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Iowa State 74, Baylor 65

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — No. 16 Iowa State rallied late to defeat Baylor 74-65 in the championship game of the Big 12 tournament on Saturday night at Sprint Center.

It was the second Big 12 tournament championship for the Cyclones and their first since 2000.

Iowa State (26-7) was led by guard DeAndre Kane, who named the tournament MVP, with 17 points. Forward Georges Niang had 13, guards Naz Long and Dustin Hogue 12 each and forward Melvin Ejim 11.

Baylor (24-11), playing its fourth game in four days, was led by guards Kenny Chery with 16 points and Brady Heslip had 14 points.

The all-tournament team included three Cyclones (Kane, Niang and Ejim), one Baylor player (center Isaiah Austin) and Kansas guard Andrew Wiggins.

After a sluggish first 30 minutes, the intensity picked up. Neither team could establish much momentum early in the second half. Baylor opened as much as an eight-point lead, but Iowa State hung close. The Cyclones were hindered by Ejim’s third foul early in the half.

Iowa State kept chipping away at the lead until 3-pointer by Long tied the score for the first time at 50 with 6:30 left. Ejim followed with a 3-pointer of his own and Iowa State had its first lead at 53-50 with 5:46 left.

For the next several minutes, the teams traded buckets and momentum, including back-to-back treys by Heslip and Long. Iowa State finally got some breathing room on another 3-pointer by Ejim, which gave the Cyclones a 62-58 lead, but Heslip answered with two free throws.

Austin stepped to the line for a 1-and-1 and his team down by four with just over two minutes left, but he missed the front end. Niang was fouled on the rebound and he hit both ends of a 1-and-1 on the other end.

Iowa State pulled away late from the free throw line. After starting the game 0-of-13 from the field, the Cyclones hit 24-of-35 (68.6 percent) the rest of the game.

Iowa State was aided by a partisan crowd. Most of the announced attendance of 19,108 were wearing cardinal and gold, probably more than the 14,376 that pack Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa, for home games.

Iowa State started off ice cold, missing its first 13 shots from the floor. The Cyclones did not made their first basket until 12:25 remained in the first half when Long hit a 3-pointer.

Fortunately for the Cyclones, Baylor struggled from the field as well. When forward Dustin Hogue score in the lane and was fouled with 7:21 left, he hit the subsequent free throw to cut the lead to 18-11.

Both teams struggled from the field in the first half, shooting a combined 33 percent. Iowa State gradually crawled back into the game and cut the margin to 32-27 at the half.

NOTES: With No. 4 seed Iowa State matched up against No. 7 seed Baylor, it was the lowest combined seeds in the championship game since No. 1 seed Kansas beat No. 10 seed Missouri in the first championship game in 1997. … This was the 10th time a team from Texas played in the final (the third time for Baylor). Texas teams were 0-9 in previous championship games. … This was the fifth time a team played in the final with its fourth game in four days, the first since No. 9 seed Baylor lost to Missouri in 2009. Those teams were 0-4 coming into Saturday’s action.

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

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