By John Helsley
Sitting in the Kansas City airport, waiting on a flight home from the frozen cornfield that is Iowa and thinking how hard it must be to be a Royals fan. Pitchers and catchers are reporting, hope springs eternal, and yet, the sports talk radio guys here are killing the Royals already.
(Sorry, compadre Mike Baldwin!)
But that’s not why you’re here.
Cowboys won a crucial game Wednesday night in Ames. A game with many twists, from a big blown lead (20 points in the first half); to a nearly 22-minute scoring drought by James Anderson; to Obi Muonelo’s greatest game as a Cowboy (seriously); to an underrated defensive job on ISU’s big two of Craig Brackins and Marquis Gilstrap; to a hang-on-at-the-end finish that saw the Cyclones give away some chances at the end.
Quick thoughts, before boarding:
* Muonelo’s growth as a player was evident against ISU. Clearly, he sensed that his team needed somebody to step up with the offense struggling. And he did, scoring 21 straight points during a stretch that turned away the Cyclones’ comeback. Considering OSU’s still-difficult quest for an NCAA Tournament bid, Muonelo’s pack mule effort and 31 points resulted in his best game in orange.
* Didn’t get this in the print edition, but Keiton Page suffered a minor thigh pull that shouldn’t be an issue. Page left the game late, yet was back on the floor at the end. And he was walking fine on the way to the bus after the game.
* The Cowboys face a stretch of four straight games against ranked teams, beginning Saturday with Baylor. We’ve been saying this a lot lately, but consider it a must win. At 6-5, the Cowboys need at least two more wins and maybe three to go dancing. With three home games left, and Nebraska the only one that looks like a lock, beating Baylor could be a necessity.
* As Matt Pilgrim emerges, Marshall Moses’ game has suffered. Moses’ work on the defensive end shouldn’t be dismissed Wednesday night, but it was a miserable night for him on offense. Missed a dunk and a couple of point-blank shots. Turned the ball over. Seems Marshall is having a difficult time adjusting to his new reserve role.