Cyclone Timeline - 2000 Part Two - "Ten Daze"

Part 2 of the year 2000 in Cyclone history is the most memorable, but excruciating 10 day stretch for fans of the Cardinal and Gold. The Cyclone men and women were coming off incredible runs through the Big 12 tourney, capped with each capturing their respective crown.

The men received a 2 seed in the dance with a favorable placement in nearby Minneapolis (or was it favorable??) and the women, once again, were able to host their regional in Hilton after garnering the 3 seed. Each looked primed for a deep run in the NCAA's. Oh, and Cael Sanderson was in the middle of his NCAA dominance. So sit back and relive the "10 Daze" that will forever resonate in ISU athletics.    

 

 

March 16- Day one of the 2000 NCAA tournament. Cyclone fans traveled in droves to Minneapolis. The #2 seed was the highest received by an Iowa State team. After Auburn squeaked by Creighton in the first game of the day at the Metrodome, the stage was set for Iowa State. They faced the feisty Central Connecticut State Blue Devils of the Northeast Conference. Early on it looked like a complete mismatch. The Cyclones led 26-8 before the thousands of Cyclone fans could take a breath of the artificial air. Jamaal Tinsley dribbled around defenders like they were Washington Generals. Surprisingly, Marcus Fizer only scored two points in the opening run. The Clones appeared to have things in cruise control, but the Blue Devils awakened. A 3- point heave at the buzzer cut the halftime lead to nine. The Cyclones came out of halftime very sluggish and all of a sudden with 6:15 remaining the game was all square at 69. With fans in shock, Michael Nurse revived the Cyclones, drilling two big 3's in a 12-0 ISU run to put the game out of reach. The Cyclones survived 88-78. Larry Eustachy said afterwards, ""I'm glad we won, or there might have been a rope hanging over that tunnel as I was walking in."

 

March 17- The Cyclone women open up NCAA play with opening round opponent St. Francis (PA) in Ames. It was bombs away from the beginning. The Cyclones hit six threes in the first eight minutes. They would end the game with 15 treys, setting a Midwest Regional Record. Stacy Frese, Megan Taylor, Desiree Francis, Lindsey Wilson, Monica Huelman and even Angie Welle got in on the barrage. The outside onslaught gave ISU a 92-63 win in front of 13,617 fans, the largest ever crowd for a first-round game in the women's tournament.

 

March 18- Cael Sanderson wins his second National Championship in St. Louis. And this time nobody even got close. Cael pinned his 1st opponent, won his second and third matches 20-5 and 16-5, before demolishing Vertus Jones of West Virginia in the final 19-6. The Cyclones were edged out by Iowa in the team total, 116-109.5. The Hawkeyes won their sixth straight NCAA Championship and Cael was named Most Outstanding Wrestler.

 

March 18- Round two of the NCAA tournament meant a match up with the Auburn Tigers. Auburn was led by 7-foot center Mamadou N'Diaye. The lanky centerpiece disrupted Fizer and the Tigers threw constant double teams at the Big 12's leading scorer. Fizer didn't score a field goal until 17 minutes into the game. Once again, the Cyclones found themselves in a tougher than expected contest. They trailed 33-32 at halftime. And the Tigers lead extended to 41-38 before Jamaal Tinsley answered the bell. The 18 percent three point shooter on the season knocked down two off-balance threes in succession to break the Tigers back. From there, Fizer took over inside. He scored three straight baskets in one stretch and Iowa State opened up a 63-49 advantage. They went on to win 79-60 in front of 27,000 fans in the renamed "Hilton North" Metrodome. Fizer would finish with 22.

 

March 18- With Hollywood flair, the #6 seed UCLA Bruins rolled 3rd seed Maryland 105-70. The Bruins showcased more alley-oops than an NBA All-star game. As guard and future NBA player Earl Watson dished out 16 assists, many on lobs to JaRon Rush  (future NBA) and Jarome Moiso (Future NBA). Meanwhile, gunner Jason Kapono (NBA) hit four threes in the rout. Afterwards, analysts across the nation say UCLA is playing the best basketball in the tournament, predicting a must-see match-up with Michigan State to advance to the Final Four.  

 

March 19- Bill Fennelly's squad struggled to get out of the gate against 6th seeded Illinois in the 2nd round. The Cyclones trailed 47-36 with 16 minutes to play. That's when forward Desiree Francis found her stroke. The senior hit three 3's in 90 seconds and Iowa State cut the lead down to two. Angie Welle did the rest. Welle put up 19 points as the Cyclones shot 2-13 from outside. With resiliency and toughness, the Cyclones dispatched Illinois 79-68 to advance their second straight Sweet 16.

