A 19-point deficit wasn’t too huge for Iowa State, but Purdue’s Caleb Swanigan was.
The Boilermakers big man produced 20 points, seven assists and 12 rebounds in an entertaining 80-76 NCAA second-round win Saturday night. Swanigan’s final rebound came off a teammate’s missed free throw, denying the Cyclones a chance to tie the game with 11 seconds left.
The elimination of Iowa State (24-11) left the Big 12 with three teams in the Dance though Steve Prohm’s club dazzled over the final 14 minutes while overcoming a 58-39 hole.
Deonte Burton, showing an array of isolation moves, scored 17 of his 25 points after halftime. Point guard Monte Morris had 18 points and nine assists to cap one of the most storied careers in Cyclones history, and senior Matt Thomas scored 20.
“You’re just disappointed it ends,” Prohm said. “The last thing I told the guys in the locker room was that the last six, seven weeks of the season we were playing as good as anybody in the country.
“We changed as a team. We grew as a team. And the hardest thing to do right now is say goodbye, because you’re saying goodbye to the winningest senior class in the history of the school.”
On Sunday, Kansas faces Michigan State and Baylor plays USC in hopes of joining West Virginia in the Sweet 16.
Underwood bolts OSU
After a season in which Brad Underwood galvanized the Oklahoma State basketball community and appeared entrenched for the long haul, he’s gone.
Stunningly, Underwood accepted the job at Illinois on Saturday, barely 24 hours after the Cowboys suffered an NCAA first-round loss to Michigan.
In his piece for The Oklahoman, columnist Berry Tramel chronicled the recent negotiations in which AD Mike Holder tried to rework Underwood’s $1 million contract closer to the Big 12 median of $2.9 million. When Holder offered $2.2 million for next season with a pledge to raise the salary to $3 million by 2021, Underwood accepted an Illini offer reportedly exceeding $3 million now.
“No. I’m not angry. Just more disappointed,” Holder said. “I understand, he’s 53 years old and he’s got a family to think about. I thought we shared the dream that he would finish his career at Oklahoma State. If I had anything to do with that not coming to fruition, I feel terrible about it. Guess I’m more angry with myself.”