This one was tough to swallow. Tell me again where I have seen this storyline? ISU controls the tempo and game for 85 percent of the time, making plays and looking like a ball club that can do some damage. However, they can't land the final knock out punch. Opponents seemingly can't do any wrong in the final 5 minutes, and the Cyclones are left on the short side of the stick. I thought the football regular season ended three weeks ago. The only thing missing was overtime and wayward kicks.
It is easy to forget these guys are only 20. Tonight is the perfect example of young guys trying to find their way. For Shawn Taggart, Jiri Hubalek, and Ross Marsden this was a new experience. They had never been in a tough game down the stretch against a quality team. It's like learning to ride a bike: one minute you are cruising down the side-walk with no hands, the next you are face-first into the concrete curb. (Ok…maybe that's just me) This game will do a lot more for them come Big 12 season, than a pasting of some random MEAC team.
Shawn Taggart should grow up a lot after tonight. Taggart was fantastic in the first half, reminding the 12,500 in attendance of a taller, less bulky Marcus Fizer, with his soft touch from 18 feet and in. He had 12 points at the break…he finished with 13. You can see why everyone raves about his potential, but also why he found himself on the bench in the final seconds. Offensively, he is better than Jared Homan was. Defensively, he's worse than Tyray Pearson.
But, he will get better. Not to make excuses for Taggart, but he hasn't been 100 percent all season. A viral infection caused him to lose roughly an Olson twin and he's also been battling a lower back/leg injury. He showed tonight a reason to be excited about his play in March and at the same time reminded everyone why very few freshman dominate early in the year.
It's up to Stinson and Blalock to
carry the young guys in stretches like the one at the end of the game. Those two
were a combined 2-6 shooting in the final six minutes, committed three turnovers
and four fouls. And
Not to mention,
In the end,