weren’t going to lose this tonight.”

The Cyclones (16-14, 3-12 Big 12) had lost two of their last 14 coming into Wednesday night and the crowd at Hilton Coliseum was sparse at the onset of the game.

However, the pre-game ceremony honoring the four departing Cyclones put a different edge on the game, and it was clear from the beginning as Anderson sparked an early 14-4 ISU lead.

“Everybody was focused,” said the longest tenured Cyclone Diante Garrett. “We knew it was senior night, and we just came out and played hard throughout the whole 40 minutes.”

Garrett played his final game inside Hilton Coliseum on Wednesday night, and led the Cyclones — as he has now for 126 games in his four-year career, tied for the most in ISU history.

The win was only Iowa State’s third in Big 12 play this year, and likely popped Colorado’s NCAA tournament bubble, knocking the Buffaloes to 18-12.

“It feels real good,” Garrett said. “Coming off of these losses we had, we’re going to try and keep building and it feels real good to keep going.”

Garrett had a slow start in the win, opening the game hitting on only three of his first 13 tries from the field, but finished 3-for-3 in the game’s final 10 minutes to help seal the ISU victory.

He had 16 points and seven assists in the win, pushing him into a tie for second all-time with 600 career assists.

Anderson and forward Jamie Vanderbeken also sparkled in the second half, each going for 11 points in the game’s final 20 minutes. Anderson finished with 16 points and seven rebounds, while Vanderbeken tallied his third career double-double, with 15 points and 10 boards.

“All of those guys made big plays,” said first-year ISU coach Fred Hoiberg. “I’m very happy for all of them to go out. They did better than I did that night [senior night].”

The 6-foot-11-inch Canadian Vanderbeken sat out most of last season with a knee injury, is second all-time in ISU history in 3-point field goal percentage and 10th in blocks. He hit both of his 3-point tries in the second half Wednesday

“Just to get one more chance to play with DG, the honor of playing with Jake … I’m grateful,” Vanderbeken said.

Even after senior night, the ISU seniors’ careers are not yet over.

Saturday, the Cyclones travel to Manhattan, Kan., to face Kansas State before opening play in the Big 12 Tournament on Wednesday as the No. 12 seed.

“I got a lot of memories just from my short year,” said Anderson, a transfer from Northern Illinois who is concluding his only season at Iowa State. “We just wanted to go out with a victory.”