An instant classic unfolded late Friday night at Hilton Coliseum, a delirious crowd roaring on as Iowa State battled back and then hung on late to top rival Iowa, 85-82.
Let's set the scene ...
Rarely without an offensive answer, the Hawkeyes held the Cyclones at bay until the 10:06 mark of the second half. Iowa State then unleashed a mini run:
From there, it was pretty evident the game would come down to the wire.
Down 81-77 with two minutes left, Niang was fouled by Aaron Woodbury. Niang clanked the first foul shot off the rim, then doinked the second off the back iron.
Niang got two more attempts a moment later after Woodbury fouled him — his fifth — going for a loose ball in the backcourt. This time, Niang sank them both.
The Cyclones pressed the Hawkeyes up the floor, trapping when they could get a ball-handler in the corner. They forced a turnover off an offensive rebound then got going in transition, Melvin Ejim taking a foul while going for a layup, the ball cruelly sitting on the rim before rolling off.
Ejim hit both and the Cyclones went back to their press.
Too aggressive, Iowa State was whistled for a foul, but Roy Devyn Marble missed the front end of a one-and-one.
At the other end, Niang maneuvered under the basket and laid in a reverse shot off the glass. Cyclones, 83. Hawkeyes, 82.
Fran McCaffery's bunch, who elected not to wait for the last shot and sent Mike Gesell straight to the cup, where he drew a foul. Again, free throws. Gesell missed the first attempt, too long off the back. Same story for the second.
Dustin Hogue made two free throws for a three-point lead. The Hawkeyes missed an attempt from distance, then Aaron White strong-armed a putback attempt, then Jared Uthoff missed a third-chance attempt at the buzzer, sending a herd of fans rushing onto the floor to celebrate a third "resume" win by mid-December.
The first half was played at a breakneck pace, the two teams attempting a combined 67 shots. Thanks to the play of Aaron White (13 points and seven rebounds) the Hawkeyes headed into intermission with a decided advantage, 45-38.
Had it not been for Niang, Iowa State would have been in a much deeper hole. The sophomore forward did damage from the right block against Adam Woodbury and whoever else the deep Hawkeyes threw at him.
Kane played nine minutes in the first half because of two fouls.