Rushed Reactions: #14 UAB 60, #3 Iowa State 59

Posted by Walker Carey on March 19th, 2015

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Rush the Court will be providing wall-to-wall coverage of each of the NCAA Tournament from each of the 13 sites this year. Follow our NCAA Tourney specific Twitter accounts at @RTCeastregion, @RTCMWregion,@RTCsouthregion and @RTCwestregion.

Three Key Takeaways.

It wasn't a good day for the Cyclones. (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

It wasn’t a good day for the Cyclones. (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

  1. This was an enormous upset. Iowa State entered Thursday’s game as a 14-point favorite. This large of a point spread made sense as the Cyclones were fresh off taking home the Big 12 Tournament title and were widely seen as a team that could possibly get to the Final Four. UAB only earned a bid to the NCAA Tournament by making a surprising run to the Conference USA Tournament title. No one really gave the Blazers much of a chance in this game. Only 6.9% of the brackets entered on CBSSports.com picked UAB to advance. There was really nothing in the statistics or the schedules that even suggested that this game would be close. This was March Madness at its very best. Just like that… Iowa State is going home and UAB is advancing to the Round of 32.
  2. UAB controlled the glass all afternoon. The biggest factor that went into UAB pulling off the upset was its utter dominance on the glass. The Blazers ended the game with a 52-37 rebounding advantage today. In that rebounding advantage was a striking 19-9 advantage on the offensive glass. Tyler Madison, a reserve swingman, collected nine offensive rebounds alone in just 14 minutes of playing time. This vast rebounding advantage allowed UAB to take Iowa State out of its offensive rhythm and really slow down the game.
  3. Georges Niang turned in a nightmare game in the loss. Thursday afternoon will be a day to forget for Niang. Less than a week after taking home the Big 12 Tournament Most Outstanding Player award, the junior had a game to forget as his team was sent to an early exit. Saddled by early foul trouble, Niang was never able to get into any sort of offensive rhythm. While 11 points and seven rebounds is not a terrible line to finish with, Niang went just 4-of-15 from the floor and committed three of Iowa State’s 11 turnovers. Sometimes good players just have off games. That was certainly the case with Niang in Iowa State’s stunning defeat.

Player(s) of the Game. Robert Brown and William Lee, UAB. Brown led the way for the Blazers with 21 points and it was his three-pointer with 52 seconds left that took the lead back from Iowa State. While Iowa State briefly took the lead again, it was Brown’s ice-cold triple that got the Blazers believing they were going to win the game. Lee was spectacular in the post all game long, finishing with 14 points and 12 rebounds. His biggest contribution came at the end of the game, as he calmly hit two free throws to push the UAB lead to three.

Quotable.

  • “This is as tough a loss as I have ever been a part of.” – Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg, expressing his disappointment after his team’s early exit from the NCAA Tournament.
  • “They played harder and wanted the boards more than us the entire time.” – Iowa State forward Jameel McKay, when asked about UAB’s significant rebounding advantage.
  • “I am awfully proud of our guys. I thought we played a very good basketball game. We were not perfect, but man, did we compete the entire game.” – UAB coach Jerod Haase, who was obviously very thrilled with his team’s victory.
  • “We have to give UAB something to cheer about, something to believe in.” – UAB forward William Lee, acknowledging the tough situation at his school following the termination of its football program.

Sights and Sounds. Both teams were fairly well represented with the Iowa State contingent setting up shop behind the Cyclones’ bench and the UAB brigade seated across from the Blazers’ bench. During a first half media timeout, the UAB contingent loudly chanted, “Fire (university president) Ray Watts!” while others held “Bring Back UAB Football” signs. This hostility seemed to die down by the end of the game though, as the fan base exploded in elation when the final buzzer sounded.

What’s Next. UAB advances to the Round of 32 where it will face the winner of #6 SMU and #11 UCLA on Saturday.

WCarey (251 Posts)


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