Despite three starters either getting ejected or fouled out, the Iowa State Cyclones’ bench holds on in Provo, Utah, to defeat the previously undefeated BYU Cougars 90-88 on Wednesday night.
It was expected to be a high-scoring affair, and it was just that. The Cyclones shot an incredible 51.4 percent from the field, thanks to both DeAndre Kane and Melvin Ejim’s efficiency. Both players missed a combined 13 of 30 attempts.
Both Kane and Ejim led all scorers with 21 points, and both left the game early. Kane was ejected during the final media timeout after unintentionally poking BYU forward Eric Mika in the eye. It was a hard foul that forced medical attention, and the referees deemed it enough to give Kane a flagrant-2. He did pick up a double-double before leaving, finishing with 11 rebounds.
Ejim left after picking up his fifth foul with 1:42 to go. He struggled with foul trouble the whole game, picking up his second foul with 13:25 left in the first half and his third just a little over four minutes into the second half.
Dustin Hogue also fouled out in the game, finishing with eight points and 10 rebounds. But his backup, Daniel Edozie, came in to save the day.
Edozie blocked BYU guard Tyler Haws, who had a team-high 20 points, on their second-to-last possession of the game with under four seconds to go. He made his second free throw to give ISU the eventual final score, and then Kyle Collinsworth chucked up a prayer that wasn’t answered to tie the game.
Iowa State struggled at rebounding the ball and defending BYU’s jump shot during the first half, but they eventually out-rebounded the Cougars 46-44 and clamped down defensively as the second half went on.
The Cyclones lost the lead for a long period of time beginning at the 10:50 mark in the first half when Mark Carlino (who finished with 19 points) made a jump shot to make it 19-18 BYU. They woudn’t see the lead again until nearly 25 minutes later, when Matt Thomas nailed a 3-point shot to make it 78-77 with 5:54 to go in the game.
ISU’s struggles inside were thanks to Mika and Nate Austin, who were dominant inside. They combined with 22 of the teams’ 44 total rebounds. Mika was one rebound away from a double-double after scoring 17 points. His presence was just as missed on BYU as Kane and Ejim were for ISU.
They were able to overcome it, and now they sit at 4-0 after two of their toughest tests in the non-conference season. Next up is Missouri-Kansas City on Monday night.