The Hawkeyes came out firing again in this game, the way they did against Michigan in the opening round of the Big Ten tournament.
They opened an early double-digit lead, and then extended it to 29-11 with 9:07 to play in the first half.
At that point, it almost looked like a varsity team scrimmaging against the JV. The Hawkeyes were slicing and dicing their way to the basket, they were getting easy run outs off of blocked shots…nothing could go wrong.
Then, some old habits reared their heads, namely turnovers.
The Hawkeyes, as they have done so many times this season, shot themselves in the foot over the course of the next 29 minutes of the game.
They allowed St. Louis to cut their lead to nine at intermission.
Then in the second half with Iowa up by 10, Pierre Pierce picked up his 4th foul with 14:45 remaining in the contest.
When he returned with just over five minutes to play, Iowa led by just two points.
Iowa would rebuild their lead to six points with 3:29 to play on an Erek Hansen hook shot, but St. Louis would score the games next six points, tying it up at 63 with just over two minutes to play.
Iowa scored the next four points on a Greg Brunner dunk and a pretty cut in the lane and lay in by Pierce with 1:14 to go.
After a St. Louis basket cut Iowa's lead to two with just under a minute to go, Iowa called a timeout with 47 seconds remaining. The time keeper fell asleep at the wheel, and did not stop the clock until it read 41 seconds. The officials convened and corrected the error.
Iowa missed it's shot attempt, and then Glen Worley committed a foul. St. Louis made both of its free throws, tying the game at 67.
Iowa called timeout, and then Pierre Pierce hit an off-balanced left handed shot driving in the lane from his right to left to give Iowa a two-point lead.
Both teams were out of timeouts before that shot attempt. The shot went in with five seconds to play. By rule, the clock is supposed to stop after every made basket in the final minute of play, but the clock keeper forgot to stop the clock.
While the officials once again met at the scorers table to review the game tape to get the clock right, St. Louis, who did not have any timeouts left, was able to gather together and set up one final play.
They inbounded the ball, attacked the lane, then kicked to a wide open Anthony Drejaj in the right corner and he nailed the three as time expired. Iowa lost 70-69.
Some might want to offer up the clock gaffe as an ‘assist' to St. Louis' win.
That might be accurate, but when you have an 18-point lead and you let it slip away and you lose, there are no excuses. There is no spin.
There is just disappointment.
Which is how the 2003-2004 Iowa Basketball season will be remembered.