Cyclones down Hawkeyes with big first half

The ISU men's basketball team wasted little time in stopping its three-game losing streak Friday, jumping out to a 41-27 first half lead in its 81-71 win over Iowa.

Craig Brackins scored 20 of his 28 points in that half as he led the Cyclones (7-3) to a dominating win over their Cy-Hawk series rival. Iowa State now leads the series 12-7.

"I just wanted to help out my team and do what I could to get them going," Brackins said.

Brackins' presence was especially felt in the first five minutes of the game. In that time span, the Cyclones jumped out to a 12-4 lead and during that run Brackins, who also had eight rebounds, had two three-pointers and a thunderous dunk.

"Without question, our energy was better tonight," coach Greg McDermott said. "It wasn't consistent but it was a step in the right direction."

Iowa was able to tie the game up at 16 but a Marquis Gilstrap three-point play gave Iowa State the lead for good. The Cyclones finished the half on a 19-5 run, which featured a heavy dose of Brackins and Gilstrap, who had his fourth double-double of the season with 13 poionts and 10 rebounds.

"The last couple of practices we have been going at each other," Brackins said. "They were the most intense practices we had and I think it showed tonight."

McDermott said his team's defense was what allowed them to take a big lead into halftime.

"We were able to take Iowa out of what they wanted to do and make them drive the ball," McDermott said.

Brackins hit a three early in the second half to give Iowa State its biggest lead of the game at 47-30. Iowa pulled within 12 but that was the closest it would get until the final minutes of the game after the Cyclones scored three straight baskets in response.

"We knew that some of those losses (in the past two weeks) were our mistakes and things we could correct," Brackins said. "We just went back to work and corrected them."

LaRon Dendy had eight points for the Cyclones and Diante Garrett also had eight points and five assists. The Hawkeyes had four players in double figures, led by Matt Gatens with 20 points and Jarryd Cole with 16 points. Cully Payne had 15 points and Brennan Cougill had 12 points and 10 rebounds as well for Iowa.

"It's been a tough couple of weeks, but these guys have stuck with it," McDermott said. "We've put out a bunch of fires and we just have to keep getting better."

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