Naz Long almost became the scapegoat for Iowa State, but he remained the hero as they ended an 18-game losing streak at Gallagher-Iba Arena with a 98-97, triple-overtime victory.
Long, who didn’t make a 3-pointer since Texas three Saturdays ago, missed his first three 3-point attempts for the Cyclones (17-4, 5-4). He nailed the fourth attempt with two seconds to go in the second overtime, tying the game up at 89-all. It came after DeAndre Kane passed it up after missing a few clutch shots already in the contest.
Later in the third overtime, Long had a block on Oklahoma State’s Markel Brown as Dustin Hogue grabbed it. It resulted in a long pass to a wide-open Monte Morris in the corner from Long. Morris drilled the three to give the Cyclones a 96-95 lead with 42 seconds left.
On the next possession for the Cowboys (16-6, 4-5), Le’Bryan Nash turned it over with 22 seconds remaining and Long went to the free-throw line and drilled both calmly to give Iowa State a three-point lead.
Then, tragedy almost struck. Brown dunked it and Long turned it over while inbounding the ball, giving Oklahoma State the ball with 11 seconds left on their end of the court. Fortunately, Marcus Smart and Nash would miss jumpers that fell too short.
Finally, Iowa State broke a losing streak in Stillwater that dated back to 1988, before these players that are on the roster were even born.
Despite Kane not making clutch shots, he still had an amazing night. The senior leader at point guard finished with 26 points, nine rebounds, and nine assists; Kane was extremely close to a triple-double. Even better, he coughed up the ball just twice.
In fact, both teams did a good job in taking care of the ball. In 55 minutes of action, both teams coughed it up 25 total times (Iowa State had 13 of them) and were just slightly above their averages on the season despite 15 more minutes of play.
Both Melvin Ejim and Georges Niang had foul trouble late in the game. Ejim had to sit for awhile, but he never fouled out after picking up his fourth with just under eight minutes to go. He finished with 22 points and 12 rebounds; he ended up with a good night at the line making 10-of-14 free throws. It made up for his lackluster 5-of-15 from the field, many of those simple layups that were uncharacteristically missed.
Niang fouled out after a few touchy calls from the refs, but he still played great with 17 points, five rebounds, four assists, three steals, and two blocks – most of that happening in the first half. Dustin Hogue laid out the effort as well tonight, and finished as the second Cyclone with a double-double (10 points, 14 rebounds).
Iowa State prevailed with 3-point shooting (32.3 percent) and sharing the ball (22 team assists on 34 field goals made), the fuel that keeps this Cyclone team going.
The Cyclones will benefit from Big Monday, having a nice rest before heading back to Hilton Coliseum to host TCU on Saturday. Tip-off is at 3:00 PM Central time and it will be televised by the Big 12 Network.
- Nash, Smart, and Brown led the way for the Cowboys. The trio finished with 26, 20, and 19 points respectively. Brown had a double-double adding in 10 rebounds; Nash and Smart almost had a double-double with nine rebounds apiece.
- OSU’s Brian Williams went 6-of-8 from the field in the first half with 12 points. He went 1-of-3 in the second half. His lone basket in the second was a thunderous dunk that blew the lid off of Gallagher-Iba Arena and despite no Cyclone being around him, went to the line to complete an and-one opportunity.
- Iowa State isn’t known for their offensive rebounding, but the power four (Ejim, Hogue, Niang, Kane) picked up three or more offensive boards each.