MEN’S BASKETBALL: Late-game 13-2 run dooms Cyclones

Iowa States Diante Garret reacts to Cyclones 78-66 loss to Oklahoma on Sat., Jan. 31. Photo: Shing Kai Chan/Iowa State Daily

Shing Kai Chan

Iowa State’s Diante Garret reacts to Cyclones’ 78-66 loss to Oklahoma on Sat., Jan. 31. Photo: Shing Kai Chan/Iowa State Daily

Corey Aldritt

“Refs — you suck,” was the chant the frustrated student section resorted to in the waning moments of Oklahoma’s 78-68 win over Iowa State (12-9, 1-5).

The Sooners (21-1, 7-0) ended the game on a 13-2 run as Greg McDermott and the entire Hilton Coliseum crowd screamed at the refs for missing a couple of apparent traveling calls on Blake Griffin during crucial game-changing plays.

Although the refs didn’t help the Cyclones’ chances of beating the fourth-ranked team in the country, it was the Sooners who rose to the occasion in the final minutes and pulled away.

“We need to start playing 40 minutes instead of 37 because we were good until the last three minutes. There were some breakdowns and they hit some tough shots, but all in all we gave a great effort,” forward Craig Brackins said.

The game featured ten lead changes and the Cyclones and Sooners usually stayed within a couple of baskets of each other.

“It was a terrific crowd, they were really doing a great job at cheering for their team, but I’m really proud of our guys for showing some character and toughness down the stretch and making some plays,” Oklahoma head coach Jeff Capel said.

Griffin was obviously the marked man for Oklahoma and he put up his usual 23 points and 15 rebounds, but the Cyclones didn’t expect OU’s true freshmen guard Willie Warren to put up 29 points of his own. Warren connected on 5-of-10 3-pointers, many of which were well behind the line.

“We knew [Warren] could shoot it — I didn’t probably respect his range to the level of where he was shooting from,” head coach Greg McDermott said.

The marque matchup of Brackins and Griffin lived up to the hype, but it was the play of Warren and ISU guard Diante Garrett that pleased both coaches.

Garrett said after the Colorado game that he was in a slump, but he was going to get out of it versus Oklahoma.Garrett didn’t lie.

With 17 points and 10 assists, it was the first double-double of Garrett’s career.

“The message to Diante this week was you need to forget about what happened on the last play — it’s written all over your face,” McDermott said. “We just challenged him, go ahead and try to make some plays and if you make a mistake then so be it.”

In the two games last week, Garrett had just four total points and committed nine turnovers, but versus Oklahoma he turned the ball over just one time.

“I kept my head up today and I played pretty good,” Garrett said. “I like getting in the paint and finding players for easy baskets.”

It was the third time this season Garrett dished out 10 dimes, but it was also the first time he scored more than 10 points.

“I thought [Garrett] was terrific. He really put a lot of pressure on us by driving and kicking and driving and scoring and getting to the basket,” Capel said.

Once again, Brackins led the Cyclones in scoring and rebounding with 19 points and 10 boards. In an effort to slow him down in the second half, Griffin guarded him, which made for some physical post plays down low between two of the best players in the Big 12.

“He helps them out a lot — he’s a big tool for them,” Griffin said.

Brackins and Griffin are both great tools for their teams, but Oklahoma proved their tool box had a few more hammers than Iowa State’s.

“We knew they were a tough team — we made a lot of mental mistakes early and late. But you got to give them credit, they played really well,” Griffin said.

Iowa State is now tied for last place with Texas Tech and Colorado at 1-5 in Big 12 play.

“As I told the team after the game, we have to stay focused on the process. If we get to caught up in outcomes and start looking at the standings and see where we’re at, and hanging our heads and feeling sorry for ourselves  — we’re in trouble,” McDermott said.