AMES, IOWA — Fred Hoiberg wasn’t much interested in figuring out how Iowa State managed to hang on Monday night. In the two days since his team’s arrival back in Ames from a disappointing loss, he had labored over breaking down film and attempting to work out the kinks in a limited practice window.
So even after No. 15 Iowa State watched its 21-point second-half lead evaporate against No. 19 Texas, only for the Cyclones to hang on for an 89-86 bounce back victory, well, he wasn’t about to worry about how it came.
“Look,” Hoiberg said with a smile, “I’ve been miserable for 48 damn hours. I’m going to enjoy this one, OK?”
After a slow start did the Cyclones in against lowly Texas Tech on Saturday, Iowa State used the comfort of the home crowd — along with inside scoring — to jump in front of Texas in primetime Monday. The Cyclones scored early and often while attacking the Longhorns’ zone with an inside presence.
By the first media timeout, Iowa State held an eight-point lead on 5-of-6 shooting from the field, including eight points in the paint against Texas’ length.
“When they get that ball moving like they did tonight, it’s a fun thing to watch,” Hoiberg said. “It’s a beautiful thing to watch.”
Iowa State used that movement to build an 11-point halftime lead on Texas before using the first 12 minutes of the second half to continue building. The Cyclones led by 21 when Texas’ Isaiah Taylor made an and-one layup at the under-8 media timeout with 7:53 to play.
From there, Texas did nothing but score.
The Longhorns hit 3-pointers — Javan Felix hit a 30-footer from the top — when the Cyclones stopped penetration. They drove to the basket when Iowa State played tight. In all, Texas scored 38 points in the final 7:53, as part of a 61-point second half, to draw close late.
“Down the stretch, that was crazy,” Hoiberg said. “That was an absolute crazy game.”
Texas had drawn within four when Jonathan Holmes missed a jumper with 10 seconds remaining. After Jameel McKay split his free throws, the Longhorns got a last-second basket.
The Cyclones, who scored 38 points in the paint against the Longhorns' zone, were helped by Bryce Dejean-Jones’ strongest conference showing. The senior scored 18 points on 7-of-11 shooting, grabbed four rebounds and dished out three assists. Georges Niang scored a team-high 19 as five Cyclones scored in double-figures.
“Anytime you can win a game, I think that’s a good thing for us,” Niang said. “I think just seeing a ‘W’ on the board is something that helps us put Texas Tech behind our back. That being said, we have yet to put a 40-minute game together. But I’m definitely proud of the guys and how we battled.”
After a long two days, that was a sentiment shared by all.
“What I look at in this game was a positive in how we bounced back from that game Saturday,” Hoiberg said when all was said and done, “because I thought we gave great energy really for 40 minutes.”