Kansas coach Bill Self talks to reporters following the Jayhawks' 72-64 loss to Iowa State on Jan. 28, 2012.
KU players Tyshawn Taylor and Thomas Robinson talk to reporters following the Jayhawks' 72-64 loss to Iowa State on Jan. 28, 2012.
Ames, Iowa Following a made free throw with 8:04 to go, Iowa State forward Royce White walked all the way up to the rim and inspected the underside of the net.
After ISU’s 72-64 victory over Kansas University on Saturday, he was asked why he did it.
“That was for (KU forward) Thomas (Robinson),” White said with a smile, “because he said I was going to miss them, and I made one. That was for him.”
Maybe all the 51-percent free-throw shooter needed was a little extra motivation.
White hit three of his final four free-throw attempts, ending his day 6-for-11 from the line.
Though it might not sound like much, it was a huge improvement for the sophomore, whose 1-for-7 free-throw shooting Tuesday at Texas was so bad he earned a spot on ESPN’s Not Top 10.
“I woke up this morning, dreaming about missing free throws,” White said, “so I went to the gym this morning and shot free throws and tried to get it right.”
White put up extra shots before and after the team’s scheduled shoot-around, then hoisted a few more during pregame warmup.
He even practiced charity attempts with ISU coach Fred Hoiberg.
“Going up to the line, it becomes like an island up there when you’re on a bad streak,” White said. “It felt good (Saturday).”
Following the game, ISU fans stormed the court for the first time in senior Scott Christopherson’s four years at the school.
White said the Cyclones came into the contest believing it was “basically a must-win.”
“It definitely feels good to beat ’em,” White said, “knowing that we felt like we should have won the first time.”
After turning it over 13 times in the first half, Hoiberg told his players in the locker room that if they cut those turnovers in half, they’d walk out of the building with a win.
ISU had only six second-half giveaways.
The Cyclones also scored on each of their eight possessions in the final five minutes.
“Our offense down the stretch — that was as poised as we’ve played,” Hoiberg said.
The coach also made sure to praise his team’s defense. He said the Cyclones did a better job of getting the ball out of KU guard Tyshawn Taylor’s hands while also covering the pick-and-roll more consistently.
It was ISU’s first home victory against KU since Jan. 31, 2004.
“There’s always something extra-special about the Kansas game. There’s always something a little extra in the air,” said Hoiberg, who played for ISU from 1991-95. “They come in here always in the top 10. I have so much respect for that program. I have so much respect for Bill Self and his coaching staff. They do as good a job as anybody.”
Hoiberg said “Hilton Magic” was in full effect Saturday.
“To be honest with you, I think the two best buildings in our league to play in are Allen Fieldhouse and Hilton Coliseum. I’m absolutely passionate about that,” Hoiberg said. “They made it tough for us to win down there, and I think we made it tough for them to win down here.”