No. 24 Longhorns look to overcome ‘Hilton Magic’ on Saturday

Akshay Mirchandani

The people of Ames, Iowa call it “Hilton Magic.”

It’s Iowa State’s raucous home-court advantage at Hilton Coliseum, where the Cyclones have lost just three games during the past two seasons. A reporter even broke his leg when fans stormed the court after Iowa State beat rival Iowa on Dec. 10. 

Hilton Coliseum is the next site No. 24 Texas has to visit in a brutal month. But the Longhorns haven’t thought too much about “Hilton Magic.”

“No, I don’t really think about it,” junior guard Kendal Yancy said. “I don’t care either.”

Texas gets to experience “Hilton Magic” for the first time this season on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. No. 14 Iowa State is the final road game against a ranked opponent Texas plays this season. 

The Longhorns have some big road wins under their belt, like against No. 21 Baylor and No. 10 West Virginia. But, they have had their share of tough
road losses. 

The most recent one came on Monday against No. 3 Oklahoma. The Longhorns led the Sooners for nearly the entire game, but Sooners senior guard Buddy Hield hit a stepback 3-pointer with two seconds left to beat Texas. 

The Longhorns are trying to remove that from their memory.

“In this conference, you just have to have sort of amnesia about those things,” senior center Prince Ibeh said. “If you hang on to those things a little bit, you’ll drag that kind of negative energy into the next game. You just have to know how to move on and not let it happen again.”

Texas has already beaten the Cyclones once — the Longhorns downed Iowa State 94-91 at the Frank Erwin Center in an offensive show. Head coach Shaka Smart said Texas needs to be prepared to play in close games on the road like against Oklahoma. 

“I just want to make it really, really clear to these guys why we did what we did and what we can do to learn and grow,” Smart said. “We’re going to be in those situations again. Where we’re on the road, it’s close game.”

Iowa State isn’t unbeatable at home, despite the hype. The Cyclones lost to Baylor 89-94 on Jan. 9, but that is the only home game Iowa State has lost this year. Yancy said playing Iowa State on the road will be completely different than
January’s contest.

“They haven’t lost that many times at home, that’s motivation for them,” Yancy said. 

Iowa State is one of several ranked opponents the Longhorns will face in February, and Texas faces five ranked teams in its last seven games. To win, Yancy said they need to move forward. 

“[We won’t] completely forget about it, but use that as motivation,” Yancy said of the Oklahoma loss. “Don’t let it bring you down, but you use it as motivation.”