This was my first ever trip to Hilton Coliseum, and though I don't know If I experienced any magic, I can tell you that it is the loudest basketball crowd I have ever heard.
I haven't been to every stadium in the nation; I have been to Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, Kansas, I have been to the Dean Dome in Chapel Hill, I have been to Assembly Hall in Champaign and I have been to both arenas in Kansas City, to name a few. I sat next to Mac McCausland, a man that has been at several arenas, and he believes that Hilton is the loudest he has experienced.
But when Rashon Clark threw down his dunk in the first half of this game, I got an instant headache. It was very hot at courtside and it was deafening. It makes me wonder how Iowa State could ever lose a home game…or at least, a home game when class is in session.
I have been to the football and basketball games in Ames this year and I must say that I have come away very impressed with both environments.
Late in the game when an Iowa State player fouled out, the Iowa bench was emphatic with their objection to how much time the Cyclones were taking in huddling up and getting another player into the game. They were also doing this when all five of their players were on the court and near the basket waiting to shoot free throws. If the opponent is huddling up, maybe it's a good idea for you to huddle up as well?
Some, but not all, of the chants that were thrown at Adam Haluska: ‘Glad you transferred'. ‘You can have him.' ‘We don't want you.' Those were the only taunts that are printable. The boos that met Haluska when the starting lineups were announced were as loud as I have heard Carver-Hawkeye Arena in a long time.
QUOTES FROM STEVE ALFORD
"This was a very difficult game. When you break down what took place from the guards, especially with Iowa State's talented guards, that was a big difference in the game. Their three starting guards outscored us 48-29 and we had six assists to thirteen turnovers. They had fourteen assists to nine turnovers."
Alford on Tony Freeman: "He tried and we fought, and I told him that I was pleased with his effort. This is a tough place to break in with your first start. This is as tough as breaking in at a place like Michigan State. This time of year, his 10th game ever in college against a great guard trio; I thought that he did a fine job. Did he make some mistakes? Yes, but he will improve."
Alford on Jeff Horner: "Jeff has been rehabbing well and while he is out I really expect for this team to get better. We have eight days to prepare for Arizona State because of finals. Then we play Drake, which might be Dr. Tom's best Drake team and then we face Robert Morris. I think that a lot of good can come from this. Over the next two to three weeks, I really do expect this team to get better. When Jeff gets back, that will be a boost."
Alford on Greg Brunner: "The really did a good job on him. When we were down 20, Greg flipped a switch and decided to step up. Maybe he waited too long, but they really did a good job on him. This was his first game without Jeff and I think he learned a valuable lesson. We don't need him to score 30 points for him to be valuable to us; he needs to do a better job of setting people up because he will be a focal point now. He needs more assists than what he had."
Alford on Erek Hansen: "I thought he was terrific in the second half. I was upset with his rebounding in the first half (Alford benched Hansen on two occasions, both of them coming after he gave up an offensive rebound.) He has really been improving on his board play. He had 14 points, seven rebounds and four blocks and he probably disrupted another five or six shots. He really did a good job and he was battling a sore ankle."
Alford on Adam Haluska: "I think he did a terrific job. He had a lot of good looks facing the basket. He had 10 free throw attempts and he made eight of them. It's not easy to lose your fellow guard and then come into a place like this next on the schedule, a place that you transferred from."
Alford on his team through 10 games: "We are ten games in and we have seven wins. We just lost an outstanding player and then two days later, we have this matchup with a great backcourt. I don't like losing, but I think over the course of the next three games, we will get better. I told the team to hit the books hard for finals and then lets focus on getting three wins before Christmas break. There are a lot of teams that would really like to be at that point if we can get there."
"When I went out of the game for the first time against Northern Iowa, I walked on my knee and it felt fine. I told coach that I could go back in. The mistake that I made is that I only walked on it, I didn't try running on it. My knee just gave way when I went back in there. It feels fine now and I am just taking things day by day."
Horner on what he thought of Adam Haluska: "Adam is a great person and I think he did a great job tonight. He is one of my best friends and he is a good kid. He is one of the nicest people that I know; this was just a basketball game."
Horner's thoughts on Tony Freeman: "I thought he looked strong; he didn't wilt under their pressure. I don't know that he realized just how intense this game was going to be; it will serve him well for when he comes back here in two years."
"I just don't think that we were aggressive enough; we were very passive against their zone, and I think that is what it all came down to. Coach told me after the game that I just need to keep my head up and that I did a good job; just keep playing hard.:
"I think we had too many turnovers that led to easy baskets for them in transition. It seemed like when we made a mistake in the second half, they were getting run out layups off of those mistakes. They have a really good team, especially Stinson. They play with a lot of poise."
"They have a real big 2-3 zone, and that makes it hard to do much inside. Their big man made it hard for me to do anything but catch it in the high post and then they really crashed. They made it real uncomfortable in there. "
On the crowd being against him: "To be honest, I really didn't hear those things. I was more worried about what defense they were in and what we were doing on offense. But this crowd is loud regardless of who they might be yelling at. They have great fans and they were great tonight. Our season is not over. We have three games coming up and we have to focus on those. We will get back to work and we will be ready to go."
On if he saw any of the signs that people had with his name on them: "I didn't really see any that were directed at me. I saw some Brunner signs, though."
Everyone laughed at that point.
Iowa had five assists at halftime. They finished the game with seven. Iowa had committed just five fouls until the 10:06 mark of the second half. Iowa State had attempted just one free throw until midway through the second half…coming out of the halftime break, Iowa trailed 35-30. Iowa State's first seven points of the second half went this way: back to back run-out layups off Iowa turnovers and then a three-pointer on an ill-advised three point attempt by Tony Freeman.