Archive for Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Morgan, Cyclones enjoying ‘unbelievable’ streak

February 22, 2005


— The architect of a remarkable winning streak that's become the talk of the Big 12 Conference is not a "one-game-at-a-time" coach.

"I'm hour-to-hour," Iowa State's Wayne Morgan said Monday during the league coaches conference call. "Usually, I don't even know what day it is."

Maybe not. But everyone in the league knows what Iowa State is doing these days. A 63-61 overtime victory over then-No. 2 Kansas University on Saturday stretched the Cyclones' winning streak to seven games in a row, the third-longest conference winning streak in school history.

"It's unbelievable what they've done," said Texas A&M; coach Billy Gillispie, whose Aggies will play host to the Cyclones tonight. "I don't know if anybody in any major conference has done anything like that, win seven straight after losing five (conference games). It's an amazing feat they been able to do."

During the streak, Iowa State's zone defense has held opponents to a 39.9 field-goal percentage and forced 18.3 turnovers per game. While the Cyclones have averaged 72.7 points, opponents have been held to 61.1.

Kansas almost was entirely befuddled by the Iowa State zone, which features a lot of full-court pressure. The Jayhawks fed 6-foot-9 Wayne Simien, their best player, for just seven shots.

"It's been giving everybody fits," Gillispie said of the Iowa State defense. "It seems like some people attack it tentatively. They do a great job of recognizing where people are and they are very, very well-taught and well-schooled in knowing which cut to go with, knowing where to go every time the ball moves."

Along with that zone, part of reason for the success at Iowa State is Morgan's decision to allow the players to police themselves. For example, standout guard Curtis Stinson yelled at a couple of teammates Saturday for not aggressively going after rebounds.

"I'm OK with that," Morgan said. "That's the personality of our team. I used to worry about it. But they said, 'It's not a big deal to us, why should it be a big deal to you?' That's just how they are. When the game was over, they hugged and hugged."

  • Sorry, Eddie: Oklahoma State fans are startled that Eddie Sutton is not among the finalists for election this year into the Basketball Hall of Fame.

The only college coaches who made the list were Jim Boeheim of Syracuse and Connecticut's Jim Calhoun. Both are closing in on 700 career victories. Sutton, whose No. 4 Cowboys started the week tied with No. 8 KU for the Big 12 lead, already has 775.

"If that comes someday, I'll be thrilled," Sutton said. "But if you go back and look at all the college coaches in the Basketball Hall of Fame, it would shock you the people in there with maybe only 300 wins."

In the past 20 years, Sutton said, the NBA "has really gotten control of the Hall of Fame to a certain degree."

"I think Jim Boeheim and Jim Calhoun both are worthy of the Hall of Fame," he said. "That's something you have no control over. If it doesn't happen, it's not going to break my heart."

The 16 finalists were announced Sunday, and winners will be presented April 4 at the NCAA Final Four in St. Louis.

  • Booing J.R.: One of the rarest sights in the Big 12 is a Kansas player getting booed at Allen Fieldhouse. But it happened Saturday as J.R. Giddens missed 10 of 11 three-point attempts and 13 of 16 shots.

"The fans were frustrated, and certainly players were frustrated," KU coach Bill Self said. "But that's not typical of our student body."

Self said he would rather the fans boo coaches.

"These are still amateur athletes and they're out there trying," he said. "Certainly, he didn't play one of his better games."

  • Players of the week: To the surprise of no one, Stinson was named the Big 12's player of the week. The 6-3 guard hit the winning shot in the lane with 5.1 seconds left in overtime to lift the Cyclones past KU. In victories over the Jayhawks and Kansas State, he averaged 22.5 points, eight rebounds, 3.5 assists and 3.5 steals.

Oklahoma guard Terrell Everett was named the league's newcomer of the week. The 6-4 junior averaged 17 points and six assists in victories over Nebraska and Kansas State. Going into Monday night's game against Kansas, he had scored in double figures in six straight games.

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