Three pointers were the name of the game and the Cyclones had a couple more than the Cowboys on Senior Night in the Hilton Coliseum allowing Iowa State to take down the Cowboy’s 86-83 in Ames, sweeping the Pokes for the fourth straight year.
Iowa State led by one at the half and spurted out to a couple of double digit leads in the second half, but the game hinged on who could come up with more consecutive stops, and the Cyclones got that done at critical times. They were also helped by a critical turnover late when the Cowboys could not execute an inbounds play with 8.8 seconds left in the game.
Totaling 15 for the game, Iowa State made 10 three-point shots in the first half alone, accounting for 30 of their 40 first half points and testing the Cowboy defense.
“That is an elite offensive team in terms of shooting the basketball,” “They made 15 three’s, that’s what they do but I am really proud of our guys, in a hostile environment on senior night to really compete and fight to come back,” Cowboys head coach Brad Underwood said.
The Pokes made 13 three pointers for the night. Phil Forte responsible for of those. Speaking of Forte, in his last five trips to Ames he was never able to leave with a win.
Cyclone’s senior Matt Thomas used the shot fake all night, and had 25 points total, while Monte Morris had 12 points, 11 assists and 9 rebounds.
Extremely clean first half with minimal fouls from both teams, that being said, amping up the physicality and bumping the Cyclones shooters off the ball before they went into their shot was could have been a difference maker. A turning point in the game came with 12 minutes left in the second half, Iowa State up by 10, and the Cowboy’s seemed to get flustered.
A huge indication of the Pokes newfound toughness under Underwood is the vast improvement in rebounding. The Pokes had 40 rebounds for the night while the Cyclones finished with 27.
All in all, the Cowboys showed grit and determination, that was evident when it was a two point game with 14 seconds left. Jawun Evans had 29 points for the night and didn’t make it easy on Iowa State. When he was fouled with 13 seconds left to go, the Cowboys down by 4, he hit all three making it a one-point game. As Underwood put it, “Juwan was sensational the second half and he gave us an opportunity."
Iowa State also beat the Pokes back in January 96-86, and while this was a disappointing night for the Cowboys, the game was also encouraging in that the Pokes were able to come back from a large deficit while I Iowa State was raining 3’s.
Now the Cowboys will prepare for a huge game on Saturday against Kansas and one more chance in the regular season to improve their seed position in the NCAA tournament. Oklahoma State is locked in as the fifth seed for the Big 12 Tournament with their first game March 9 in Kansas City.
“Kansas is number one for a reason, they have won 13 straight in this league in terms of conference championships and we will get our crack at home,” Underwood said.
That game Saturday in Gallagher-Iba Arena is already a sell out.