Iowa State basketball: Cyclones hold on to defeat Texas


They almost blew it, but Iowa State basketball held on against Texas. Before the near choke, the Cyclones pounded on one of the nation’s most physical teams for nearly 40 minutes.

It looked like it was going to be an easy win after Monte Morris dunked the ball and Hilton Coliseum exploded. Iowa State was up by 18 with 15 minutes to go and put it on cruise control. The biggest lead came at the 11:41 mark when Jameel McKay made a layup to put the Cyclones up 60-39.

Then, Texas started to make everything. They didn’t really chip away at the lead — more just hung around. Iowa State still had a 77-63 lead after Bryce Dejean-Jones made a free throw at the 3:06 mark.

The Longhorns went on a 10-2 run in less than a minute to make it a two-possession game. It looked like Iowa State found their rhythm at the free throw line with Morris and BDJ making both free throws. However, in the next five trips to the free throw line, the Cyclones went 5-for-10, always missing one each trip.

That continued to give Texas life, but they just couldn’t get over the hump. It erased what could have looked like a dominant win over the Longhorns by the typical score checker.

Jan 26, 2015; Ames, IA, USA; Iowa State Cyclones forward Georges Niang (31) dribbles the ball as Texas Longhorns forward Jonathan Holmes (10) defends at James H. Hilton Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

At least Iowa State held on. It’d be a different story had they actually pulled a Green Bay Packers-esque choke, and the close finish shouldn’t negate the 37 minutes that the Cyclones thrived in. They outmatched a team that was longer and more physical than they were — and did so by scoring in the paint.

Iowa State had 38 points in the paint despite being outrebounded 39-29. That’s pretty impressive against Texas. Now they just have to figure out how to make free throws, and they went 25-for-38 from the charity stripe.

At least the Cyclones came out with a sense of urgency, something that was gone from Saturday’s dismal defeat. They need to learn how to have the same energy on the road, and they also have to learn how to close out games and make free throws — no lead is safe if a finish like this repeats itself.

Next up is a home game against TCU that the Cyclones can, at no cost, look past. A huge road trip to Kansas in another Big Monday game is on the horizon.

Other observations

  • The only starter that didn’t hit double figures was Naz Long, who finished with eight. That was a surprise considering he drained two 3-pointers early. Long did have a team-high seven rebounds
  • Georges Niang had an impressive night going 7-for-13 from the field and having a team-high 19 points.
  • Iowa State had 35 free throw attempts in the second half after going 0-for-3 in the first. Texas clearly tried to extend the game in the comeback attempt and nearly worked because of the Cyclones’ inconsistencies from the line.
  • Texas went 0-for-7 from downtown in the first half but made 10-of-15 in the second. That’s absolutely astonishing — the Longhorns couldn’t miss.
  • Iowa State had 13 assists on 16 field goals made in the first half and finished with 20-on-29. They had just six turnovers while Texas doubled up that total with 12.
  • Monte Morris missed both 3-point attempts but he finished with 13 points and had 6 assists with zero turnovers. Another day in the office.

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