Iowa St. 91, Creighton 88
Creighton coach Greg McDermott didn't need a warm welcome in his return to Iowa.
What he really needed was the replay he never got.
Jamie Vanderbeken hit a turnaround 3 as time expired and Iowa State stunned Creighton 91-88 in Des Moines, spoiling McDermott's return to his home state.
But photographs appeared to show that ball was still in Vanderbeken's hands when the lights went off. Since the game wasn't televised, though, replays weren't available.
It was the toughest of breaks for McDermott, who bolted for the Bluejays last spring after four disappointing seasons with the Cyclones and, ironically, scheduled the game while still at Iowa State.
''There's no monitor, so we'll never know. Actually we will know, because they counted it,'' McDermott said. ''We had as good an officiating crew as you could ask for. If they say it counted, it counted.''
Antoine Young hit a pair of free throws with 1.6 seconds left to tie it up. But Vanderbeken caught the ball at the top of the key, spun left and drilled the game-winner - his only 3 of the game - from at least 25 feet.
''Oh yeah, it counted, so it was good,'' Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg said.
Diante Garrett scored a career-high 28 points, Melvin Ejim added 22 and Jake Anderson scored 19 points and grabbed 15 boards for the Cyclones (4-0).
Young led five players in double figures with 21 points for the Bluejays (3-1), who went 14 of 27 from 3-point range.
But it was a 3 they couldn't stop that sent them to their first loss under McDermott.
McDermott was greeted with a mixture of boos and cheers from a crowd of 10,252 in Des Moines, about 35 miles south of Ames. But all the hype over McDermott's return was overshadowed by a game that was much more entertaining than most imagined.
Young was fouled with 3.7 seconds left and the Bluejays down 88-85. He missed his second free throw, but grabbed the rebound and was fouled again.
Young hit both, which appeared to send the game into overtime. But Scott Christopherson fed the ball upcourt to Vanderbeken, a 6-foot-11 forward, who calmly knocked down the biggest shot of his career.
''Just a lucky shot I guess,'' Vanderbeken said. ''I thought I did (got it off in time). I don't know. I don't know what to say.''
Iowa State's bench erupted and streamed onto the court, and Garrett calmly raced toward the baseline and silently saluted the Cyclones student section.
As far as homecomings go, it couldn't have gone any worse for McDermott.
McDermott, a native Iowan, seemed like a perfect fit when the Cyclones hired him away from Northern Iowa in 2006, but Iowa State never reached the NCAA tournament or the NIT during his tenure.
''I don't want them to lose. I'll cheer for them every time moving forward,'' McDermott said of the Cyclones.
In the closing moments, it looked as though Iowa State was headed for a tight but somewhat comfortable victory.
Ejim hit a runner and a pull-up 3, and Anderson followed with a jumper to put Iowa State up 77-74 with 4:58 left, but Wayne Runnels hit a jumper to pull Creighton within 79-78.
Young answered with a 3 with 36 seconds to go, pulling the Bluejays to within 83-81. Garrett hit four free throws to keep Iowa State ahead, but he and Christopherson missed three of four from the line in the final 11 seconds to help put Creighton back in the game.
Kenny Lawson Jr. had 20 points, Darryl Ashford had 17 and freshman Doug McDermott, the coach's son and a state title winner on this same floor last winter, scored 16 points for Creighton.
The game had a feel of an midseason Missouri Valley or Big 12 game rather than a non-conference, neutral-site tilt in November. A few thousand Bluejays fans made the 2 1/2-hour drive down Interstate I-80 for the game, and the crowd was into it from the opening tip.
They left coach McDermott alone for the most part - save for a few salty chants from Iowa State's student section.
The play on the court felt like February as well, with both teams racing up and down the floor. In the end, Iowa State made one more play than Creighton - even if a replay might have taken it back.
''Listen, it was a split second one way or the other and they made the call,'' Hoiberg said.