AMES, Iowa — It was the offense that put No. 16 Iowa State in position to beat No. 22 Kansas State. It was the defense that sealed the deal.
Iowa State forward Georges Niang came up with a steal and forward Melvin Ejim blocked a shot in the final two minutes to cap the Cyclones’ 81-75 win on Saturday.
With ISU up 76-73, Kansas State guard Marcus Foster drove to the bucket. ISU guard DeAndre Kane slapped it away and Niang fell on the loose ball as the Cyclones called timeout.
Seconds later, Ejim blocked a 3-point shot from Kansas State forward Jack Karapetyan that could have tied the game.
The win snapped a three-game losing streak for the Cyclones. The ISU offense came out of a midseason funk against the Wildcats (14-6, 4-3 Big 12). The Cyclones (15-3, 3-3) shot 25.3 percent from three in their last three games. ISU shot 48.1 percent from the floor and 50.0 from the 3-point line.
Ejim led the Cyclones with 20 points. He also grabbed nine rebounds. Niang had 18 points while guard Matt Thomas scored 14 points.
The Wildcats opened up the second half with an 11-1 run. They also held the Cyclones with only one field goal for the first six-plus minutes of the half. It allowed Kansas-State to tie the game at 50.
The Cyclones responded with a 15-3 run. Kansas State got back into the game thanks to two threes from guard Will Spradling. A thunderous breakaway dunk by Kansas State forward D.J. Johnson tied it at 66 with 5:01 minutes left.
Foster scored 20 points and was a key catalyst in the Wildcats getting back in the contest. Guard Shane Southwell had 14 points and seven rebounds for Kansas State.
Iowa State used 15 points from Niang to take a 46-34 halftime lead.
Niang was 5-of-8 shooting, including 3 of 4 from 3-point range in the first half. ISU’s Thomas scored 12 points in the first half. He was 4 of 4 from beyond the arc.
It looked like ISU’s cold shooting would continue early on. The Cyclones, who entered this top 25 matchup on a three-game losing streak, missed 8 of their first 10 shots before Niang and Thomas caught fire.
NOTES: After setting a program record with 14 straight wins to open the season, Iowa State has lost three straight games while shooting 25.3 percent from 3-point range during that span. … Iowa State G DeAndre Kane was named to the Wooden Award midseason watch list. The award is annually given to the top player in college basketball. Kane entered Saturday averaging 16.7 points, 7.2 rebounds and 5.8 assists. … Saturday was the first game back for Iowa State G Bubu Palo after a district judge ruled he could return to the team on a temporary basis while his eligibility case goes through the courts on Jan. 16. Palo was charged with sexual assault in September 2012 and was suspended from the team. Charges were dropped in January 2013 and he was reinstated to the team. … Kansas State lost 67-64 to Texas as Jonathan Holmes hit the winning 3-point shot at the buzzer. It was the first buzzer-beating loss for the Wildcats since 2008. … The Wildcats jumped into the Associated Press rankings, at No. 22, this week. It’s the second time in three weeks Kansas State was ranked.
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