"It was a great game and we made some big baskets," said Eustachy, who improved his record against Steve Alford to 2-2. "We were really timid at the start of the game. This was new to us. It was our first game on the road. Our guys were tougher than they played in the first half, but then we started getting our practice onto the court."
Nearly three months after the Cyclone football team rallied from a huge deficit in Iowa City to beat the Hawkeyes, Sullivan and ISU did the same thing after trailing by double digits with under 16 minutes to play.
The Cyclone junior capped off a 14-2 run by hitting a 3-pointer to even the score at 52-52 with 12:04 remaining. Iowa moved ahead 60-57, but Sullivan again had an answer. His 3-point play tied the game at 60 apiece. From that point on ISU never trailed.
That's when Vroman began asserting himself. Battling foul trouble from the game's onset, Vroman hit a layup to give the Cyclones their first lead since a 4-0 edge early. His layup at the 1:51 mark broke another tie and put ISU up 67-65. His 3-point play with 19.8 seconds remaining broke yet another tie and put the dagger in Iowa's heart.
"I tried to go out there and play aggressively like I didn't have four fouls," said Vroman, who scored 13 points and grabbed seven rebounds in 28 minutes. "I wanted to just forget that I even had four fouls. I knew I wouldn't help my team at all if I came out and played timid. I knew that even if I picked up my fifth foul, we had guys on the bench who could come in and make plays."
That person was veteran walk-on Clint Varley, who picked ISU up for eight minutes while Vroman sat. Varley hit a timely layup and grabbed three rebounds. In a game that was being touted for the opposing young guns from within the state, it was the unheralded senior from Greenfield who stole some of the spotlight.
"This is a game that Clint Varley can take to his grave," Eustachy said. "Without him we would not have won this game. He gets the game ball and a scholarship. This was a huge game for him. It means a lot to guys like him. He hadn't played that much in three years."
The three Iowa fab freshmen fans were focusing on, Adam Haluska, Jeff Horner and Greg Brunner held their own. Haluska kept the Cyclones in contention early, scoring seven of his 12 points in a half that his team struggled. Horner and Brunner combined to score 18 points, but hit on just 7-of-17 shots.
Although he fouled out with 3:25 remaining, it was Haluska who got the last laugh against his counterparts.
Tuesday's loss in Ames to Boston College served as a learning experience for the likes of Haluska, Vroman and Tim Barnes, three starters that played their first D-I road games in Iowa City Friday.
It also didn't hurt that the Cyclones shot 52 percent as a team in the final 20 minutes, and improved their half-court and perimeter defense drastically during that span.
"If it weren't for the Boston College game, we wouldn't have been able to do this," Eustachy said. "If you want to go 1-1 from Monday through Friday, you'd want to have this one more and sacrifice the Boston College game. That game taught us a lesson and we learned from it."
However, the marked improvement wasn't so much Eustachy's doing as it was Sullivan taking charge at halftime. Ready to get on his team for some uninspired first-half play, the ISU coach got beat to the punch.
"The guys were in a daze and a little scared," said Sullivan. "I kind of got after them at halftime. We needed to play harder, and just play period. ‘Play your butts off and leave it all out on the floor.' I feel we did that in the second half. It feels great. This was a great win and hopefully it will help this team get over the hump."
ISU won't get much time to revel in its triumph over the Hawkeyes, however, as Savannah State makes the trek to Hilton Coliseum for a Sunday afternoon tipoff.
Iowa's Jared Reiner (5) looks to grab a pass in front of Iowa State defender Jared Homan, during the second half. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall) 341x460
Iowa State coach Larry Eustachy reacts to a call against his team during the second half . (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Iowa State's Jake Sullivan (0) hugs teammate Tim Barnes at the end of their 73-69 win over Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Iowa State's Jake Sullivan grabs a loose ball in front of Iowa's Jared Reiner, rear, during the first half Friday. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Iowa State's Jackson Vroman, center, fights for a loose ball with Iowa's Jared Reiner, right, and Glen Worley (4) during the first half. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)