 

March 23- It remains the most dominant performance in Cyclone basketball history. Faced with growing skepticism from national critics, Iowa State dished out a collective, "How ‘bout them apples," against the hire-wire UCLA Bruins. Despite being the #2 seed and winners of 31 games, the Cyclones were only 1 point favorites entering the Palace at Auburn Hills. After a Bruin basket made it 18-16 Cyclones, Tinsley put his foot on the gas. "The Destroyer" turned the game into his own display of skills. He made no-look passes look routine, controlled tempo, and even made a few open shots. With his dominance, Iowa State opened up a 40-28 lead at half. In the second half, the Cyclones toyed with the vanishing Bruins. They continued to stretch the lead as Steve Lavin sat back in awe. Finally with 18 seconds left and the ISU starters still with pedal on full throttle, Tinsley fired a no-look pass to an open Nurse who launched a 3.Before the ball entered the basket, Fizer held his arms in the air signaling what everyone knew was a coming…nothing but net. It capped the most brilliant triumph in recent memory. Final score: Iowa State 80 UCLA 56. Tinsley's final line: 14 points, 11 assists, 8 rebounds, 4 steals and dozens of shut-up critics. 

 

March 25- When Iowa State and Michigan State met in suburban Detroit, only 2 of the top 8 seeds remained in the tournament…. Iowa State and Michigan State. It was a clash of heavyweights. The teams were remarkably similar. Each had hard-nosed point guards (Tinsely and Mateen Cleaves) Big time big-men (Fizer and Antonio Hutson) Quality scorers on the wing (Michael Nurse, Kantrail Horton and Morris Peterson, Charlie Bell. The Spartans also brought off the bench a supremely talented youngster named Jason Richardson) and tough-as-nails coaches. It wasn't going to be easy for the Cyclones as the arena was filled with green, in near home-court conditions. Unaffected by the 20,000 Spartan fans, Fizer landed the first salvo. The big man took it right at the strong interior of MSU and attacked the glass (The Clones out-rebounded the #1 rebounding team by 8 boards at the end of the game) as the lead exchanged hands several times in the first half. The Spartans entered halftime up 34-31. But this thing was far from over. The Spartans extended the lead to 40-36 before Iowa State and #5 took it up a notch. Fizer hit a turn-around lay-up, then a floating 3, and finally a 10 foot jumper to lead ISU on a 12-0 run. The Cyclones led 48-40 with 11:40 to play. In the same stretch Cleaves picked up his fourth foul, rendering him useless on the bench. Final Four thoughts crept into every Cyclone fan's mind. ISU held steady with tough defense and rebounding and after two Kantrail Horton free throws, they led 59-52 with 5:49 on the clock. ISU hadn't lost a game all year when they were up by more than 5. They had their cars pointed towards Indianapolis, to a Final Four which they, no doubt, would be the heavy favorites. But the advantage was quickly whisked away. A.J. Granger hit a three, followed by a Charlie Bell long-range bomb, and two more free-throws from Bell cut the Cyclone advantage to 61-60 with 4 minutes left. Time-out Iowa State. On ISU's next possession Paul Shirley entered the lane and appeared to be fouled by Antonio Hutson, a foul which would have resulted in two shots. The officials conferred and a near-impossible double foul was called, fouling out Shirley and giving MSU the ball back on the alternate possession. A Charlie Bell floater on that possession gave the Spartans their first lead in over 12 minutes. Then another ISU turnover set up the "play." Mateen Cleaves, who had only one assist to that point, threw up an alley-oop pass that Peterson slammed down with 2:03 left, giving the Spartans a 64-61 lead and sending the partisan crowd at The Palace into a frenzy. The Cyclones couldn't recover. The Spartans made their free throws and Larry Eustachy grew more agitated by the second, finally reaching his bursting point. Larry received two T's and was ejected with 40 seconds to play. A lasting image from a memorable season. As the clock wound down, the burning images of Paul Shirley sobbing on the sideline, and tears streaming across Michael Nurse's face flashed across the TV. The Cyclones battled down to the final tick and the emotions couldn't be contained. Final score: Michigan State 75 Iowa State 64.

 

March 25- The heart-broken Cyclone fans shifted their focus to Kansas City later that Saturday Night, where the women met up with #2 seed Penn State in hopes to get a reprieve from the tough loss. The Cyclones got off to a roaring start over the Lady Lions, holding a 22-13 advantage 10 minutes in. A Penn State 16-2 run helped the Lions to a 36-32 halftime edge. The lead grew to 46-34 before the resilient Cyclones fought back. Down 57-47 with 10 minutes remaining, ISU put together a 14-2 stretch to retake the lead with 3:25 left. Penn State had a 65-64 advantage when Angie Welle hit two free throws with 27.8 seconds left. Penn State missed a shot on the ensuing possession, and the ball landed in Megan Taylor's grasp, only to be tipped to an open Penn State player, who converted with 12.6 seconds. Down 1, the Cyclones turned to Megan Taylor. She found a great look from just inside the free-throw line, it rattled around, went down, and spun out as the buzzer sounded. Penn State 66 Iowa State 65. It was a fitting night-cap to one of the most draining days as a Cyclone fan. Saturday, March 25, 2000 is a day most Cyclone fans would like to forget, but never will.

 

I think I'm going to go punch a wall. Check back later in the week for a more pleasant end to the year 2000 for the Cardinal and Gold. In the meantime, stay away from all ledges and sharp objects.

 

 


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