KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Iowa State survived a physical test to defeat Kansas State 91-85 Thursday in a Big 12 tournament quarterfinal at Sprint Center with 43 fouls called on the two teams.
Iowa State (24-7) will face the winner of Oklahoma State-Kansas in the first semifinal Friday. Kansas State (20-12) awaits NCAA Tournament selection.
Melvin Ejim led the Cyclones with 24 points, along with 22 by Dustin Hogue, 18 by Georges Niang and 14 by Naz Long. K-State was led by Marcus Foster with 21. Shane Southwell had 19, Nigel Johnson had 17 and Thomas Gipson had 12.
The fouls started to hurt at the 11:04 mark in the second half. Foster picked up his fourth foul with the Wildcats leading 60-59. Foster picked up his third foul with 15:40 left and sat for 4:12. But 24 seconds later, he was back on the bench.
But a little more than a minute later, DeAndre Kane picked up his fourth foul for Iowa State. Another minute later, Niang picked up his fourth.
Kane picked up his fifth foul, on offense, with 3:55 left and the Cyclones up 76-74.
After K-State tied the game 76-all, Iowa State pulled out to a five-point lead, twice. But the Wildcats kept coming back, cutting it to 87-85 on a 3-pointer by Foster.
Long made two free throws to open up a four-point lead. When Foster’s 3-point attempt caromed off, Iowa State raced the other way for a clinching layup by Long.
The first half was played at a pace that fit Iowa State, as the halftime score was 44-41 Iowa State. The Cyclones led the Big 12 in scoring, while the Wildcats lead in scoring defense.
The teams traded body blows early with a series of mini-runs. Neither team led by more than six points until the final two minutes of the first half — and that came at 44-36 from a 6-0 Cyclone run that was answered by a 5-0 KSU run. Both teams had multiple leads of at least five points.
Foster had 16 points to lead all scorers in the first half. No other K-State starter had more than 3 points. Iowa State was led by Ejim with 12 and Niang with 10. All five starters had at least five points.
Kansas State survived an early scare when Gipson left the game less than 30 seconds in. But after getting checked by the training staff, he returned to the action about three minutes later.
NOTES: Iowa State entered the game leading the Big 12 in scoring at 82.4 points per game, while Kansas State led in scoring defense, allowing 64.9 points per contest…Iowa State was one of four teams nationally to have three players average at least 16 points per game. The Cyclones are led by Ejim with 18.2 ppg, followed by Kane with 17.1 and Niang with 16.2…The Wildcats are led by Foster with 15.4 ppg. The only other Wildcat to average in double figures is Gipson with 11.8.
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