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No. 23 Iowa State sprints past No. 11 West Virginia in Big 12 final

By David Smale, The Sports Xchange

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Deonte Burton has a knack for getting things started.

Burton scored 14 of his 16 points in the second half as No. 23 Iowa State defeated No. 11 West Virginia 80-74 in the Big 12 tournament final on Saturday in front of 18,972 fans at Sprint Center.

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It was the fourth Big 12 tournament championship for Iowa State and the third in four years. West Virginia lost in the title game for the second year in a row.

"He was big for us," Iowa State coach Steve Prohm said of Burton. "We had him in the middle to make plays and drive some bigger guys. There was one or two or three times he forced it, but for the course of the game he made really good decisions for us. He was really active and physical."

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If Burton is instant offense for the Cyclones, Monte' Morris is the steady hand that keeps them going. Morris was named the Most Outstanding Player after averaging 17.7 points, 6.3 rebounds and 5.0 assists. But Morris didn't want the focus on him.

"(Prohm) had so much adversity on his shoulders," he said. "Everybody was giving him a hard time when we would lose games, but he came to work every day and started to turn things around. I think that's when the face of the program turned."

A large majority of those in attendance were clad in red and gold, and it sounded more like the game was played in Iowa State's Hilton Coliseum rather than a neutral site.

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"We call it Hilton South for a reason," Naz Mitrou-Long said. "It's a blessing, because we had another home game here tonight, yesterday, and the night before. It's an advantage when you have the best fan base in the country willing to travel through rain, sleet, snow, doesn't matter and come out to support us and will us to this win."

The Cyclones stretched a six-point halftime lead to double digits with two quick 3-pointers early in the second half. Burton scored 10 points in the first 4 1/2 minutes of the second half.

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When Burton hit a fall-away jumper with 15:38 left, the Cyclones owned a 50-38 lead. West Virginia got no closer than five points the rest of the way and also missed four straight free throws down the stretch. They finished 8 for 17 from the line.

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"You can't go 8 for 17 from the foul line and beat a good team," West Virginia coach Bob Huggins said. "We hang our hat on turning people over and rebounding the ball, and we got outrebounded. We gotta get more shots.

"We don't shoot the ball very well. Some of them think they do, but they really don't. So we've got to get more shots, and you get more shots by rebounding the ball and by turning people over, and we didn't do either one of those."

Iowa State (23-10) was led by Morris' 17 points. Matt Thomas added 12 points and Darrell Bowie had 10, all in a first-half spurt that put the Cyclones up for good.

The Cyclones were 10 for 15 from 3-point range.

"We turned 'em loose," Huggins said. "They're good. They've got a bunch of guys that can handle the ball and a bunch of guys that can shoot the ball. Everybody says it's hard to play against us with one day's prep, but I think it's really hard to play against them with one day's prep as well because they shoot the ball so well."

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West Virginia (26-8) was led by Jevon Carter with 18 points. Esa Ahmad, Elijah Macon and Daxter Miles each had 10 points.

The first half started well for West Virginia, but Iowa State didn't let the game get out of hand. An 8-0 Iowa State run tied the score at 16.

The teams traded buckets before another Iowa State 8-0 run --more specifically an 8-0 run by Bowie -- gave the Cyclones their first lead of the game.

Iowa State shot 53.6 percent from the field in taking a 35-29 lead at halftime. Morris led the Cyclones with 11 points and Bowie had 10 before intermission.

West Virginia was led by Carter with seven points and Macon with six in the opening half.

NOTES:

-- The all-tournament team was West Virginia's Jevon Carter and Tarik Phillip and Iowa State's Monte' Morris, Matt Thomas and Deonte Burton.

-- Iowa State moved into second place in Big 12 tournament history with its fourth title. Only Kansas (10) has won more. The Cyclones are 4-0 all-time in Big 12 title games.

-- Morris became the Iowa State career leader in games won with 99, moving past Georges Niang.

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-- Morris took over first in Big 12 tournament history with 26 steals.

-- West Virginia won both games against Iowa State during the regular season by double digits -- 85-72 in Ames, Iowa, and 87-76 in Morgantown, W.Va.

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