Wednesday, January 9, 2013

ISU coach Hoiberg on McLemore’s 3: ‘I wish it would’ve swished’

Kansas guard Ben McLemore celebrates after drilling a three to start overtime against Iowa State on Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Ben McLemore celebrates after drilling a three to start overtime against Iowa State on Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013 at Allen Fieldhouse.


Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

KU coach Bill Self talks after win over Iowa State

Kansas coach Bill Self talks to reporters following the Jayhawks' 97-89 overtime victory over Iowa State on Jan. 9, 2013.

Download podcast

Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Ben McLemore, Travis Releford and Jeff Withey

Kansas players Ben McLemore, Travis Releford and Jeff Withey talk after the Jayhawks' 97-89 overtime victory over Iowa State on Jan. 9, 2013.

Download podcast

Box score


For all of the things about Wednesday's battle with the Kansas University men's basketball team that Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg was proud of, there was one thing he could not get over: the ending.

After playing tough and with poise, controlling most of the second half and having Kansas down as many as six points in the final minutes, Hoiberg's crew lost, 97-89, in overtime, a session that was made possible because of KU freshman Ben McLemore's banked-in three-pointer with three seconds remaining.

"I wish it would've swished," Hoiberg said of the heroic shot by McLemore, who scored a game- and career-high 33 points in the victory. "I'd feel better about myself right now if that thing didn't bank in."

Asked why, Hoiberg was brutally honest.

"Well, it wouldn't have seemed quite so lucky," he said.

That was the prevailing thought from the ISU locker room as the Cyclones (10-4 overall, 0-1 Big 12) filed out of one of the toughest places to play in the country with the haunting thought of just how close they were to winning.

"It hurts," Hoiberg continued. "It's gonna hurt all night long, driving back to Ames on a bus. And then you let it go. Our guys know we let one slip away. They're very disappointed about that. But, at the same time, if you can come in here and compete with a team that's won eight league championships in a row, you can play with anybody in the country. That's gonna be the mindset going forward."

As for whether a swish actually would have made things better, the ISU locker room was somewhat divided on that issue.

ISU senior Chris Babb (11 points, four rebounds, four assists) addressed the thought with one word and a half smile.

"Nah," he said.

Freshman forward Georges Niang, who scored 13 points in just his second start of the season, sided with Hoiberg.

"I probably would agree with that," Niang said. "The bank is sort of artificial. I don't know if we would've counted that on the playground."

Doesn't matter. It counted at Allen Fieldhouse and, although the two teams played five more minutes after the shot from the left wing went in, McLemore's fifth three-pointer of the night — he finished 6-for-6 — was the dagger.

"I think we just kind of felt it," said Babb, who watched his team give up 11 straight points to start overtime. "We played our hearts out. We played as hard as we could and that last shot, it just kind of hurt us."

With his team leading 79-76 and just 8.4 seconds remaining, Hoiberg said he contemplated fouling so KU (13-1, 1-0) could not get a look at a game-tying shot. But the third-year ISU coach elected to hunker down and play defense because he felt too many things could go wrong if he chose to foul.

"We thought we knew the play they were gonna run," Hoiberg said. "And they did run it. ... It came down to a freak play there at the end. When it left (McLemore's) hand I said, 'We got it.' It looked like it was off to the left. And it banks in."

Although the heart-breaking shot kept replaying in his mind, it did nothing to tarnish Hoiberg's opinion of McLemore.

"He's unbelievable," Hoiberg said. "He's got the potential to be the No. 1 pick in the (June NBA) draft. He's great now, and he's got great upside just because of his athleticism, he's got a great stroke, he's got great elevation on his shot and he seems like a wonderful kid. He's a star."


kufaninmo 9 years ago

maybe he called "glass" as he let it fly?

Ian Emerson 9 years ago

Word is he actually said "bank" ;)

Eric TheCapn 9 years ago

By his logic, shouldn't he feel better about himself that it did bank in? That way, the only way he lost is by luck. If it swished, Iowa State would have been beaten more legitimately. Odd quote from a smart coach, but it was probably just a poorly-veiled, convoluted way of saying, "I would have beat you jerks if it weren't for a freakin' lucky shot." Go ahead and say that mayor; you'd be right.

