No. 14 Iowa State survives Big 12 tussle with No. 24 Texas

By Steve Habel, The Sports Xchange  |  Feb. 14, 2016 at 12:10 AM
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AMES, Iowa -- It was a given that Iowa State would turn to All-America candidate forward Georges Niang for big plays when the 14th-ranked Cyclones needed them against No. 24 Texas on Saturday night.

But it was guard Monte Morris -- and not Niang -- that made the difference with the game in the balance as Iowa State held off the Longhorns 85-75 in crucial Big 12 battle at Hilton Coliseum.

Niang and Morris scored 24 points apiece to help the Cyclones (18-7, 7-5 Big 12) avenge an overtime loss to Texas in Austin on Jan. 12.

Morris was 7 of 9 from the field in the second half and took charge with pinpoint passes and great ball security down the stretch as Texas made run after run. His scoring total equaled his career high.

The Longhorns got back to within three points at 77-74 on a tip-in by guard/forward Tevin Mack with 2:29 left, but the Cyclones reeled off the next eight points to seal the victory.

"We made the right plays down the stretch," Iowa State coach Steve Prohm said. "We competed and we finished. We won by 10, but it feels like we won by one."

Niang had 15 points in the first half, including 13 in a row during a stretch late in the half. Guard Matt Thomas added 13 points and guard Deonte Burton scored 10 for Iowa State.

"When Georges has it going, it goes down the line to everyone else," Morris said. "We were able to shoot such a high percentage in the second half because we executed our mismatches when Texas switched on screens."

The Longhorns (16-9, 7-5) were led by 18 points each by guard Javan Felix and Mack. Guard Kendal Yancy and center Prince Ibeh had 10 points apiece for Texas, which lost for the second time in the past five days to a ranked team on the road.

"I didn't think we were as alert as we needed to be tonight," Texas coach Shaka Smart said. "Our awareness has to be better. We were just not connected tonight -- there is nobody in our program who has won here. We need to get better.

"That said, Iowa State did a terrific job and Niang and Morris are great players and they showed it."

The teams battled through a tight and efficiently played second half.

Texas tied the score three times in a two-minute span midway through the half, the final time at 60 on a layup by Felix with 8:02 left, but the Longhorns never went in front. Felix had 11 of their 13 points during a five-minute stretch in the middle of the half.

Felix said Iowa State's zone slowed down the Texas attack.

"We got stagnant and that kind of hurt us," he said. "It took away our energy."

Iowa State built its lead to 73-67 on a thunderous dunk by forward Jameel McKay off a pass on the break by Morris with 5:03 to play.

Forward Connor Lammert hit two free throws with 0.5 of a second remaining in the first half to bring the Longhorns within 36-34 at intermission.

The Cyclones shot 47 percent from the floor and committed just three fouls.

Texas shot just 41 percent and struggled from beyond the 3-point arc, making only 3 of 15 (20 percent) but stayed close by committing just five turnovers.

The Longhorns, who were led by point guard Isaiah Taylor's seven points in the half, also hit all five free throws and were whistled for just five fouls, resulting in only five trips to the free throw line for Iowa State.

Texas forged a 12-0 run in the middle of the half to take a short-lived 24-21 lead that was immediately answered by a 5-0 run from the Cyclones and Niang.

Iowa State was bolstered by the return of McKay from a two-game suspension for a violation of team rules. He had three points in the first half.

NOTES: Texas is 4-3 this year against AP top 20 opponents, including 2-3 in true road games against AP top 15 teams. The Longhorns also are 2-2 this season against AP top 10 teams with wins over No. 3 North Carolina and at No. 6 West Virginia. ... In Big 12 games only, Texas led the conference in scoring defense (65.2 ppg), field goal percentage defense (.402) and 3-point field goal percentage defense (.314). ... Texas C Prince Ibeh averaged 9.6 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.4 blocks in 25.4 minutes in the last five games. He has reached double figures in rebounds in three of the five games. ...Texas' last win in Ames came in 2010. ... Iowa State has had seven different players score 20 or more points in a game this season and is one of four teams in the AP Top 25 with five active players averaging 10 or more points. ... The Cyclones are sixth nationally and lead the Big 12 in field goal shooting at 50 percent. ... Iowa State has been ranked in a school-record 51 consecutive polls, the third-longest streak in the nation behind Kansas and Arizona.

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