Kansas City, Mo. A foul is a foul is a foul. Just ask Iowa State.
Did Kansas' Jacque Vaughn really foul Iowa State's Dedric Willoughby with :05.5 showing on the clock in the championship game of the last Big Eight basketball tournament?
"It looked like a foul from where I was sitting," said ISU coach Tim Floyd.
"The ref said it was a foul so we'll go by that," said Willoughby, the Cyclones' all-Big Eight guard. "I still had to step up and hit 'em."
Hit 'em Willoughby did. His two charities were the difference as Iowa State edged Kansas, 56-55, to capture the school's first and only Big Eight tourney title.
"I just told myself to do the things I'd been doing," Willoughby said. "Take my time, don't let the crowd get to me, follow through ... and that's what I did."
Earlier a three-point goal from an unlikely source, junior point guard Jacy Holloway, had given the Cyclones a 54-53 advantage after Kansas had rallied from an eight-point deficit early in the second half.
Those were Holloway's only points, even though he played all but 40 seconds.
"It might be a little ironic," Floyd said. "He's a Kansas resident. I'm sure he'll remember that shot the rest of his life."
Holloway, who hails from Moundridge, a small town in central Kansas, seldom shoots and when he does it's hardly ever in clutch situations.
This time, though, with the Jayhawks double-teaming Kenny Pratt, who killed them with a 20-point, 11-rebound performance, Holloway launched the three-point attempt after taking a pass from Pratt.
"It was a great pass. It was right in my shooting pocket," Holloway said. "I really didn't think about it. I just let it go."
Iowa State led the Big Eight in trips to the free throw line during the season, but took just 14 charity shots Sunday, making eight.
"It was a different kind of win for us," Floyd said. "We didn't get to the foul line that much, but we were able to rebound. I think we outrebounded our opponents only three times all year."
In addition to Pratt's 11 boards, center Kelvin Cato had nine and Willoughby added five. Willoughby played all 40 minutes, just as he did in the Cyclones' two other tournament games.
"I asked him once if he needed a blow," Floyd said, "and he answered, 'No way.'"
Willoughby, a transfer from New Orleans U., didn't shoot particularly well (6 of 21), but five of his six baskets were from three-point range. And, of course, he hit the clinching free throws.
Thus it was no surprise that he was wearing a clipped Kemper Arena net around his neck in the post-game media session.
"This team has been through a lot, starting with being picked to finish last" Willoughby said. "But coach Floyd didn't pick any losers. We all came from winning programs and the guys really believed. It's a great feeling."