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Iowa State Has Respect; Now It Wants To Win
By: UCLA Athletics

March 22, 2000

AMES, Iowa - No longer is Iowa State's run in the NCAA basketball tournament about winning respect. Now it's just about winning.

With a first-team All-American in Marcus Fizer, the Big 12 regular-season and tournament championships and two double-digit victories in NCAA play, the Cyclones feel they have earned respect.

What they want now is to keep playing, and their next chance comes Thursday night against UCLA in the Midwest Regional semifinals at The Palace in Auburn Hills, Mich.

"We're just going out to play," guard Kantrail Horton said. "We want to win now. That's all that matters. Respect, we should be done with all that."

The second-seeded Cyclones (31-4) felt slighted while they were knocking off one opponent after another en route to the Big 12 championship. They were picked no higher than sixth to start the season, and they didn't break into the Top 25 until Jan. 31.

But Iowa State has everyone's attention now - Fizer made the cover of Sports Illustrated - and they need just four more victories to win the national championship.

"We're playing good enough right now," Horton said. "We've got areas we need to work on, things we need to touch up. But I feel we're good enough to win four more games."

Iowa State's only two losses in the last 30 games were in overtime on the road.

The Cyclones lost in double overtime at Oklahoma after missing a layup and a free throw that would have won it. They were beaten at Colorado when the Buffaloes' Jacquay Walls made a running 35-footer at the buzzer to send the game into overtime.

"We've earned our stripes, just like UCLA has," Iowa State coach Larry Eustachy said. "I think both teams have been in comparable situations.

"We're there now. Everybody respects everybody. The better team will win."

Iowa State got a pep talk from athletic director Gene Smith last week before starting the tournament. Smith has two national championship rings from his days as a football player and coach at Notre Dame, and he talked about how much they meant to him and how it felt to win them.

"I just told them as they go through this to try to find some time to cherish this opportunity," Smith said. "There's a lot of kids that don't get this. There's 16 teams left. If you have an average of 15 per team, there's just not a whole let of kids that get that opportunity to chase the dream."

His talk made an impact, Horton said.

"It really opened our eyes," he said. "It made us believe we really can do something. If you get that ring, people can't ever take that away from you. It just motivated us to work harder."

Iowa State has turned it on this season after going 15-15 a year ago and not even making the NIT. Eustachy, who's in his second season, said much of the credit goes to former coach Tim Floyd, now with the Chicago Bulls.

It was Floyd, Eustachy pointed out, who recruited most of the teams key players: Fizer, Stevie Johnson, Michael Nurse, Martin Rancik and Paul Shirley, who was a valuable performer until breaking a foot late in the season.

Eustachy brought in Horton, point guard Jamaal Tinsley and reserves Brandon Hawkins and Richard Evans to complete the mix.

"He has a big piece of this," said Eustachy, once an assistant to Floyd at Idaho State. "He's why we're going to Auburn Hills. It really happens a lot. Somebody takes your place and it's tough to pull for them. But nobody in the history of coaching has pulled more for the team he left than Tim Floyd.

"It means a lot to us. He faxed us a note before we played Auburn (last Saturday) and he was on the road. It's just a nice, nice relationship."

AP Sports Writer

UCLA Health Sponsor - Event Information
Friday, Oct 30
vs. Cal State Los ...
Los Angeles, CA
W, 95 - 57
Friday, Nov 13
vs. Monmouth
Los Angeles, CA
L, 81 - 84 (OT)
Sunday, Nov 15
vs. Cal Poly
Los Angeles, CA
W, 88 - 83
Thursday, Nov 19
vs. Pepperdine
Los Angeles, CA
W, 81 - 67
Monday, Nov 23
vs. UNLV
Lahaina, HI
W, 77 - 75
Tuesday, Nov 24
vs. Kansas
Lahaina, HI
L, 73 - 92
Wednesday, Nov 25
vs. Wake Forest
Lahaina, HI
L, 77 - 80
Sunday, Nov 29 - 4:00 PM PST
vs. CSUN
Los Angeles, CA
Thursday, Dec 03 - 6:00 PM PST
vs. Kentucky
Los Angeles, CA
Sunday, Dec 06 - 6:00 PM PST
vs. Long Beach State
Los Angeles, CA
Saturday, Dec 12 - 7:00 PM PST
at Gonzaga
Spokane, WA
Tuesday, Dec 15 - 6:00 PM PST
vs. Louisiana-Lafayette
Los Angeles, CA
Saturday, Dec 19 - 10:00 AM PST
vs. North Carolina
Brooklyn, NY
Tuesday, Dec 22 - 8:00 PM PST
vs. McNeese State
Los Angeles, CA
Friday, Jan 01 - 8:00 PM PST
at Washington
Seattle, WA
Sunday, Jan 03 - 6:30 PM PST
at Washington State
Pullman, WA
Thursday, Jan 07 - 6:00 PM PST
vs. Arizona
Los Angeles, CA
Saturday, Jan 09 - 2:00 PM PST
vs. Arizona State
Los Angeles, CA
Wednesday, Jan 13 - 8:00 PM PST
vs. USC
Los Angeles, CA
Wednesday, Jan 20 - 8:00 PM PST
at Oregon State
Corvallis, OR
Saturday, Jan 23 - 1:00 PM PST
at Oregon
Eugene, OR
Thursday, Jan 28 - 7:00 PM PST
vs. Washington
Los Angeles, CA
Saturday, Jan 30 - 4:00 PM PST
vs. Washington State
Los Angeles, CA
Thursday, Feb 04 - 7:30 PM PST
at USC
Los Angeles, CA
Friday, Feb 12 - 6:00 PM PST
at Arizona
Tucson, AZ
Sunday, Feb 14 - 5:30 PM PST
at Arizona State
Tempe, AZ
Thursday, Feb 18 - 7:00 PM PST
vs. Utah
Los Angeles, CA
Saturday, Feb 20 - 8:00 PM PST
vs. Colorado
Los Angeles, CA