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Iowa History Daily: December 19 - The Lafester Rhodes Game

Iowa History Daily: On December 19, 1987, #17 Iowa State beat #23 Iowa 102-100 in a men’s basketball matchup commonly known as “The Lafester Rhodes Game.” While dropping a school-record 54 points, Lafester Rhodes led the Cyclones to a memorable overtime victory in Iowa’s most bitter rivalry.

Coming off a trip to the Sweet Sixteen in 1986, Johnny Orr’s Cyclones beat #2 Purdue while starting the season 7-1. The Hawkeyes, coming off an Elite 8 run in Coach Davis’s first season at the helm, entered the contest in Ames at 6-1. Iowa State leaned on a cast including all-time greats Jeff Grayer and Lafester Rhodes, while Iowa boasted top-performers Roy Marble and B.J. Armstrong. Hilton Coliseum served as the stage for an epic matchup.

With 14,636 packed to the rafters in Ames, the crowd proved so loud the announcer had to introduce Jeff Grayer twice because he couldn’t hear his cue the first time. A frantic pace ensued as Iowa jumped out to a 14-7 lead. Rhodes rose to the challenge, scoring six-straight to put the Cyclones up before going into the half 50-49.

With the Cyclones clinging to a 90-89 lead with under a minute to play a five-second violation on ISU gave the Hawks a chance. Ed Horton ended up at the line for the Hawks, going 1-2 to send the game to overtime. In extra time, the Cyclones raced out to 97-92 lead, before Iowa battled back to go up 100-99 with only 1:16 to play. 

The night however, proved destined to belong to Lafester Rhodes who capitalized on an Iowa turnover to put ISU back in front. Rhodes played all 45 minutes of the Cyclone victory while shooting 20-31 from the floor to etch his name in the annals of Cy-Hawk history. #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaHistoryCalendar


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