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Christopherson enjoys some national recognition during his final season with Iowa State

Todd Sommerfeldt, La Crosse Tribune, Wis. –

Once the excitement of Wednesday night had passed, Scott Christopherson’s thoughts drifted to a place they don’t take him much anymore.

High school, he has said on more than one occasion, was so long ago.

But all it took after his 3-pointer as time expired gave the Iowa State men’s basketball team a 71-68 victory over Oklahoma State was a chat with one of his friends.

“He said, ‘Well, if you would have pulled up for a 3 in high school, you’d have won a state championship,'” Christopherson, an Aquinas graduate and Cyclones senior, said from a bus in Lubbock, Texas on Friday night.

That friend was former Melrose-Mindoro teammate Jeremy Kirschner, and his reference was to the Blugolds’ final play in a 60-56 WIAA Division 3 championship loss to Racine St. Catherine’s at the Kohl Center in 2007.

With his team trailing by two, Christopherson drove the length of the floor and shot from the right side of the lane. The ball bounced off the backboard and rim with 5 seconds left.

“That haunted me for a long time,” Christopherson said of the missed shot. “One of my biggest regrets is not pulling up for a 3 on that shot.”

Aquinas coach Rick Schneider, who that day said the drive to the basket was just what the team wanted, even wonders if it was the best option now.

“Well, he’s on pace to becoming Iowa State’s career leader in 3-point percentage,” Schneider said with a chuckle. “Yeah, we probably should have just had him do that.”

The play doesn’t have to haunt Christopherson any longer because he’s converted – on a much bigger stage – the shot that every young basketball player dreams of making.

He admitted to great memories of shooting baskets with his dad, Dale, as a kid in the backyard and counting down the seconds before launching the ball toward the hoop.

“Everyone does it,” he said. “Five, four, three, two, one … .

“Fortunately, I was in position to try and make one of those shots (Wednesday). Most players don’t even get that chance.”

And he celebrated like he’d been waiting years to make this kind of play, too.

Christopherson celebrated his winning shot by jumping up on a table and thumping his chest with his right hand amid a delirious crowd of about 12,400 at the Hilton Coliseum

But the winning shot against the Cowboys was Christopherson’s second dream play in a week.

In a game against ninth-ranked Missouri the previous Wednesday (Jan. 11), Christopherson banked in a shot from beyond half court to give the Cyclones a 38-36 halftime lead.

The Tigers eventually won 76-69, but Christopherson’s shot put him all over national sports broadcasts.

“I’m pretty sure that’s the first time I’ve hit a shot from half court,” Christopherson said. “That’s exciting.”

And Christopherson said that he enjoying his final season at ISU for a lot more than two shots that gave him national recognition.

He is averaging 11.2 points per game and shooting 40.7 percent from the 3-point line as the Cyclones have posted 14-5 overall and 4-2 Big 12 Conference records.

Before Saturday’s 76-52 win over Texas Tech, Christopherson said how pleased he was with the start to the conference season especially.

“We’ve had some ups and downs, but I think a lot of that is because we have so many new guys,” Christopherson said. “We’re starting to mesh together as a team, and this is the first time since I’ve been here that we have a winning conference record after five games.

“We’re finding our rhythm and flowing right now.”

Christopherson and his big shots are proof of that.

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