I wrote that I couldn’t remember being in a arena louder than Hilton Coliseum was Monday night.
An Iowa State fan I know referred me to a day in 1992 when second-ranked Oklahoma State played in Ames. He wrote:
The ‘Pokes were rated #2 and led by 20 in the second half. Justus (Thigpen) came in and went nuts, making three after three. ISU forced an overtime, but then trailed by 7 with less than a minute to play in overtime. They cut it to two with about 10 seconds to play in OT, at which point Fred (Hoiberg) made a layup and was fouled. He made the free throw for ISU’s first lead of the game. Darwyn Alexander brought the ball up court and drove for the hoop, jumping into Justus. Ron Zetcher called a foul on Justus — it was just a horrible, horrible call. Alexander was the league’s leading free throw shooter, over 80 percent, and went to the line for two shots with ISU leading by one. He bricked both of them.
He said later — so did Fred — that the floor and basket were actually moving from the noise. My wife and I had what we called “Hilton Hands” afterward. We had chapped hands, and we clapped so hard and long that the blood was seeping from the whorls on our palms and fingers.
“When Alexander shot those free throws my legs were shaking up and down because the court was rocking,” Hoiberg said.
Thigpen had four points with three minutes left in regulation. He finished with 22. That’s right out of the Elijah Johnson playbook, no?
“That was as good as we’ve ever played and probably could ever play,” ISU coach Johnny Orr said. “Down the stretch, I’ve never seen a greater performance than Justus Thigpen put out.”
I watched some of the replay of Monday night’s Kansas-Iowa State game and didn’t think ESPN’s telecast captured the volume of the crowd noise. It was as if they had their microphones stationed in Jack Trice Stadium. OK, that’s an exaggeration. But this clip from the end of that 1992 game sure let you know what the atmosphere was like:
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