Stinson, Cyclones Hook Horns

Texas sent one man after another trying to take Iowa State's freshman guard Curtis Stinson out of the game, including the older, more experienced Royal Ivey, an old rival from his New York City playground days. But the poised Stinson didn't flinch and delivered one knockout blow after another down the stretch for the Cyclones in a 78-77 upset victory over the 13th-ranked Longhorns.

The ISU freshman first hit a runner with 3:18 remaining to pull ISU even after it trailed by 13 points midway through the second half. He would later find Jake Sullivan for a 3-pointer, and with 1:09 remaining threaded a pass to Damion Staple in the lane, who in turn slammed it down to provide the difference in a one-point game.

"I wanted it bad," said Stinson, who's final line read 18 points and 10 assists in 39 minutes of action. "They came at me from the beginning of the game. Ivey came first, then (James) Mouton came and P.J. (Tucker) came. They were talking and talking. When it came down the stretch, (Ivey) was nervous because I was looking at him dead in his face, ‘It was time for us to get there.' It was on me then."

And the 12,696 in attendance would definitely agree that Stinson delivered.

For the Cyclones, Saturday's one-point upset couldn't have come at a better time. ISU was reeling from a three-game losing streak and its struggles away from Hilton Coliseum had taken on a life of its own. A team meeting on Thursday, however, apparently refocused Wayne Morgan's team.

Early adversity had paralized ISU in its last three outings, but Saturday it managed to score 12 of the game's first 18 points and would lead 26-16 with 9:33 remaining in the half.

"We beat Kansas two weeks ago and at the end of that game our team changed completely," said Morgan, who improved to 14-7 as the Cyclones' head coach. "We only have eight players on scholarship, so we didn't make excuses. We had to go back to the drawing board, lick our wounds and try to reinvent ourselves. Tonight is what we came up with. We'll keep trying to get better."

Despite a near-flawless performance against the 13th-ranked Longhorns, ISU still showed some kinks in its armor. Texas opened the second half by scoring on nine of its first 11 possessions, and went on an 18-2 run overall from the 45-second mark of the first half. The Longhorns held off the Cyclones and would actually lead 66-53 with 11:13 remaining.

But a pair of free throws by Stinson and a three from Sullivan would get ISU back on track. Then, an odd series of events with 6:42 remaining took more wind out of Texas' sails. Sullivan hit another three, and Jason Klotz fouled Jackson Vroman under the basket to send the Cyclone senior to the line.

"I thought (that play) took the momentum away and got the crowd back into it," said Sullivan. "It was an incredible pass by Stinson. That pulled it within four and from there we kept the momentum going."

ISU's crowd took care of the rest, especially when Brian Boddicker stepped to the line with five seconds remaining. The 81 percent free throw shooter missed each of his two shots, which led to a last-second scramble for the ball and a pair of wild shots from Texas that came up short.

"My heart's everywhere right now," Morgan said. "I think it poked out and spread all over my body. I was glad (for the late scramble). Most of the time when you see that, exactly what happened happens – the time goes off while everybody's bobbling for it. I was glad to see everybody scrambling for it like that."

Sullivan was happy that something finally went right for his team.

"It's kind of nice to say we got a break. "We were due for a break. (Boddicker's) a great shooter. A lot of times it seems like the breaks have gone against and we got one tonight. It's a great win and we're real blessed to have it. It's a momentum builder, a confidence builder more than anything. Next week is going to be a real challenge, but that's what we're here for."

ISU will see how its new-found momentum will hold up for road contests against Missouri on Wednesday night and Kansas Saturday afternoon.

"Hopefully it gives us enough confidence that we can play a little bit better and understand it," Morgan said. "If we can play better, we'll have an opportunity. The preparation doesn't change. We have a way of doing things. You have to play and play well. It's hard in this league to play on the road.

"We have beaten some good teams here at Hilton, they have lost on the road to us. The home team has a decided advantage. We have to work and get to the point where we have the maturity and experience to do it."

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