Cyclones Hang on Tight to Beat Texas Tech

Iowa State surrendered an 18-point lead to Texas Tech but topped the Red Raiders, 70-74. Head inside for a game story, quotes and notes

Still smarting from a 25-point loss at West Virginia, Fred Hoiberg told his troops before they took the court Saturday against Texas Tech that he wanted to get rid of the "terrible" taste in his mouth.

A couple hours later, a relieved Hoiberg cracked open a Diet Coke. The No. 11 Cyclones had won their seventh conference game, a 70-64 defeat of Texas Tech that didn't come so easily.

"We had to find a way to survive," Hoiberg said.

Just like they did in Lubbock on Jan. 4, the Red Raiders eliminated a big ISU second-half lead — climbing out of an 18-point hole and taking a 62-61 lead with three minutes remaining on a Jaye Crockett layup. Melvin Ejim responded with two of his 13 points on the next possession, then freshman guard Matt Thomas converted his first basket of afternoon, an and-one layup (Thomas missed the free throw).

Crockett scored again with 35 seconds left (68-64) but the Cyclones, despite missing three of the next four three throws, held on, thanks to a couple TTU misfires from deep. A Georges Niang dunk in transition allowed the 14,384 at Hilton Coliseum a sigh of relief.

"They fought back, give 'em credit," DeAndre Kane said of TTU. "We were fortunate to get out of there with a win.

"These games are tough. It's the Big 12. Every team's got players, they have a good coach."

Kane again came close to a triple-double, posting a 17-8-9 line. He and Niang paced the Cyclones with 17 points, while TTU's senior Crockett had a game-high 23.

Iowa State (19-5, 7-5 Big 12) moves into a tie with West Virginia for fifth-place in the Big 12, though the Mountaineers play at Texas later Saturday.

Sophomore guard Naz Long broke out of a recent slump — 3-for-17 from distance in ISU's prior four games — to drill 4 of 7 three-pointers.

The Cyclones were pleased with their defensive performance, especially after WVU hit better than 50 percent from the perimeter Monday, but admitted the Red Raiders' 16 second-chance points off 14 offense rebounds were too much.

"We did defend better, especially initially," Hoiberg said. "It's definitely a step in the right direction. If we can limit them to one shot, that's taking the next step."

Texas Tech (13-12) rolled into Ames winners of three straight, including at Oklahoma days ago.

"I guess it is [validation] to some degree but I thought we should have won the game," Smith said.

Notes

  • DeAndre Kane said he's fine after he missed some of the stretch run with what looked like cramping.

  • ISU committed seven turnovers, its fewest since committing five in the Big 12 opener against Texas Tech.

  • Melvin Ejim in foul trouble, Daniel Edozie played two minutes and grabbed one rebound.

  • The Cyclones scored 20 points off turnovers, their most since Jan. 13.

  • After failing to score in double figures for the first time all year Monday, Ejim scored 13 points on 5-for-8 shooting and missed two three-pointers.

  • Long reached double figures for the first time in conference play.

  • Freshman guard Monté Morris notched five assists to one turnover and recorded three steals.

    Quotes

    Hoiberg

  • "For us to find a way to get it, even after they took the lead, is huge for us, because I saw some faces in the huddle when they were making the run that suggested some bad body language.

  • "Happy to walk out of here with a win but still have work to do to get to that next level. We'll address that the next days to get ready for Texas."

  • "I saw a good team in Lubbock in January. Now that they've won several conference games, a team that's coming off three straight wins, that always breeds confidence when you have that."

    li>"The big thing I saw with [Long] while he was struggling was the tempo was way too quick. Once he started slowing down and saw the ball go in the basket."

    DeAndre Kane

    "We took a couple plays off when we got up 18."

    Naz Long

    "It felt good. It always feels good to shoot it well."

    Tubby Smith

    "They're pretty efficient. They don't beat themselves, space the floor well and have a lot of ways to beat you. I look at their lineup — DeAndre, Niang, Melvin — they're all very talented players. They play unselfishly. That's the key."


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