Photographers took aim on the Carver-Hawkeye Arena tunnel. Reporters lined its walls. The eyes of fans peered at the opening to make sure to catch his entrance.
And with just under 2 minutes on the pre-game clock, the doctor was in. The crowd rose to its feet and let out a roar of appreciation for Drake Head Coach Tom Davis, who in 13 years rolled up more wins than anybody at Iowa.
Davis worked his way through the gauntlet of congratulatory handshakes. He hugged Hawkeye Head Coach Steve Alford as well former assistant Rich Walker, who was retained on the Iowa staff when the school allowed Davis' contract to expire in 1999.
Large smiles and watery eyes stretched across the faces of those people at the scorers' table. Davis warmed each of them up with a greeting. Who says you can't go home again?
While warm and fuzzy feeling were abound in the pregame, the Iowa fans quickly were reminded why Davis won 269 games for the Black and Gold. His Bulldogs employed his signature pressing defense and fast breaking attack and pushed the heavily favored Hawkeyes for a half before falling, 74-56.
The Bulldogs forced Iowa into 12 turnovers before the intermission and held a 25-24 lead with about five minutes on the clock. The Hawkeyes bounced back with a 9-0 run and took a 36-32 advantage into the locker room.
Iowa charged out of the break, quickly pushing its lead to double figures and to 16 with just under 12 minutes remaining in the game. The Hawkeyes remained comfortably ahead for the rest of the game.
Pierre Pierce (seven points) and Jared Reiner (six) sparked the surge as the Hawkeyes finally took shots near the basket against the much smaller Drake team. Conversely, the Bulldogs relied on outside shots and wound up shooting .333 for the game.
For a second game in a row, Pierce paced his team in scoring with 17 points. Greg Brunner chipped in with 13 points and seven rebounds.
SIGHTINGS:Some recognizable faces took in Tuesday's game. Among those in attendance were Iowa kicker Nate Kaeding, defensive coordinator Norm Parker and his son Jeff, and former Iowa basketball players Kent McCausland and Brad Lohaus.
HONORED:Before the game, Iowa Head Coach Steve Alford presented Drake's Tom Davis with a ball commemorating his Hawkeye record 269 wins. Athletic Director Bob Bowlsby was not a part of the ceremony. Bowlsby decided not to renew Davis contract at the school after the 1998-99 season.
ZONE BUSTER:Davis switched to a zone defense when Iowa sharp shooter Brody Boyd went to the bench in the first half. Hawkeye forward Nick DeWitz foiled the plan by hitting a pair of quick 3-pointers. The sophomore reserve notched a team-high 10 points before the break, shooting 4 for 6 from the floor.
OLD FRIENDS:Davis bumped into Iowa forward Glen Worley on the way to the locker room at halftime and the two entered the tunnel with their arms around each other. Worley, who is sidelined with a broken hand, grew up in Iowa City attending Davis' Hawkeye basketball camps. Davis' son Keno, a Drake assistant, played at West High as did Worley.
STILL FIRED UP:Davis still showed passion for the profession. During several timeouts, he yelled at his players and stomped his foot on the court. He also displayed an ability to work the officials.