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Tough End For ISU's Ejim and Kane

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NEW YORK -- DeAndre Kane plopped next to Melvin Ejim in a corner of Iowa State's Madison Square Garden dressing room Friday night and immediately shouldered the blame for the Cyclones' loss a heartbeat before letting Ejim do likewise.

"Free throws!" Kane moaned loudly, referring to his dismal 2-of-9 night at the line.

"I was 3 of 13 (from the field), relax," Ejim responded.

"That was the worst we ever shot the ball," Kane said.

And that's how it ended, in the same basic cruel and crushing way the NCAA tournament ends for all but one of the 68 participants. All who lose except for the hopelessly overmatched wonder what might have been.

With Iowa State, after its bitter 81-76 Sweet 16 loss to Connecticut, neither senior had the kind of game they produced in abundance in helping their team get to this fabled stage of basketball.

So be it. Both were basketball dynamos this season. But what made ISU a cut above most of the rest was being a hydra, a three-headed monster that gave each other room to operate and succeed because none could be left unchecked.

There will be more fun ahead for this program with Niang, with terrific freshman Monte Morris, with big-play Naz Long, and with a senior-to-be in Dustin Hogue who had a sensational 34-point game.

Still, a talent like Kane's and a heart like Ejim's and vice versa don't come along every year. It's unfortunate the two didn't leave without holes in their final statistic line.

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