It was all about late Iowa State basketball coach Johnny Orr before the Cyclones took on their final nonconference opponent of the year, Northern Illinois, Tuesday night at Hilton Coliseum.
An hour before tipoff, the base of Orr's fist-pumping statue inside Hilton was covered in flowers. An announced sellout crowd braved the cold and held off New Year's Eve festivities for a few hours to pay their respects to Orr, who led Iowa State from 1981-1994 and remains the Cyclones' all-time winningest coach.
Head coach Fred Hoiberg, who played three years for Orr in the early 1990s, received a standing ovation as he walked out to the court to take in the pregame video, a short synopsis of the life and Iowa State career of Orr, full of archived interview video of the coach, who died Tuesday at 86.
Hoiberg wiped tears from his eyes as he walked back to the locker room moments before tip, then came back for his usual — albeit subdued — entrance.
Iowa State's players wore grey warmups with "JO" on their right shoulders and Hilton held a moment of silence before the game.
The No. 13 Cyclones didn't show signs of hangover from the emotional pregame ceremony, jumping out to a 21-7 lead by the first media timeout on their way to a 99-63 win.