After a missed Phil Forte free throw with five seconds left in regulation Saturday, Iowa State’s Naz Long forced overtime with a running 30-foot, 3-pointer at the buzzer.
Eventually, the Cyclones won in overtime, 85-81.
Should the Cowboys have fouled Long before the heave, not allowing for one shot to tie it?
OSU coach Travis Ford said the call from the bench was for a foul, although Markel Brown said that message never reached him.
“We were yelling,” said Ford. “I told Christien (Sager) to tell everybody and he was trying. They couldn’t hear. I think everybody was a little bit in shock.”
Said Brown: “I think if we were trying to foul, we would have. I don’t think we were trying. Nobody was told to foul. We should have. I don’t even think anyone was paying attention to the situation.
“But it’s one thing we’ve got to learn from.”
Hilton Déjà Vu For Brown
The 3-pointer by Long, who averages 6.4 points per game, was devastating for the Cowboys. He’d delivered a similar dagger in Stillwater, forcing the third overtime of an eventual 98-97 Cyclones win.
And it was a disappointing reminder for Brown, who was in Hilton Coliseum two years ago when ISU’s Scott Christopherson fired in a buzzer-beating 3 to sink the Cowboys, 71-68.
“They got me twice,” Brown said. “They got me two years ago, they got me again today. Maybe there is a little magic in this gym.”
Three of the last seven games in the series have gone to overtimes and five have been won by four points or less.
ISU Students Get Smart
Before the game Saturday, Iowa State students passed out information sheets for the day’s heckling target.
The plan: to flop.
During pregame introductions and whenever Smart went to the foul line, the students were all called to “flop” in their seats behind the baskets.
From the note: “This will essentially be a very dramatic fall back into your seat and neighbors. Be sure to REALLY overdo it. Throw arms into the air, yell and scream as you fall back.”
The students pulled it off, too.
“It was hilarious,” Smart said. “It’s college. That’s what it’s supposed to be like. I expected that. It shows their spirit about their team. That type of stuff doesn’t really get to me. I’m fine with that. It’s college, enjoy yourself and have fun with it.”
Game Takes A Toll
By game’s end, the two teams combined to foul out four players, with the Cowboys losing Smart and Kamari Murphy and Iowa State losing Melvin Ejim and George Niang.
It was rough on Le’Bryan Nash, too. Nash was playing well when he suffered a dislocated index finger on his right hand while reaching in on the defensive end. He left the game, had the joint popped back into place and taped, then returned.
All four players still left a mark.
Smart scored a team-high 27 points and added five assists and four steals. Murphy collected nine rebounds to go with six points.
Niang scored 22 while Ejim finished with 12 points and eight boards in his final home game.
Among the survivors, Brown scored 26 points and added 12 rebounds and four assists; ISU’s DeAndre Kane matched Smart’s game-high 27 points.
Up Next: Big 12 Tournament
The Cowboys, filling the No. 8 seed, will take on No. 9 Texas Tech in a Wednesday opener at the Big 12 Tournament in Kansas City.
Tip time is 6 p.m. at the Sprint Center.
The two teams split their regular season series, with each winning at home.
Tech enters at 14-17 overall and 6-12 in the conference . And it enters on a high note after knocking off Texas, 59-53 on Saturday.