A trap game is a game that a favored team will overlook their opposition because either A. The opponent is inferior or B. The favorite has a big matchup looming and is looking ahead. Saturday the Iowa State Cyclones found themselves facing a potential trap game.
Friday 13, the Cyclones play their in-state rival, the Iowa Hawkeyes. The Hawkeyes are currently ranked No. 23 in the nation, making the rivalry game more meaningful than in years past as the Cyclones are currently ranked No. 17. Iowa State also represents the lone unbeaten in the Big 12 Conference.
Only the Michigan Wolverines and the BYU Cougars have come remotely close to hanging with the high-octane Cyclone offense. Coming off a 29-point drubbing of the Auburn Tigers on Monday, the pedestrian Panthers of Northern Iowa seemed like a tune-up game going into the Iowa matchup.
In the words of the great Admiral Ackbar, “It’s a trap!” The sleepwalking Cyclones found themselves down by 13 at the end of the first half. Iowa State averages 91.8 points per game, but only scored 29 in the opening half. A loss to Northern Iowa would tarnish the impressive resume that the Cyclones have been building thus far.
No need to fear though Cyclone Nation, there are two halves in college basketball. Iowa State stormed back in the second half and held a three-point lead in the waning seconds. A bank shot three pointer by Panther junior forward Seth Tuttle would force overtime. With new life, the Cyclones took the Panthers behind the woodshed in overtime. The Cyclones saved their perfect season by the skin of their teeth, but survive the trap game by winning 91-82.