Iowa State played well when it counted Saturday — at the beginning and end — and that’s all that really counts, anyway, during this final stretch of the season. The Cyclones accumulated all the style points they needed when beating six top-25 teams, so now it’s just about survival. That’s the best way to explain Saturday’s 70-64 victory against Texas Tech at Hilton Coliseum. After leading by 18 points, the 11th-ranked Cyclones held on for their 19th victory before a throng of 14,384. “That wouldn't have been too good a loss on our resume,” said Georges Niang, who scored 17 points for another solid game. “We had a good 30 minutes of basketball.” The rest wasn’t as good, but nonetheless Iowa State survived. And now it advances to Tuesday’s 6 p.m. home game against second-place Texas. “They’re a very good team,” coach Fred Hoiberg said of the Red Raiders, which came to town with a three-game winning streak. “For us to find a way to get it, even after they took the lead, was huge for us.” That’s right. The Cyclones lost an 18-point lead with 14:53 to play — at home. They not only lost the big lead, they trailed. “When they got back in the game, we just lost our minds during that stretch,” Hoiberg said. “We got it up to 18 by getting run-outs, moving the ball, and by getting great shots, then all of a sudden we started trying to hit home runs.” That 11 ½-minute stretch eventually went from 51-33 Cyclones to 62-61 Texas Tech with 3:02 to play. Iowa State’s drought included a stretch when the Cyclones scored just six points during 8 1/2 minutes. “We had more energy during that run,” said Jaye Crockett, who led Texas Tech with 23 points. “We started playing together.” Hoiberg even called timeout late during the run. He wanted to disrupt the momentum. He needed to talk to his guys. “I saw some faces in the huddle when they were making their run that suggested maybe some bad body language,” Hoiberg said. Melvin Ejim’s basket returned the lead to Iowa State, and Matt Thomas’ only basket gave the Cyclones a 3-point lead with 2:04 left. So much for the bad body language. So much for the upset alert scare. Finally, the Cyclones were just a couple of minutes from improving their Big 12 record to 7-5 and from building momentum for a big game against the Longhorns.
Iowa State men hang on after late challenge from Texas Tech
Des Moines Register | Feb 16