Iowa CITY, Iowa - The Iowa faithful needed that one. They've heard a lot of static from Cyclone Nation in recent years.
The Iowa men's basketball team ended its three-game losing streak against its cross-state rival Friday night, 80-71, in front of a near sellout at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The football team has dropped two in a row to Iowa State.
The arena rocked and the students engulfed the Hawkeyes in crowd following the final horn Friday. Following that celebration, the Iowa players put the victory in proper perspective providing hope that it wasn't going to be the highlight of the young season.
"I'm more worried about the quality win," Iowa Junior Roy Devyn Marble said. "The rivalry, I do that for the fans. I know they want their bragging rights. That's my gift to them.
"But at the end of the day. I'm more worried about that quality win."
The Hawkeyes (8-2) picked up their first signature victory. ISU (6-3) reached the NCAA Tournament last season and were chosen by many prognosticators to be back there this March. Iowa last danced in 2006.
"That's a good team we just beat," freshman center Adam Woodbury said. "We've got to continue to build on this. We can't relax or let up. We have to play a good UNI team in a week (Dec. 15) and it's going to be a lot of work."
Sophomore Aaron White led a balanced Iowa attack with 14 points and seven rebounds. Freshman point guard Anthony Clemmons chipped in with 14 points and dished out eight assists with just one turnover.
A lot of the pre-game hype centered on the matchup of Clemmons and fifth-year senior Korie Lucious of ISU at the point. Clemmons more than held his own. Lucious, who played in a Final Four at Michigan State before transferring, finished with 14 points, but shot only 3 of 13 from the floor. He had seven assists with seven turnovers.
"I've seen him play a lot; open gyms, game at Michigan State," said Clemmons, a East Lansing product, who was not intimidated. "I'm pretty experienced in seeing him play."
The Cyclones entered the game leading the nation in rebounding, averaging 11.6 a game more than their opponents. Iowa won the battle of the boards, 37-35, Friday night.
"I thought they just flat out out-played us," Iowa State Coach Fred Hoiberg said. "We end up with 19 turnovers. We give them 15 offensive rebounds. We didn't play smart basketball."
Iowa State clung to a 36-35 halftime lead. The teams combined for 21 turnovers resulting in 27 points. The Hawkeyes raced to an 8-0 lead and held a 27-17 lead with 4:55 before the intermission only to see the visitors close things out with a 15-4 run. White had 14 at the break while Iowa State's Georges Niang netted 13.
Iowa came out of the intermission with a purpose after hearing it from McCaffery in the halftime locker room.
"The (ISU) zone got us a little sideways (late in the first half)," White said. " We weren't driving. We were taking three-point shots quick in the clock. We didn't need to.
"All of us went into the locker room (saying) if we play our game plan we're going to beat this team."
The win against the rival was a bonus for these Hawkeyes. They kept a big win in perspective and showed they're in this thing for the long haul.
"People within this locker room, if we would have lost this game we wouldn't have lost our confidence or anything like that," White said. "Since we won this game, it doesn't mean we're the best team in the country. We're going to keep going along with the journey and fight every game."