That was the definition of a team win. Royce White scored just 3 points on the road against an underrated Oklahoma team. However, the Cyclones found a way to still win the game. Melvin Ejim has been playing some good basketball in the past few games but elevated his game tonight against the Sooners. By the end of the night, Iowa State may be only one game back of the lead in the Big 12.
The game started off like a video game. A lot of offense, not so much defense. Iowa State was lighting it up from behind the arc early, but couldn’t pull away. Iowa State’s defense was allowing Oklahoma to get second and third chances and provided lanes for the Sooners to throw it down. At the end of the half, despite great shooting, the Cyclones were only up 38-36.
The start of the second half was dominated by the Cyclones. They were starting to pull away from the Sooners and had a double-digit lead. With around ten minutes to go, Oklahoma went on a run led by Steven Pledger, that would tie the game around with around seven minutes left. After that the Cyclones went on a 10-3 run but the Sooners were able to get it back to 3. The Cyclones would ultimately hold on after a 3-pointer by Chris Allen, Royce White’s only field goal (a dunk), and costly turnover late by Oklahoma.
The player of the game was Melvin Ejim. Ejim led the team with 21 points and 8 points. With all the hype around Royce White, sometimes Ejim gets overlooked but he is always doing the small things that help the Cyclones win. Scott Christopherson with three 3s had 15, Chris Allen also had three from 3-point land and ended with 11 points, Chris Babb’s 12 points all came from behind the arc, and Tyrus McGee (with his family in attendance) added 10.
I’ve already mentioned that Royce White only had 3 points for the night. It isn’t like Royce White had a bad game; he was doubled-teamed almost every time he caught the ball. White was able to setup the shooters as he led the team with 8 points. When your star player only has 3 points in a road conference game and yet you still win, you have to feel pretty happy (and I’m sure a lot of Cyclone fans are).
The Cyclones picked up their first win in the state of Oklahoma since 1996. The Clones are now 17-6 and 7-3 in conference play. Iowa State plays another big road game on Tuesday at Oklahoma State. By the time they get to Stillwater, they may just be ranked.