Wed. Feb 21st, 2024

Could there be more to the “Hilton Magic” at Iowa State’s Hilton Coliseum than just a raucous crowd? Kansas State coach Jerome Tang reportedly thinks so. Tang suspected ISU of committing espionage during K-State’s 78-67 road loss to the Cyclones on Wednesday, according to a report from the Kansas City Star.

Tang had a verbal exchange with Iowa State coach T.J. Otzelberger in the second half, and the two also shared a longer than normal discussion in the postgame handshake line during which Tang pointed to a spot in the stands behind the visiting team’s bench. At the heart of the matter was Tang’s suspicion that Iowa State had messengers strategically positioned to relay the plans from K-State’s timeouts back to the Iowa State bench via text message, the Star reported.

Both coaches deflected questions on the issue following the game, with Tang telling reporters that “nothing happened” and expressing admiration for Otzelberger. Both were longtime Big 12 assistants before landing head coaching jobs in the league during recent years. Still, despite their long relationship, Tang was clearly bothered by what he must have perceived as a violation of basic sportsmanship from Otzelberger’s program.

Otzelberger also declined to discuss the issue following the game.

“There’s a point in time where things are said between coaches that needs to stay that way,” Otzelberger said. “So that’s where we’re going to keep it.”

Iowa State’s home arena is a notoriously difficult place for opponents to play. The Cyclones are 12-0 at Hilton Coliseum this season and have used the home court advantage to amass a 15-4 (4-2 Big 12) record. They host No. 7 Kansas there on Saturday.

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