‘You saw Hilton Magic’: Cyclones make Iowa ‘uncomfortable’ in largest win in series history

Izaiah Brockington celebrates after a Cyclone bucket in No. 17 Iowa State’s 73-53 win over Iowa on Dec. 9.

Matt Belinson

AMES — T.J. Otzelberger spoke through tears Thursday evening in the aftermath of Iowa State’s 20-point victory over Iowa.

Not only was the win the largest in program history over Iowa, but it moved the No. 17 Cyclones to 9-0 on the year.

It was a special night in Hilton Coliseum for Otzelberger and his players in their 73-53 win. They weren’t shy about that.

“It’s pretty special. It’s pretty cool,” Otzelberger said while getting choked up. “I love this place. I love being here. And being home with 14,500 of your family members and being on this journey together is… I don’t know how I could be any luckier.”

The ‘Magic’ of 14,500 couldn’t be ignored inside the building, with expletive-laden chants aimed at Jordan Bohannon and ear-deafening yells raining down throughout Iowa State’s convincing win over its rival.

The energy created from the packed house at Hilton paired perfectly with Iowa State’s main objective facing the Hawkeyes on Thursday: make them uncomfortable.

Izaiah Brockington led the way for Iowa State once again, shooting 11-14 from the field with 29 points. But his pressure on Keegan Murray, one of the nation’s leading scorers walking into Thursday night at 23.9 ppg, was the key of the night.

But how does one stop a player like Murray from getting in a groove and taking over? 

“First and foremost, I’d say we made them uncomfortable,” Brockington said postgame. “We watched film, we noticed that they never really saw ball pressure like ours. They never really saw intensity like ours. They were just kind of free to do whatever they wanted, run up and down the court and get shots off.”

“I really came in knowing that he’s [Murray] their key guy. So my job, as far as I was concerned, was to stop him.”

Murray ended the night with nine points, shooting 4-17 from the field. The sophomore walked into halftime 0-7 from the field.

For Brockington, it all came down to making Murray find new spots to create juice for himself — spots he wasn’t used to.

The Cyclones wanted to come out right away, fueled by their home crowd, and punch Iowa in the mouth and keep going.

Tyrese Hunter, the Cyclones 18-year-old point guard, played in his first CyHawk game as a Cyclone. And he didn’t flinch.

The young guard from Racine, Wis., finished with 11 points, six assists and eight rebounds.

Hunter said the Cyclones’ commitment to defense through nine games doesn’t happen without buy-in beyond words. It’s about personal pride.

And Iowa State’s point guard, along with his teammates, met the challenge head-on.

Iowa shot 27 percent from the field in the 73-53 loss, the lowest field goal percentage the Hawkeyes have had all season. 

“With us, coming out right away and meeting them. Just letting them know, ‘we here and it’s not going to be real easy tonight,'” Hunter said.

“You saw Hilton Magic. It was electric out there.”

Before the blowout, before the alley-oops to bring the house down, before the smiles shined in post-game, Iowa State could feel Thursday night was going to be different.

Students lined outside of Hilton Coliseum in gaudy numbers, nearly lapping themselves in how many showed up for the game.

Brockington could feel that energy. And it’s what gave the Cyclones the boost they needed to deliver on their mission of making Iowa uncomfortable.

“You could feel the energy really right before the game started, just walking out there. You could feel the energy that the fans had,” Brockington said.

“Dare I say, Hilton Magic.”