“You have to give Iowa State credit,” Alabama Coach Anthony Grant said. “They are an awfully talented team. They have a great player in Georges Niang, he was virtually unstoppable tonight. I thought they had some other players stepped up and made some big-time plays for them down the stretch.”
Cooper’s 27 points came on 10-of-17 shooting from the field and 18 of his points came in the second half. It is Cooper’s fourth 20-point game of his career and his first of the season.
Senior guard Levi Randolph was the only other player in double digits with 18 points. Randolph was 5-of-5 from the free throw line and is now a perfect 25-of-25 from the free throw line for the year.
Freshman forward Riley Norris had a solid game off of the bench with team-highs of six rebounds and three steals, while also adding five points. Sophomore Shannon Hale added nine points and four assists in the losing effort.
After a back and forth beginning to a game and Iowa State clinging to a 28-26 lead, the Cyclones went on a 13-2 run to take their biggest lead of 13 points (41-28) with 3:26 left in the half. However, the Tide would respond with a 16-4 run that spanned halftime to fight its way back in the contest.
Alabama took the lead multiple times in the second half and cut the Cyclones lead to 76-73 off of a Rodney Cooper three-point shot with 2:21 remaining, but were not able to get any closer. The Crimson Tide shot only 38.6 percent for the night and dished out 16 assists on 27 made baskets.
Iowa State shot 58 percent (29-of-50) for the game and was led by forward Georges Niang who scored a game-high 28 points.
The Tide continues play in the CBE Hall of Fame Classic on Tuesday, facing off with Arizona State. Tip is set for 6 p.m. CT in Kansas City, Mo., with the game airing on the WatchESPN app and WatchESPN.com.