Royce White watched. As did Chris Allen and Chris Babb. But none of the three transfers sitting out per NCAA regulations could do a thing as the Northern Iowa Panthers upset the Iowa St. Cyclones 60-54 last season, handing the Clones one of their two non-conference losses on the season.
This year they're hoping for a different outcome.
The trio of transfers lead an ISU team in their in-state match-up tonight against the Panthers, as both teams have had an eerily similar starts to the season. Both are 5-1 and have four game winning streaks on the line tonight. Both are returning from 2-0 showings at the South Padre Island Invitational, where each defeated both the Rice Owls and Providence Friars. The Clones had the more dominating victory over Rice, winning by 27, compared to a narrow 4-point victory by UNI. But UNI got the better of Providence, taking home a 17-point win, while ISU won by 10.
Compared to the game last season in Cedar Falls, tonight's game in Ames will feature a drastically different Cyclone squad. The Clones top four scoring leaders are all new to this rivalry, as White, Allen and Babb are all D1 transfers and Tyrus McGee played in JUCO the past two seasons. The leading returning scorer from the game last year is Scott Christopherson (ironically a Marquette transfer himself), who scored 10 and pulled down five boards in that contest.
The Panthers are led by a pair of juniors, 6-9 forward Jake Koch and 6-0 guard Anthony James, and 6-1 senior guard Johnny Moran. During last year's game this trio led the Panthers with 12 points apiece.
So the winner? With Hilton Magic reincarnated and the talent level now wearing cardinal and gold, the Clones will get their revenge.