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The Cyclones are headed to the Big Apple – but took a lengthy clock review after DeAndre Kane’s winning basket to solidify it.
Sunday’s 85-83 victory against North Carolina in the third round of the NCAA Tournament’s East Regional at the AT&T Center means a Friday appointment against Connecticut in the Sweet 16 at New York’s Madison Square Garden.
It’s the third-seeded Cyclones’ first round of 16 appearance since 2000, and it came thanks largely to a big game from DeAndre Kane, who scored the last two of his 24 points on a driving layup with 1.7 seconds to go, dazzling an entertained crowd that included at least 1,000 vocal Iowa State fans.
He was among many players who helped the Cyclones win their sixth straight game, this one coming with one of their Big Three watching from the sidelines.
Iowa State played without Georges Niang, watching from the sidelines thanks to a broken right foot suffered in Friday’s victory against North Carolina Central.
He is the Cyclones’ most proficient inside scoring threat, the guy with the neat hook shots with either hand.
“You hate that they lost the youngster,” North Carolina coach Roy Williams said. “I remember two or three years ago, I went to watch a high school workout and Nerlens Noel was there, and I asked, “who is that guy right there, because I love him.
“They told me he had already committed to Iowa State, and that was Georges Niang. I just think he's a great, great player. You hate that for the kid.”
After much deliberation whether to go small or big against the taller Tar Heels, Hoiberg opted to start 6-foot-8 Daniel Edozie to replace Niang.
Hoiberg wanted more rebounding punch at the game’s beginning, but it was just one of many strategies as the Cyclones alternated between big and small lineups.
Iowa State trailed 12-5 after missing seven of its first eight shots. The inside offensive game wasn’t working, so 4 ½ minutes into the game, Naz Long entered, and a 10-2 run resulted in a 35-26 Iowa State advantage, and it was 40-37 Cyclones at the break.
Kane scored 15 points and grabbed eight rebounds during the first 20 minutes. He scored from distance and he scored under the basket. He owned the first half, but he picked up his third foul while driving to the basket with 17:23 to play, Iowa State leading 46-41.
He left the floor for 2 minutes while solid play resulted in a 52-45 Iowa State lead with 15 minutes to play, but the score became tied after the Tar Heels ran off the next seven points.
The lead switched sides until Hogue and Ejim combined to score five points and suddenly the Cyclones led 60-56 with 10:24 remaining.
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