JHawk74 9 years ago

Great shooters get lucky sometimes and everything falls into the basket including shots of the glass beyond the 3 point line. Great win! RCJH KU!

Bob Hechlor 9 years ago

There is luck in basketball. If one looked at this game objectively, I saw Iowa players faking getting fouled and getting away with it. I saw them officiated into an advantage. We saw players fall on the floor who were barely touched or not touched at all. I saw the ball bounce right into the hands of Iowa players more often than it bounced into the hands of KU players. That is just the way the ball bounces. Overall, both teams played very well. It was a high scoring game. Who had the most luck? Well, it would be hard to say, but I think Iowa had just as much as KU did, if not more. Luck will always be a factor, to some extent, in who wins. Officiating is never perfect.

johnnyphoton 9 years ago

Hey, Guvna, the freaking ball went in. Get over it. I'm sure all of your team's shots were pure skill.

HawksWin 9 years ago

+100!!! Don't care for Hoi & that comment of his. He's pissed & don't want to give credit where credit is due - to McLemore. What a sore loser! He spent 21+ days studying & strategizing to get a W from Self, and couldn't stand that he lost. Now Self & his boys have to go Aimes & sock it to Hoi - let him know that it was no luck!

Aligned 9 years ago

"He's unbelievable," Hoiberg said. "He's got the potential to be the No. 1 pick in the (June NBA) draft. He's great now, and he's got great upside just because of his athleticism, he's got a great stroke, he's got great elevation on his shot and he seems like a wonderful kid. He's a star."


Jonathan Allison 9 years ago

in alignment with Aligned.

Don't be a sore winner! Hoiberg was very complimentary of McLemore. He knows he had the game in the bag and they let it slip away. He also knows that you can't count on luck to be on your side, especially in AFH.

He has every right to be disappointed that his team didn't pull off the magical upset. Beating KU in the Phog is almost an automatic bid to the NCAA tourney.

Chris1955 9 years ago

I'm hoping the shot will be known as Ben's Bank Buster. I don't think that the other version could be said on TV.

Phil Leister 9 years ago

"The more I practice, the luckier I get." Funny how luck tends to find it's way to the most talented players, ain't it?

Martin Rosenblum 9 years ago

OT: KU 19...ISU 10

The streak: W-100..... L-1

JayhawkInTigerCountry 9 years ago

I love the energy Young brings, but holy cow, he cannot do anything on offense. His points come from dunks off of good passes. When he was on the floor, it was like trying to play 4 on 5 because the just sagged way down to Jeff with EVERY time. I could barely stand to watch it. He needs to develop a 10 to 12 foot jump shot badly.

Michael Pannacciulli 9 years ago

Lots of shots were not falling at one point for Young, Jeff, Tharpe...that's why the call it a drought. Was hard to watch. But then Ben took over and had a game that will be rembered for a long time to come.

HawkKlaw 9 years ago

Yeah, they didn't even bother guarding Kevin Young at all. They just double-teamed Withey all night. It was a great strategy (one that I would probably use if I were coaching against KU this season). Young is not a jump shooter so they just sagged off of him and made it tough to get the ball to Jeff. Thank goodness for Elijah's early dribble-drives and BMac's late heroics or we would've been sunk for sure!

NebraskaJayhawk 9 years ago

KY just has to learn to take it to the rim if that's what defenses give up. It was there and I garauntee Self has already instructed him on it. I can't wait until the play in Ames. KY is going to score 15-20 because of this strategy the second time around.

NebraskaJayhawk 9 years ago

Uh yeah...if you don't think he contributes offensively, you don't understand the game of basketball. Even if he had 0 points, KY contributes in so many different facets of the game. He and Releford both are the type of players that give more than what shows up on the stat sheet. We're fortunate to have two on the same team.

Suzi Marshall 9 years ago

The first post is right. If our guys give it all they have, "The Phog" will settle in and make the W. I've seen it happen again and again for over 50 years.

Matt Lacey 9 years ago

Thank goodness for the WatchESPN app and Apple TV. My DVR stopped with 15s left in regulation.

