'MAD' Moments: March 1992

July 16, 2010

Editor’s Note: Being “MAD” is all about the Iowa Hawkeyes and their fans working together to return the men’s basketball program at the University of Iowa back to a position of prominence nationally. When that goal is accomplished, the Hawkeyes will once again be a participant in “March Madness” – just like they were in the spring of 1992. The following was written by Michael Stotz and first appeared in the March 20, 1992 edition of the Iowa City Press-Citizen.

GREENSBORO, N.C. – Acie Earl, all 240 pounds of him, was eternally grateful that Iowa only had a light shootaround scheduled for today. After what he and his teammates went through Thursday in the NCAA Tournament, any rest would be welcome.

Earl and the Hawkeyes found no loafing time in this Indy 500 of a basketball game in the East Regional. The Hawkeyes didn’t stop running until they beat Texas 98-92, right at the stroke of midnight.

“There were a few times I had to take myself out, I was so tired. And I think I’m in pretty good shape,” Earl said. “I can’t even remember a game like that this year that was so up and down. It doesn’t matter if you try to slow down the pace, because Texas would just pick it up on you.”

This game was the highest offensive output of the 16 first-round games Thursday. Only Louisiana State came close in a 94-83 win over Brigham Young. It was also the most Iowa scored since drilling Centenary with 121 points in early January.

But what lies ahead Saturday – a chance for payback against Duke in the second round – might have been worth the exhaustion Iowa felt Wednesday. The top-ranked Blue Devils discarded Campbell 82-56 in an earlier game. Iowa takes on Duke at 11:10 a.m. Saturday (KGAN-2).

But for now, the Hawkeyes may need to catch their breath.

“It’s an awful quick, awful tough turnaround. I don’t know. We’ll do our best,” Coach Tom Davis, not making any promises about playing the defending national champions.

How did the Hawkeyes survive the first round against a Texas team that punishes opponents with their pace? A ton of Gatorade, liberal substituting, and lots of points.

Earl finished with 25, and he got help from James Moses’ 22 points and career-high 16 rebounds. Val Barnes scored 21. The bench was led by a season-high nine points from James Winters.

This game was the highest offensive output of the 16 first-round games Thursday. Only Louisiana State came close in a 94-83 win over Brigham Young. It was also the most Iowa scored since drilling Centenary with 121 points in early January.

Iowa, the same team which crawled to 19 first-half points a week ago against Michigan State, showed the spunk that had been missing in the last several weeks of the Big Ten season.

Credit for that goes to a senior who didn’t want to go home yet.

Moses seemed to be everywhere, swallowing up 16 rebounds, pouring out seven assists, not to mention his points. When he was heavily guarded, he still called out to his teammates for the pass.

Texas was ready to stop Earl. They knew what Chris Street could do on the boards. They could handle Kevin Smith’s speed. But somewhere in the scouting report, Moses got lost.

“The guy just killed us tonight,” Texas Coach Tom Pender said. “He was just outstanding.”

After trailing 4-2 early, Iowa led the rest of the way, by as many as 12 points. But there was no rattling the Longhorns, who came within horns reach of a comeback time and time again in the second half.

“Anybody that’s seen us play knows a 10-point lead is nothing,” Penders said. “We can knock that down in a hurry.” Or almost knock Iowa out of the tournament in a hurry. When freshman Terrence Rencher calmly hit one of his five three-pointers with 34.1 seconds left, Texas had clawed to within two points.

But the Longhorns, who hit 13 three-pointers, would find the well dry after that. Rencher tried another off-balance bomb, but was fouled. Teammate Dexter Cambridge tried a three-pointer from the corner that bounced out.

Earl was fouled with 11.2 seconds left and missed his second free throw. With the Hawkeyes sweating bullets, Cambridge grabbed Earl’s missed shot and threw a careless pass, which Barnes intercepted.

Help the Hawkeyes be ” MAD” again. Click HERE to purchase your 2010-11 Iowa men’s basketball season tickets.

Barnes sank two free throws for Iowa’s final advantage, falling just short of the century mark.

“That’s the kind of game people pay to watch,” Penders said. “Both teams played their tails off.

“If we could have gotten the lead, maybe we would have been able to pull it off. Maybe a play here or there, a traveling call in the middle of the floor when they had a-two-on-one, and the whole thing goes our way. It was that type of game.”

With it, Penders’ perfect mark in first-round games came to a halt, and Davis’ record of seven trips to the second round in seven tries remains intact. Can Iowa make it to the final 16 for the fourth time in Davis’ career? Better let the exhausted Hawkeyes sleep on that. They’ll need their rest.