Even though the Cowboys played well all night and showed a lot of fight in response to their 41-point beating at the hands of the Baylor Bears on Saturday, the team was clearly upset as it left the floor.
"I can't remember when I've seen a more dejected locker room that the one I just left," coach Travis Ford said in his postgame radio interview.
Maybe the reasoning is this — the Cowboys played well enough to win. The Cowboys should have won. The Baylor game was not competitive. Neither were losses against Stanford New Mexico and Alabama. Wednesday night was a different story.
Against Iowa State the Cowboys were seeking their first Big 12 road win in two years and held a six-point lead with less than three minutes to play.
But in the game's final minute, things began to unravel.
With 23 seconds left, the Cowboys had to settle for an NBA-range heave from Keiton Page at the end of the shot clock. ISU's Tyrus McGee hit a game-tying 3 at the other end six seconds later.
The Cowboys (9-9, 2-3 Big 12) brought the ball up the floor with another chance to win it but McGee knocked the ball out of bounds off Markel Brown's leg with 4.8 seconds remaining.
Iowa State (13-5, 3-2 Big 12) inbounded to Christopherson, who weaved his way up the floor, stopped a full two feet from the 3-point line and hurled his game winner over Page.
The looks on the faces of the Cowboy players said it all. They knew they should have won it.
In a season full of tough losses, this one is perhaps the hardest to swallow.
Page had 21 points and looked unstoppable at times, finishing 5-of-8 from 3. LeBryan Nash tied a career high with 21, as well, finishing with a strong stat line of 10-for-19, three rebounds, two assists, one steal, one block and just one turnover.
Michael Cobbins tied a career high with 10 points and had a few emphatic dunks mixed in there.
Brown spent most of the night with the ball in his hands and the results were fascinatingly effective. Brown had nine points, six rebounds and 11 assists. Heading into the game the Cowboys were averaging just 10 assists per game but finished with 21 against only eight turnovers
Looking at those stats alone it's hard to figure out exactly how the Cowboys lost and that's the reason for the postgame dejection.
"I was proud of our guys. Everybody was wondering this week how our guys would respond after our last game," Ford said. "I thought they played extremely hard and executed extremely well. That was probably as well as we've executed all (season). We did some things we've worked on in practice, in really two days, and they executed and did a good job offensively and defensively. We just gave up too many 3's in the second half. Period. That was the Achille's heel for us. We did a good job on the 3 in the first half and our goal was to not give up more than five and I think they doubled that.
"Our guys showed a lot of resilience and fought back from a tough game last game."