RJ King 9 years ago

Live and learn. Always, always use the feature to add an additional 30-60 minutes at the end of the game when you set up the recording. My Syracuse grad spouse did not miss any of the six OT periods of the Orange / U-Conn classic two years ago! Glad you caught it.

ljmhawk 9 years ago

The backboard is there for a use it! i know bmac didn't mean to use the glass but it happened.

Jerry Rockhold 9 years ago

In 2008 we Had "Mario's Miracle" 3 pt. shot & now in 2013 Ben has blessed us with "McLemore's Miracle." And the beat goes on as KU wins another. (Credit to my 15 yr.old son for the "MM" label.) :)

brich 9 years ago

Wow, almost forgot about that one! Almost spooky that if you could just change the color of the unies from Orange to White, which Memphis wore and put the Blue unies on the Hawks and they are a clone of each other! If it worked the first time, why not try again just to give us another 5 minutes of pleasure by dominating the overtime periods

Chris Bruning 9 years ago

"I probably would agree with that," Niang said. "The bank is sort of artificial. I don't know if we would've counted that on the playground."

Im confused, bank shots don't count on the playground? Thats like saying using glass on layups shouldn't count because everyone on the playground should be able to dunk.

Brak 9 years ago

I would look at it like "slop" in billiards, on the playground they probably would have only given him 2 instead of 3 because it was a "lucky" shot that shouldn't have went in unless he called it beforehand.

brich 9 years ago

I could be wrong, but did't a Cyclone also go to the "BANK" last night?? What, do they have the only key to the vault??!!

kc_wildfire 9 years ago

I think the unofficial stats on a foul or defend end of game situation in college basketball is now 24-2. Meaning, 26 teams have been up by three with less than 10 seconds to go...24 have decided to foul and won, two have elected not to foul and they have lost.

If I were a coach that stat makes it a pretty easy decision for me as to how to play out the final seconds.

kc_wildfire 9 years ago


26 teams have fouled when in the above mentioned situation and 24 have won.

RJ King 9 years ago

If I read you correctly, "26 teams have fouled and 24 have won." (That strategy works.) What about the teams that have elected not to foul? Is there a stat for 3-pt attempts with the game on the line? is it lower than the average 3-pt% (because of added pressure)?

Whatever - it still likely makes a huge case for the strategy to foul.

kc_wildfire 9 years ago


All my info comes from #foulordefend on twitter via @CoachFinamore and after researching it more I think it also contains some high school results as well. Anyway, here is the data he has collected on the other side of the debate...

197 did not foul and decided to defend the three...37 times the shot has been made, which makes the percentage 3 pt. FG% at 18%.

So with their data the foul method comes in at 92.3% chance of winning the game and the defend method comes in at 81.2% chance of winning.

RJ King 9 years ago

excellent info - thanks! I had a hunch that the 3-pt conversion % rate would be much lower than under normal circumstances.

Martin Rosenblum 9 years ago

Oh no you didn't! That's so wrong (but I like your train of thought)

I agree, they had every opportunity to dominate in OT,even with players fouling out. It felt like they just felt KU was supposed to win so they let us. Truth was...KU 19 ISU 10 in OT.

RJ King 9 years ago

Might you back up your opinion with specifics?

carolinajay 9 years ago

I am always glad to get by ISU with a win of any type. It seems to me that through the years they gave us tough games, especially at Hilton.

Andy Godwin 9 years ago

Two hours later, West Virginia up by 3 against Texas with four seconds to go and huggy bear decides not to foul. OT. The announcers of that game referred to the KU game and indicated West Virginia must foul before the 3 point attempt. From ones living room it appears to be a no brainier. Simply put, coaches don't trust their players to foul at the correct moment. They are concerned about fouling in the act of the 3 point shot or making it so blatant that the officials call an intentional foul (two free throws and the ball). Nevertheless, KU was fortunate to win. The smart move from an armchair is to foul. Lucky Fred was on the sideline.

