A power six conference team played a true road game at a mid-major conference school with an imposing student section in a big arena. Yes, you read that sentence correctly. Iowa State visited Provo to take on the high scoring BYU offense. Giving the Cougars a home game against a ranked team was where the Cyclones' kindness ended.
Neither team got off to a strong start. The Cougars, who scored over 100 points in two of their first four games, took over five minutes to surpass 10 points. The Cyclones and Cougars stayed close for the first ten minutes, but then Matt Carlino came alive. BYU pulled out to a 12 point lead, 36-24, with just over six minutes left in the first half. A three pronged attack, though not the usual three, led the Cougars in the first half. Carlino, Tyler Haws and Eric Mika finished with 12 points each and the Cougars took a 47-42 lead into the break.
The first ten minutes of half number two were similar to the last ten minutes of half number one, except BYU's lead was never very large. With just under six minutes left, Iowa State took a one point lead, their first since 10:57 in the first. The Cougars didn't allow the Cyclones to pull away, but they also never managed to reclaim the lead.
The end result was a 90-88 victory for Iowa State. Head coach Dave Rose's attempts to call timeout went unnoticed so Kyle Collinsworth threw up a two point jumper at the buzzer that passed to the left of the hoop.
There are two big takeaways, one for each team, from this game. Let's start with the bad.
Iowa State played a very dirty game from the get go. Let me get this out of the way: fouls are part of the game, committing them doesn't mean a team is dirty. Iowa State committed 20 fouls. It's entirely possible a team is very good at drawing fouls and BYU is one of those teams. However, Iowa State didn't get baited into 20 fouls.
Melvin Ejim and Dustin Hogue both fouled out. DeAndre Kane commited three fouls but his last resulted in an ejection. Eric Mika had the ball in the low post and Kane made a play on his eyeball rather than the basketball. This may have been retaliation for a previous play in which Mika threw an elbow, in what was deemed a legal, "basketball play", that clipped Dustin Hogue's armpit. Kane's hands flew directly at Mika's face while the ball was being held down by his legs. Neither player would return as Mika was taken by the medical staff to the locker room.
Iowa State's next three buckets came in the paint, where Mika should have been. His absence made a much larger impact than the absence of the three Iowa State players.
Other than that flagrant foul, Hogue's fouls were the most outrageous. Twice in the first half he was overly rough with Tyler Haws. First, while Haws was in the air and already being fouled, Hogue pushed him from behind causing the injured Haws to fly into the basket support. On a later play the two became tangled up and Hogue pulled Haws down to the ground by his jersey. That play resulted in a double foul being called.
Ejim's actions were the least dirty but far from the least offensive. He fouled out just as any player could. It was his action on his way to the locker room that was unacceptable. He flipped off the crowd, which was cheering for his exit, on his way out of the game. After the game, Ejim quickly took to Twitter to apologize.
Definitely lost my composure today. I apologize to the byu student section and Iowa state university. What I did was inexcusable and rude.— Melvin Ejim (@M3llyM3I) November 21, 2013
For the Cougars the positive takeaway is this, they lost by just two to a ranked team despite being far from 100%. Tyler Haws missed back-to-back games due to an abdominal strain and for the last minutes of tonight's game, Eric Mika was out with an injury. Assuming Mika's eye injury is not serious, once he and Haws are back and fully healthy there is no reason to believe this team can't continue dropping 100 points. Unfortunately, as of press time, Mika is on his way to the hospital.