March 10 KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Monte Morris did not make the final cut for the Bob Cousy Award for the nation's best point guard, and Steve Prohm can't figure out why.
"I don't know how much tape we're watching with that Bob Cousy Award not to have him as a top-five guy in the country," said Prohm, the Iowa State coach, after Morris finished an assist shy of a triple-double in Iowa State's 92-83 victory over Oklahoma State in the second round of the Big 12 Championship on Thursday.
"He's not going to say it so I just want to say it for him. He would have been a great representative for that award and what it's about, for what he's done for this program on and off the floor. He's going to finish as the national assist-to-turnover ratio in the country, the best ever, (and) lead Iowa State as an all-time assist leader."
Morris had 21 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists for No. 23 Iowa State. It was the second time in three games that he was one notch away from a triple-double, finishing a rebound short in the Cyclone's home finale, also against Oklahoma State. He also had a triple-double against The Citadel in nonconference play. He says the lack of recognition motivated him.
"Definitely," he said. "(I've) just got to play with a chip on my shoulder. Obviously, I haven't showed enough, so I'm going to take it head on and play with a chip on my shoulder and not talk much and be silent, how I move and just play on the court."
One person who was not shy in heaping on the praise was Oklahoma State coach Brad Underwood.
"That's a pretty effective day at the office," he said. "Those guys have a tremendous ability with their experience to jump up and make hard shots and contested shots."
With the victory, the Cyclones (21-10) will face the winner of the TCU versus Kansas game that followed.
Iowa State shot 7-of-8 from 3-point range in the second half and finished 12 of 24. The Cyclones got long-range buckets from six different players. Joining Morris in double figures were Deonte Burton (17 points), Naz Mitrou-Long (14) and Matt Thomas and Darrell Bowie with 13 each.
The Cyclones were able to keep the Cowboys at bay for most of the second half. Each time Oklahoma State would chip away, Iowa State would respond, eventually building a 13-point lead on several occasions. Juwan Evans scored seven straight points for Oklahoma State, but Iowa State answered each time.
Oklahoma State (20-12) was led by Evans with 29 points. Jeffrey Carroll had 21 and Phil Forte had 12.
"We just needed a little bit more stops and a couple more layups made," a dejected Evans said after the game. "I feel like we missed a few layups. We've got to take it upon ourselves to get stops on the defensive end. There's nothing the coaches can do at this point."
Iowa State used a 10-0 spurt early in the first half to assume the lead. But Oklahoma State responded with a run of its own, and cut the deficit to 39-36 at halftime.
Evans led the Cowboys with 10 points, including eight in the final five minutes of the half.
Morris led Iowa State with 11 points in the first half. The Cyclones were 5-of-16 from beyond the arc in the first half.
-- This matchup featured two of the four current Big 12 members to have won multiple Big 12 Championships in the conference's first 20 seasons. Kansas has won the most (10), followed by Iowa State and Oklahoma (three each) and Oklahoma State (two).
-- Iowa State connected on its 300th 3-point basket of the season in the first half, the third time in school history that it achieved the feat. Five players have at least 30 makes for the Cyclones.
-- Oklahoma State is on pace to set a school record for scoring average for the season. The Cowboys now are averaging 85.5, which would beat the previous mark of 83.5 in 1988-89.