Blocked In Ames: Cowboys Come Up Short

Iowa State is next to last in the Big 12 in blocking shots but the Cyclones got a pair of blocks in the game’s final seconds when Oklahoma State had chances to win the game with three-pointers Tuesday night. But for the third consecutive time the Cowboys came up on the losing side in a game against Iowa State decided by a last-second shot, falling 63-61 to the Cyclones in Ames, Iowa.

The loss drops the Cowboys to 11-3 overall and 1-1 in Big 12 play. Iowa State improves to 11-2 and 1-0.

The Cowboys had a chance to win it after Iowa State’s Georges Niang missed the first shot of a one-and-one opportunity with 22.2 seconds remaining in the game. After an OSU timeout, Le’Bryan Nash found freshman Tavarius Shine in the corner, but Iowa State’s Dustin Hogue came flying out to cleanly block the ball into the Hilton Coliseum crowd with just 0.9 seconds left.

After timeouts by both teams, 5-foot-11 Phil Forte’s long-range catch-and-shoot three-pointer was blocked by the 6-8 Niang as time expired.

It was OSU’s third consecutive heart-wrenching loss to Iowa State as a year ago the Cowboys lost 98-97 in triple overtime in Stillwater and 85-81 in overtime in Ames.

"I thought we competed really well, and basically it came down to Iowa State made a couple of plays at the end of the game," OSU coach Travis Ford said. "They just made a few more plays down the stretch.

"As we told (the team), when you get in the Big 12 you've got to get this game close under 10 minutes and then under 10 minutes you'd better start making some winning plays. The team that makes the most positive and winning plays, whether it be a blocked shot, a charge, a big assist, whatever it may, that's who is going to win it.

"Iowa State made a big block in the corner after (Nash) made a nice pass to Tavarius Shine, and Hogue made an incredible effort to block the shot. Sometimes that's the difference in the game."

Forte scored a game-high 21 points – 12 in the second half – while contributing 5 assists (tying a career high), 4 rebounds and 2 steals. Nash contributed 19 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists (also tying a career high).

The Cyclones were led by Hogue, who scored a career-high 17 (all in the second half), while making 3-of-4 from three-point range. He had made only five three-pointers in the Cyclones first 12 games of the season.

"I was proud of how our team played. I was proud of how they fought but we have to do a little bit better job. We had one guy go off on us in the second half, Hogue had a great second half and we need to do a better job down the stretch in trying to stop him," Ford said.

"I like how our team executed. We came in here in a tough environment and played well, but just not enough plays made down the stretch. We've got to make more winning plays down the stretch."

The Cowboys return to action Saturday against No. 10 Texas at Gallagher-Iba Arena.

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