Before Aaron Craft, there was Bruce Schnabel.
And before Georges Niang, there was Tom Goodman.
As Craft launched his last-second jump shot to stick a dagger in Iowa State’s NCAA Tournament hopes on Sunday, a familiar, helpless feeling came racing back to Goodman – a former Fort Dodge Dodger and Iowa State Cyclone basketball standout – nearly 50 years later.
Goodman was guarding Schnabel when the Ohio State reserve hit a 40-foot shot at the buzzer to defeat Iowa State 79-77 on Dec. 3, 1966 – one of the few times the programs had met until last weekend. He can empathize with Niang, who gave Craft just enough room to let the game-winner go and send the Buckeyes, not the Cyclones, on to the Sweet 16 with a 78-75 victory.
”I hadn’t thought much about (the potential parallels) until the game got close down the stretch,” said Goodman, who now lives at Lake Panorama. ”Then Craft’s dribbling with the ball, the game is tied and the clock’s winding down – I had one of the biggest instances of deja vu I’ve ever had in my life, even before he took the shot.
”It happened to us 47 years ago, yet I still remember every detail like it was yesterday. When the ball is in the air, it’s like everything is moving in slow motion. Those kids will play it over and over again in their minds for the rest of their lives, unfortunately.”
Goodman was a starting sophomore guard for Iowa State that year. He scored 11 points in the narrow loss at the Armory in Ames.
”You could hear a pin drop when (Schnabel) let it go,” said Goodman, who also coached the Dodgers to their last state basketball championship in 1988. ”He shot it straight on from nearly half court and it banked in. I got screened trying to defend him and was standing there kind of like Niang was when it dropped.
”(The Armory) was sold out and it was a standing room-only crowd. My heart sunk when it happened and (on Sunday), my heart sunk all over again. I went to the garage and got my scrapbook out after it happened – heck, even the final score was almost identical.”
The one big difference, though, was that Iowa State’s loss in 1966 came during the regular season.
”The fact that it came in the (NCAA Tournament) just adds insult to injury,” Goodman said. ”We were at least able to get on the court two days later and beat Minnesota (in Ames). You always hate to lose like that, because you think about all the things you could’ve done differently. But the best thing to do is get back out there and play another game. Unfortunately, (these Cyclones) can’t do that.
”It’s too bad – I really liked their team a lot this season, and when they had the late comeback, I thought they were going to pull off the upset. You hurt for those kids, having their year end like that. It’s a pretty helpless feeling.”
Eric Pratt is Sports Editor at The Messenger. He may be reached afternoons and evenings at 1-800-622-6613, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org