AUSTIN, Texas (AP) Less than a week ago, Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg lamented the way his team handled the challenges presented by close games on the road.
He’s thrilled now.
Georges Niang and Matt Thomas scored 17 points each to help No. 14 Iowa State beat Texas 85-77 on Saturday.
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Iowa State (20-6, 10-4 Big 12) won its second straight Big 12 road game, something the Cyclones had not accomplished since the 2005-06 season. They had lost six straight at Texas since their only victory over the Longhorns in Austin in 2005.
The Cyclones, 7-0 at home in the conference, improved to 3-4 on the road. After suffering tough losses at Kansas and Oklahoma, they beat Oklahoma State and Texas in a span of four days.
”We’ve had a couple of good learning experiences on the road,” Hoiberg said. ”I give our guys a lot of credit for fighting through the tough times, finding a way to handle adversity better. On the road, you splinter a little bit. At home, we can afford to do that, because the 15,000 (fans) behind you are going to bring you back together. On the road, we’re all we’ve got.”
Kendal Yancy led Texas (17-10, 6-8) with a career-best 29 points, 18 more than his average. He scored 21 in the second half. Isaiah Taylor scored 17 of his 23 in the second half, matching his career high for points in a game.
Yancy made a career-high six 3-pointers. His fourth of the game left Texas trailing by just five points with seven minutes remaining.
But Iowa State trumped that with consecutive 3s by Thomas – a sophomore whose 17 points were a career high – and Naz Long. The Cyclones made 18 free throws during the final 3:32, when Texas repeatedly fouled to stop the clock and get the ball back.
”You just try to make sure you don’t turn the ball over,” said Cyclones guard Bryce Dejean-Jones, who scored 16 points.
Iowa State never trailed after finishing the first half with an 8-0 push to forge ahead 35-31.
The Longhorns committed 12 turnovers in the half, including two during its final three possessions, both leading to Iowa State baskets.
The Longhorns did not commit any turnovers in the second half but still failed to secure a victory that would have lifted them to .500 in the Big 12 with four games remaining and the NCAA tournament approaching.
”We just have to find way,” Yancy said. ”We’ll figure it out. We ain’t got time to be feeling sorry for ourselves.”
Texas: Longhorn senior Jon Holmes has scored just 12 points in three games since returning from a concussion. He missed two games. Holmes has hit just 2 of 10 3-pointers since returning. But he was not shooting treys that well before the concussion. Since making 21 of 48 (43.4 percent) in nonconference games, Holmes has since hit 11 of 46 (23.9 percent).
Iowa State: The Cyclones are likely to make their fourth straight NCAA tournament appearance under fifth-year coach Hoiberg. One thing that has remained consistent is Hoiberg’s reliance on players who transfer from other four-year schools. The Cyclones went to the Sweet 16 last season thanks largely to senior DeAndre Kane, an all-Big 12 guard who came from Marshall. Center Jameel McKay, Iowa State’s top rebounder and shot blocker this season, transferred from Marquette and became eligible on Dec. 20. McKay ranks second in the Big 12 in blocks in conference games. The Cyclones’ second leading scorer, Bryce Dejean-Jones, is a senior guard who played at USC and UNLV.
TURNER SAYS HE’S UNDECIDED
Myles Turner, the Longhorns’ 6-foot-11 freshman, has been projected as a top-10 pick in several recent NBA mock drafts. Turner said he has not made a decision about entering the draft and prefers to focus on the stretch run for this season. ”I hear about it from friends back home. They say are you going to the NBA next year?” Turner said. ”Teammates tease me. But we’re heading into March now. I don’t want to pay any attention to that.”