ISU men go down in Iowa City

Jordan Gizzarelli

Iowa point guard Dean Oliver took over down the stretch, leading the Hawkeyes to a 80-62 victory over intrastate rival Iowa State Saturday in Iowa City.

Oliver posted 22 points in 33 minutes of action in front of a wound-up capacity crowd of 15,500 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. If Oliver had something to prove, ISU head coach Larry Eustachy got the message loud and clear.

“Dean Oliver was the most determined guy in the arena, it was obvious that this game meant an awful lot to him,” Eustachy said. “Our team was out-determined by Iowa, it’s just as simple as that.”

Jamaal Tinsley’s two free throws brought Iowa State within three points, the score 64-61 with 4:53 remaining in the game, but then it was all Oliver. Oliver knocked down back-to-back three-pointers, sticking the figurative dagger in the hearts of the Cylcones, and capping a 10-2 run that saw his team build an insurmountable 70-61 lead at the 3:42 mark.

“I couldn’t be any happier for a player because I know how much work Dean puts into it,” Iowa head coach Steve Alford said. “There was a lot of hype with that matchup. Tinsley is an outstanding player, he’s had a lot hype in the preseason and he’ll get a lot of hype as the year goes along because he’s that good, but Dean Oliver is a pro. I think it’s time people start recognizing what he’s capable of.”

The Cyclones were forced to foul and attempt rushed shots that came nowhere near going in. Iowa knocked down the majority of its free throw attempts down the stretch and closed the game on a 21-9 spurt.

Oliver, the only Iowa-native in either starting lineup, wasn’t the only Hawk with the hot-hand. Luke Recker got his team off to a quick start, and got the home crowd energized by scoring 11 of his team’s first 15 points in the opening five minutes of play, and giving Iowa an early 15-6 advantage.

Recker led all scorers with 28 points and Reggie Evans recorded his seventh straight double-double for the Hawks, contributing 13 points and 13 rebounds.

After Recker’s flurry of shots was over, Iowa State showed some grit and determination of its own to battle back to take a 21-20 lead.

“I think there was a lot of avenues of toughness in this game, how do you deal with runs,” Alford said. “We had a big run to begin the game, they had a big run in the next eight minutes of the game, so how do you deal with those. We weren’t able to knock them out, they weren’t able to knock us out.”

The two teams would then battle it out for the rest of the first half, as two ensuing ties and seven more lead changes found Iowa up 36-35 at halftime.

The second half was more of the same for the two teams, as each possession and each shot got bigger and more important down the stretch. Tinsley, Horton and Shirley all got into foul trouble and caused chaos in the Cyclone lineup.

Nonetheless, with 7:20 remaining in the game seldom-used Brandon Hawkins put Iowa State within one point of Iowa, as his shot off the glass made the score 60-59. Recker hit a short jumper to give Iowa a 62-59 edge, and Eustachy was forced to bring Tinsley and Shirley off the bench with 6:50 to go, each sporting four fouls.

Shirley, however, would not stay in the game much longer, as the Hawkeyes immediately went down low to Reggie Evans, who drew Shirley’s fifth foul, and knocked down both free throw attempts to put Iowa up 64-59, and in the lead for good.

“In the second half, we did a good job of wear them out, foul them out,” Iowa head coach Steve Alford said.

Tinsley led Iowa State with 18 points and Pearson added 13 points and nine rebounds.