Iowa State has been able to close out games more often than not this season, something that’s been able to save fans from constant heartache compared to last year. The Big 12 quarterfinal win can now be added to that list after Naz Long and the entire Cyclone frontcourt stepped up in a 91-85 victory over Kansas State.
Mar 13, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; Iowa State Cyclones players celebrate on the bench during the first half against the Kansas State Wildcats in the second round of the Big 12 Conference college basketball tournament at Sprint Center. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
Long had 14 points off the bench, coming through in the clutch for the Cyclones (24-7, 11-7) with a couple of big shots and two crucial free throws.
Niang was able to finish the game, but Kane fouled out right at the under-4 timeout. Four of the fouls he had were on the offensive end of the court. A tough day, finishing with 11 points, two assists, and five turnovers.
Mar 13, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; Iowa State Cyclones guard Naz Long (15) celebrates after scoring against the Kansas State Wildcats during the second half in the second round of the Big 12 Conference college basketball tournament at Sprint Center. The Cyclones won 91 – 85. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
Both Hogue and Ejim recorded double-doubles. Hogue had 18 points and 10 rebounds. He was an efficient 6-of-8 from the field and got to the free throw line making 6-of-7 from the charity stripe.
Ejim finished with 24 points and 10 rebounds. He was just 3-of-11 from the field in the first half, but went 5-of-8 in the second half.
Iowa State ended up shooting 50 percent from the field after scoring in eight of their last nine possessions, closing out the game on offense and creating problems for Kansas State in the final four minutes.
Marcus Foster had a 3-pointer from the bank to keep the Wildcats (20-12, 10-8) in it down the stretch, but the Cyclone defense stepped up in a big way. Foster was huge with 21 points, making 3-of-4 from 3-point range and went 8-of-12 from the field, but he had just five points in the second half.
Again, how similar are these teams? Both teams shot between 50 and 55 percent from the field, made eight 3-pointers, committed 12-13 turnovers, and each team shot 17-of-23 from the free throw. Similar to how the series went, Iowa State controlled the boards, outrebounding Kansas State 38-29, and actually had the edge on assists, 21-16, for the first time.
- Niang stuffed the box score with 18 points, four assists, and seven rebounds. He was very efficient making 8-of-13 from the field.
- Monte Morris had 10 assists to just one turnover. At this point, no one should be surprised with how incredible that ratio will be when the season ends.
- Nigel Johnson and Shane Southwell had 36 points for Kansas State off the bench.
Iowa State moves on to the semifinals of the Big 12 tournament. They will take on the winner of the Oklahoma State-Kansas game. Tip-off will be at 6:00 PM Central time and Big 12 Network will be broadcasting the game. It will also be simulcasted on ESPNU.