Brak 9 years ago

I always liked The Mayor and a competitive ISU is good for the Big12 but quit complaining dude. I'm sorry but a kid that goes 6-6 from behind the arc doesn't get "lucky" and frankly since you knew what we were going to run and didn't double team BMac means you got out coached, plain and simple. I will say though I'm not looking forward to the return trip to Ames, going to be brutal for sure but as long as BMac is healthy the sky is the limit.


by Brak

Charles Shirley 9 years ago

I completely agree. Everyone watching that game knew that BMac was going to get the ball or at least KU was going to give him the first and best opportunity to the get the ball. Travis did a great job getting BMac free, but seriously Iowa St should have been all over him. And of course Iowa St still had the whole overtime to beat KU and they just gave up after BMac's 3.

brich 9 years ago

Wow, almost forgot about that one! Almost spooky that if you could just change the color of the unies, they are a clone of each other! If it worked the first time, why not try again just to give us another 5 minutes of pleasure by dominating the overtime periods

Billy Smith 9 years ago

Hard to say it was "lucky" considering the kid was 6-6 from downtown. Also the fact that The Mayor knew what play we were going to run, the weave, I think Bill needs to come up with at least another end of game desperation play. It is becoming too predictable, this time it worked however. What a shot.

Brianna Zaleski 9 years ago

But there are multiple options on the play. It's not run just for BMAC

David Gisi 9 years ago

I didn't take anything bad from Hoiberg's comment. He just said "it wouldn't have seemed to be lucky if it had swished." People perceive a bank shot in that instance as lucky. Sometimes it is and sometimes it isn't. When I go cold shooting against my son, sometimes "going to the bank" from deep helps me get going again. There is just as much skill involved in making an intentional bank, particularly from 3 range, as there is in swishing it. It actually appeared that Ben may have altered that shot to the bank to avoid the shot pressure coming at his right, which would mean it was a fantastic shot. I didn't think Hoiberg was saying it was "lucky", just stating the obvious. People perceive it as lucky.

HawkKlaw 9 years ago

This. If the tables were turned, we'd all be saying the same thing as Hoiberg.

JJHAWK 9 years ago

Not me. I'd be using expletives deleted. Give ISU credit. They will be in the Tourney.

Martin Rosenblum 9 years ago

Let's not dilute "Mario's Miracle" by calling this "McLemore's Miracle". Mario's was in the National Championship game and BMac's was in a regular season conference opener. Perspective please! True enough, there was a win streak at stake. But, nevertheless, it was a shot he could probably make more times than not.

If anything, let's call it "Ben's Backboard Buzzer Beater"

jayhawkinnc 9 years ago

As far as the issue of whether or not a team up 3 should foul in the final my opinion, I think no team should ever foul in that situation. Yes, I understand the consequence that if they don't foul, the other team can tie it with a 3, but to me when a coach tells his team to foul in that situation, it sends the message to his team that he doesn't have faith in them that they can properly defend and get a stop at the end. fouling to me in that situation is bush-league and a chicken way out. everyone is afraid of getting tied up, so they foul. i respect Hoiberg for not fouling and having his team hunker down and play D.

HawkKlaw 9 years ago

I respect teams that don't foul in that situation, but I think that teams should foul in that situation. It's admirable to put your guys out there and make them defend for the final few seconds, but so many things can go wrong if you don't foul.

Look at the 2008 championship game, for instance. All Memphis had to do was foul on that last possession and KU would have probably lost the game (barring a "missed FT put-back" miracle). I was elated when KU won, but when I went back and re-watched the game, I couldn't help but think that Calipari probably regretted not fouling Sherron while he was bringing the ball up the court. Hindsight is 20/20, and Memphis would have had to vacate the championship anyway, but I really think it was a big mistake for Calipari to not foul in that championship game.

In a regular-season game like last night, I don't think it's as big of a deal and it helps your team learn if you make them play through it, but I bet there's a small part of Hoiberg wishing they would have fouled before McLemore got the shot off.

GreatJake 9 years ago

Anyone know when ESPN will replay the game?

tammyn26 9 years ago

ISU had practically a month to prepare for this game - of course they were ready to play. Not surprised this game was close but this was really really close especially at home. Thank goodness we squeaked out a win! RCJH!

jayhawkinnc 9 years ago

Calipari WAS trying to foul Sherron Collins in 08 at halfcourt. In Self's book "At Home in the Phog", Sherron says he could hear Calipari ordering Derek Rose to foul, but Sherron blew by him and Rose said he was afraid to grab Sherron from behind as to not risk an intentional foul. Glad they didn't foul us! :)

Commenting has been disabled for this item.