Emotions ran high at Hilton Coliseum as 12,723 paid tribute to Taylor during a pre-game moment of silence, and several more listened over the airwaves Taylor once dominated for 31 years as a men's basketball and football play-by-play man.
"Our wives used to kid each other, Judy Taylor and my wife," said Eustachy afterwards, fighting back tears throughout his post-game press conference. "They'd say Pete was the brother Larry never had and Larry was the brother Pete never had. It couldn't be more true. I've lost the greatest friend a guy could have. Nothing can take his place. I got to make my peace with Pete over at the hospital. He was not conscious, but I know he heard me."
It didn't take much of a pep talk prior to Wednesday night's game for Eustachy's team to hear him. The Cyclones, seemingly overmatched on paper with the absence of Marcus Jefferson, jumped all over Missouri from the onset by scoring 15 of the game's first 17 points over a seven-minute span.
"I thought we played great," Eustachy said. "Our guys were really determined. We had the eye of the tiger. You think about these guys. Marcus missed his flight because of weather and we had John Neal out there playing. We've got guys with fouls. Nothing was matched with everything that happened. Everybody knew they couldn't let each other down. There was zero margin for error. Everybody played their part. I thought it was phenomenal.
"We played well for long periods of time. We didn't really have moments where we broke down. We gave a couple of offensive rebounds up, but that's as hard as any time I've had here play for 40 minutes. It was great to see. They've worked hard."
An impressive crowd still in shock from Taylor's death responded to the outstanding play, as ISU went on to take a 16-point lead with 8:42 remaining in the half and never looked back and led 33-19 at halftime.
"That's one of Coach Eustachy's best friends and he took it real hard," said point guard Tim Barnes, who continued his assault on Big 12 backcourts to the tune of 24 points (including 4-of-9 3-point shooting) and five rebounds. "He showed us that no matter what happens you've got to tough it out. He did an awesome job of coaching us on the sidelines and coaching us in practice. He told us we needed to win this one. It was a big win for us."
But player, coach and reporter didn't feel like talking much about Barnes' stellar performance against Mizzou point guard Ricky Clemons, Jackson Vroman's double-double by halftime and Jake Sullivan's off-night (nine points on 4-of-13 shooting) in an ISU blowout.
It was about a Cyclone broadcaster everyone had grown to love, player, coach and reporter.
"He was around us a lot and traveled with us," said Jake Sullivan, the veteran of ISU's band of youngsters. "He's just a great guy. When you're here for three years you get to know him pretty well. It's just disappointing. Our prayers are with him and his family. We trust God that he's up in heaven being taken care of."
Jared Homan, who paid tribute to Taylor with 15 points and seven rebounds in 28 minutes, recalled his days growing up in Remsen, Iowa, hearing calls from the legendary broadcaster while doing chores on the family farm.
"I grew up in Northwest Iowa listening to him on the radio," Homan said. "During Fall harvest, I'd be in the tractor for a football game listening. During the winter if it weren't on TV, I'd listen to him on the radio. I've listened to him for a while.
"It was tough. We had a lot of emotions running around the team. Our prayers are with Pete Taylor and his family. We were thinking about that and wanted to go out there and play hard for him and his memory. We really needed this win, as far as the standing were concerned."
And it was a game the Cyclones would get. With Wednesday's victory, they moved to 15-11 overall and 5-10 in league play. More importantly, ISU locked up a winning season and all but guaranteed a berth in the NIT Tournament. But first thing's first, and that is Saturday's regular-season finale, then a pending matchup as the nine-seed in next week's Big 12 Tournament.
"This is what we know we can do," Sullivan said. "We're capable of doing it, but now we need to take it on someone else's floor and doing it. We need to put it together for 40 minutes. This is how we need to play in the (Big 12) Tournament. We're still focused and think we can go down there and beat some people."
And just as he was on Wednesday night at Hilton Coliseum, the Cyclones can count on their beloved sixth man being present.