AMES, Iowa — A trio of Iowa State players scored 20 points to fuel the 17th-ranked Cyclones to an 85-76 win over the No. 19 Texas Longhorns on Tuesday at James H. Hilton Coliseum.
Iowa State ran away with the game in the final minutes by turning to forward Melvin Ejim, guard DeAndre Kane and forward Georges Niang. Ejim scored 25 points and grabbed eight rebounds. Kane dropped 21 points and added five assists while Niang added 20 points.
For Ejim, it was the first time he looked comfortably offensively since exploding for a Big 12-record 48 points against TCU on Feb. 8. He scored 19 points on 6 of 17 shooting in his last two games.
“I felt the last two games I hadn’t been aggressive,” Ejim said. “I wasn’t playing as well as I know I could. Today I wanted to be aggressive. Today, guys were finding me with some great passes and some great lobs and I started to hit some shots.”
This was ISU’s seventh win over a ranked opponent and fifth victory in sixth games.
Texas erased a 10-point Iowa State second-half lead behind a 10-3 run, which included two 3-pointers from Texas guard Javan Felix. Felix started the game 2 of 12, but helped the Longhorns tie it up at 48 with 14 minutes left. Felix is the second leading Texas scorer, averaging 12.7 points, but was 6 of 22 from the field. He scored 16 points.
A game that started out with both teams trading missed shots and empty offensive possessions turned into a shootout midway through the second half. The teams traded five threes in the span of about two minutes, but the Longhorns struggled to match the Cyclones point for point. ISU built up a 12-point advantage by getting the ball into the paint and getting to the free-throw line. The Cyclones also held the Longhorns to one field goal in a seven-and-a-half minute stretch while stretching the lead to double digits.
“Coach preaches poise and resolve and when they were hitting bit shots we tried to make a play again,” Niang said. “I think that was huge. We ended up getting some stops to help us get the lead up and I think our team had great resolve tonight and that helped us win this game.”
Texas stayed in the game despite a poor shooting night with its foul shooting and offensive rebounding. Texas was 23 of 25 from the charity stripe and grabbed 20 offensive rebounds while shooting 32.9 percent. The Longhorns scored 20 second chance points.
“When we tied it at 48 in the second half we weren’t smart enough,” Texas coach Rick Barnes said. “We still acted like we were still in a catchup mode as opposed to we were back in the game. We (had) some poor shot selection, turnovers.”
As well as missed shots around the basket. The Longhorns lack of success near the rim bothered Barnes.
“You know how many layups we missed?” Barnes said. “… I can sit here and name five of them we missed and we weren’t even guarded and we missed layups.
“We had shots from two feet shooting air balls”.
Texas beat ISU 86-76 in January by taking advantage of its size inside. Longhorn forwards Cameron Ridley and Jonathan Holmes combined for 39 points and 18 rebounds in the contest. They only combined for 18 points and 14 rebounds Tuesday.
Ridley failed to make a field goal, going 0-for-4 from the field.
“Georges just absolutely battled the heck out of (Ridley) and (Iowa State forward) Daniel (Edozie) gave us a couple of good minutes in there where he battled and then our double teams were much better than last time,” Hoiberg said. “Last time he split us and got to the rim before the double team got there. Our angles were better as far as getting down there.”
Both teams struggled from the floor early. They combined to miss 23 of their first 32 shoots. Once the Cyclones found room for some transition they started scoring. They used a 5-0 run midway through the half to take a 24-18 lead.
Iowa State used its defense to build a 36-27 halftime lead. The Cyclones held the Longhorns to only one field goal in the final six
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