Not Cole's Fault

Jarryd Cole's difficult times at Iowa ended with a tough play and loss to Michigan State at the Big Ten Tournament. While the Captain took the blame, teammates said it was a team setback.

INDIANAPOLIS - Here's hoping the memory fades fast. Jarryd Cole gave too much to the University of Iowa to let one play drag him down.

The Iowa senior attempted a pass from the wing in the closing minute with the Hawkeyes trailing by one on Thursday. Michigan State's Durrell Summers stepped in front of the entry intended for Zach McCabe.

Iowa was forced to foul. The Hawkeyes got another chance after two made free throws by Summers, but Matt Gatens misfired on a potential, game-tying 3-pointer. Two more Summers free throws sealed Michigan State‘s 66-61 win in Round One of the Big Ten Tournament.

As the final buzzer sounded here at Conseco Fieldhouse, Cole dropped into a catcher's stance away from the team's shaking hands. He looked devastated. Teammates Bryce Cartwright and Melsahn Basabe brought him to his feet and embraced him. Minutes later, Michigan State Coach Tom Izzo hugged the Hawkeye captain.

Respect. Cole earned it in through dogged determination. He committed to Steve Alford, played for Todd Lickliter and finished up with Fran McCaffery. His commitment to Iowa never wavered.

There would have been justice in Iowa pulling this one out for Cole. The Hawkeyes knocked off Purdue last weekend on his senior day at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The play, however, doesn't diminish Cole's contributions to the program, not even a little.

"One play does not decide a game," teammate Eric May said. "We all can look at ourselves and find mistakes today. Jarryd leaves a great legacy here. If I were telling my little brother to look up to someone, it would be him."

Seventh-seeded Michigan State moves on to play No. 2 Purdue Friday. Iowa goes home. Cole's college career ends.

"It hurts, just having that last opportunity right there," Cole said. "I'm not going to be able to get that out of my head for years; just being a senior and having that opportunity to do something about the game at that point that's something that guys live for and dream about. I buckled and that hurts. I'm not going to get that opportunity back.

"The only good thing about that is that the rest of these guys get another crack at it. I'm excited for these young guys."

Cole's play sticks out because it occurred at the end of the game. Viewers also will remember the non-call on Gatens' 3-point attempt that caused Iowa Coach Fran McCaffery to yell at referees.

"Whether or not it was a foul, you have to determine that," McCaffery said, knowing better than to criticize the officiating.

Iowa had plenty of chances throughout the afternoon. Freshman Melsahn Basabe played one of his worst games in recent memory, finishing with six points, two rebounds and three turnovers in 14 minutes.

Point guard Bryce Cartwright was solid but still missed 10 of 15 shots from the floor and had three turnovers with his six assists. Matt Gatens failed to scored in the last 16 minutes of the game.

None of these facts should lessen the effort Iowa put forth on Thursday. The Hawkeyes dived for loose balls and almost knocked off Michigan State for the second time in three times this season. The Spartans started the season ranked second in the country in some polls.

While Cole took blame for his errant pass, teammates credited him with instilling the approach which with the team played throughout McCaffery's first season at the school.

"He leaves a fighting spirit," Cartwright said about Cole's legacy.

Michigan State looked poised to make the game true to seed from the outset. The Spartans jumped out to a 10-4 lead. Iowa rebounded to tie the contest at 24 with five minutes remaining in the first half and trailed 33-31 at the break.

The Hawkeyes built a 52-45 lead midway through the second half and appeared poised for the upset. Michigan State then put together a 14-2 spurt as Iowa struggled through the type of scoring drought that hampered it during the regular season. In scored just two points in a more than five-minute stretch.

While scoreless stretches were common this season, so was the Hawkeyes' ability to bounce back and fight to the end. McCabe capped a 7-4 run with a 3-pointer that got Iowa to within one point at 62-61 with 1:35 on the clock.

McCabe missed a 3-point attempt with :37 to play but May grabbed the offensive board. After play resumed, Cole threw the ball away to Summers.

"I thought (McCabe) was open," Basabe said. "I saw what (Cole) saw. But I can look at my play today, too. I could go to everybody in this locker room and they could (point to a mistake they made). He gave a great effort."

And that's Cole's legacy. If McCaffery raises the talent level of the program as he hopes and as he did by adding Cartwright and Basabe this season, it could combined nicely with Cole's foundation of hard work.

"He may not have had the winningest career here, but these players and these fans will never forget Jarryd Cole," Marble said. "He showed us young guys how to carry ourselves. He showed me how to lead when I get older."

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