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Hogue helps Iowa State avoid upset

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AMES, Iowa — The 17th-ranked Iowa State Cyclones overcame a slow start thanks to a strong finish from forward Dustin Hogue to beat Oklahoma State 63-61 in Hilton Coliseum on Tuesday.

Hogue put together one of his best performances as a Cyclone in Iowa State’s Big 12 opener.

He scored all of his 17 points in the second half while also grabbing eight rebounds. With the Cyclones (11-2, 1-0 Big 12) and Cowboys (11-3, 1-1) trading baskets in the final minutes of a one-possession game Hogue took over. He hit a 3-pointer, a jumper and a layup on consecutive possessions to keep Iowa State in front.

“My teammates were telling me just play your game, play the game, man,” Hogue said. “I wasn’t trying to score too much, but (guard) Bryce (Dejean-Jones) was telling me to shoot the ball. (Forward) Jameel (McKay) was telling me to shoot the ball. When you got teammates giving you that kind of confidence to take over a game, or shoot the ball, good things happen for you.”

He needed to do more than make a few baskets to help Iowa State win. Hogue also blocked a 3-point shot by Oklahoma State forward Tavarius Shine with 0.9 seconds left.

“To have that go away if they hit a three, it doesn’t mean anything if they hit a three, so you have to close out a game,” Hogue said. “It all means nothing if they hit a tough shot.”

Oklahoma State had one more chance to hit that tough shot, but Iowa State forward Georges Niang deflected a shot by Oklahoma State guard Phil Forte at the buzzer.

But it was Hogue’s block that Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford thought altered the game.

“The biggest winning play is the blocked shot,” Ford said.

Both teams struggled from the floor for large portions of the night. For the Cyclones, it was a continuation of a poor shooting night against South Carolina on Saturday. They were 30 of 85 from the floor for three halves, including the first half on Tuesday, before breaking out in the second half, thanks in large part to Hogue.

Guard Matt Thomas and Niang had 10 points apiece for the Cyclones. Forte led the Cowboys with 21 points.

After Oklahoma State failed to pick up a marquee win during the nonconference schedule, Ford thought his team could learn something from the game.

“Our team, obviously, didn’t have the accolades that an Iowa State team had before the season,” Ford said. “[This] let us know we can play a little bit … we can play, we can compete, but you still got to make some plays down the stretch, whether it’s a big stop or a block or whatever it may be.

“I hope our team takes away that we played a very good team, a great team, one of the best offensive teams in the country, in one of the toughest places to play in the country and battled them to the end. That is not good enough. Yes, we battled them and did a lot of good things, but give them confidence so they understand, hey, we got to make more plays.”

A hot finish to a cold-shooting first half gave Iowa State a 26-21 lead at the break.

Thomas came off the bench to hit two 3-point shots in the final 2 1/2 minutes to provide Iowa State a much needed offensive spark. The Cyclones scored eight of the final 10 points of the half.

Both teams struggled from the floor early. They combined to miss 27 of their first 35 shots.

A monster dunk by McKay gave Iowa State an 11-8 lead, but the Cyclones would only score two more points in the next three minutes.

Forte was the lone bright spot for the Cowboys in the first 20 minutes. He scored nine points and ended a nearly five-minute scoreless drought with a 3-point shot midway through the half.

The Cowboys physically got after the Cyclones on defense, limited their fast-break chances and kept them from initiating their offense where they wanted to.

It worked until late in the half when Thomas starting connecting from deep and then until Hogue took over late.

Up to the minute news and reports from the news wire of The Sports Xchange.

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