Peterson: Ho-hum, Iowa State vs. Kansas basketball often includes blood, blown calls and more

AMES — There’s a mural on Hilton Coliseum’s concourse that shows how amped fans often get for Iowa State-Kansas basketball games. Check it out, if you’re attending Tuesday’s renewal of the Cyclones’ biggest rival.

Izaiah Brockington went another route. Upon committing from Penn State to Iowa State, he ran across YouTube videos of past Cyclones-Jayhawks games. Check them out, too. You’ll find some doozies.

If you’re lucky enough to have a ticket for Tuesday’s 6 p.m., game, there’s a good chance you’ll experience Hilton’s revved up energy for yourselves, especially if Iowa State-Kansas-II is as entertaining as Part-I Iast month at the museum also known as Allen Fieldhouse.

Iowa State men’s basketball, ranked 22nd this week by the coaches, and 20th by the Associated Press, being relevant again means many things to many fans. Tuesday night, it means the potential for another of those Cyclones-Jayhawks games, during which anything can, and has happened.

More: Peterson: Last-second loss at Kansas, although painful, proves Iowa State is for real

“Coming from a school where basketball might not be the No. 1 priority — the environment here, the fans and the community and the love they show is amazing,” said Jaz Kunc, who transferred to Iowa State from Washington State. “I’ve heard a lot of things about when Kansas comes to town. Hopefully we can put on a show for them.”

At least Tuesday night’s game means something. The last time this game played out at Hilton Coliseum, Iowa State was 2-13, en route to 2-22.

► Whether it was 10 years ago when the Cyclones’ upset of fifth-ranked Kansas marked the first time since 1995 that Iowa State beat a Top 10 team in Hilton Coliseum — when "Hilton Magic was definitely in full effect," then-coach Fred Hoiberg said after the game …

Iowa State’s Georges Niang is injured during the second half against Kansas in the Big 12 semifinals in 2014.
Iowa State’s Georges Niang is injured during the second half against Kansas in the Big 12 semifinals in 2014.

► Or the semifinal round of the 2014 Big 12 tournament, when Georges Niang’s right eye was bloodied so badly, that he was forced off the court with 1:23 to play in a game the Cyclones won, eliciting this response from then-star Melvin Ejim: "Everyone says they have more potential, more NBA draft players. We won." …

► Or the 2013 game in which Tyrus McGee said he followed Hoiberg’s instructions to intentionally foul Ben McLemore with Iowa State three-up and just a few seconds remaining in regulation, yet officials called nothing.

“I fouled him,” McGee said after that game in Allen Fieldhouse. “The ref just didn’t call it.”

McLemore banked in a 3-point shot to send the game into overtime. Kansas won, by the way, 97-89.

“I got him on the bottom of his hand,” McGee said afterward. “I should have smacked him in the head.”

And by the way, Iowa State coach T.J. Otzelberger still recalls that game. Foul or no foul with a three-point lead and just a few seconds remaining?

“As coaches, you’re always thinking about games where it didn’t go your way,” Otzelberger, an assistant with that team, said Monday. “As coaches, when you’re not successful, you’re hard on yourself about things you could have done differently.” …

► And who can forget the game in which officials’ errors resulted in a public reprimand, after Kansas 7-footer Jeff Withey played the last 30 seconds with five fouls? Teammate Kevin Young duped refs into thinking a foul was on him, not Withey.

More: What channel is Iowa State basketball vs. Kansas? How to watch and livestream the Cyclones vs. KU

A day later, Big 12 officials admitted parts of the game were officiated poorly, including a block-charge that went against the Cyclones’ Niang.

"Officiating errors were made at the end of regulation," the Big 12 statement said. "The plays have been reviewed and appropriate measures will be taken by the Coordinator of Men's Basketball Officials to adjust the number of future assignments for the two officials involved in conjunction with Conference policies."

Iowa State coach T.J. Otzelberger confers with point guard Tyrese Hunter during last month's game at Kansas.
Iowa State coach T.J. Otzelberger confers with point guard Tyrese Hunter during last month's game at Kansas.

Kansas won that controversial game in overtime 108-96 …

► Or most recently, Iowa State lost a one-pointer at Kansas Jan. 11, a game during which television replays clearly showed the Jayhawks away clearly goal-tended in the final seconds after Brockington’s layup hit the backboard.


It wasn’t called, which meant the play wasn’t reviewable.

“At the end of the day, just like the game in Lawrence, people can point to outside forces that impacted the win or the loss,” Otzelberger said Monday. “If we handle the things that we need to handle, then one play won’t matter.”

Stuff has happened when the teams are as competitive as the ones that meet for the second time this season. If you thought Hilton Coliseum was loud for the Iowa game in December, during which Iowa State won by 20, amplify that by a bunch if Tuesday’s game is as intense as past Iowa State vs. Kansas battles.

What mood do players expect the Jayhawks to be in, after losing against Kentucky in Saturday’s Big 12/SEC Challenge?

“They might come in here hungry, “ Kunc said, “but we’re going to come here (Tuesday) starving.”

Iowa State columnist Randy Peterson embarked on his 50th year of writing sports for the Des Moines Register in December 2021. Reach him at, 515-284-8132, and on Twitter at @RandyPete.

This article originally appeared on Des Moines Register: Iowa State vs. Kansas basketball has history of blown calls, chaos