After blowing lead, No. 11 Iowa St. hangs on to beat Texas Tech
AMES, Iowa — It went into the books as a win for Iowa State.
But after blowing an 18-point lead in the second half, there wasn’t much for the Cyclones to celebrate.
DeAndre Kane had 17 points with nine assists and No. 11 Iowa State sneaked past Texas Tech 70-64 on Saturday.
Georges Niang also had 17 points for the Cyclones (19-5, 7-5 Big 12), who barely survived a huge late rally from the Red Raiders and won for the fourth time in five games.
”We just lost our minds for a stretch,” Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg said. ”For us to find a way to get it, even after they took the lead, is huge for us.”
Even though it all worked out in the end, there were times when the Cyclones put themselves in position for one of their worst losses in years.
Texas Tech went on a 29-10 run to take the lead with 3:02 left before Matt Thomas and Niang hit layups that put Iowa State ahead 67-62 with 1:27 left.
Niang’s open bucket with 7.2 seconds sealed it for the Cyclones, who missed 8 of 12 free throws in the second half.
Jaye Crockett had 19 of his 23 points in the second half for the Red Raiders (13-12, 5-7), who outrebounded Iowa State 40-30 but also had 13 turnovers against 11 assists.
”Iowa State is a team that you can’t afford to make many mistakes against. They’re very efficient,” Texas Tech coach Tubby Smith said. ”We fought and we got ourselves back in the game. Rebounding and second shots helped us a lot. But in the end, we just didn’t get the job done.”
Texas Tech opened Big 12 play with an 11-point home loss to Iowa State last month and went on to start 2-6. The Red Raiders got turned around with three straight victories and were looking for their first four-game winning streak in the Big 12 in nine years.
Even though Tech fell short, it put one heck of a scare into the Cyclones.
The Red Raiders cut a 51-33 deficit down to 53-48 by scoring 15 points in less than three minutes – and Iowa State forwards Melvin Ejim and Dustin Hogue each picked up their fourth fouls with just under 10 minutes left.
”We took a couple plays off when we got up 18,” Kane said. ”Give them credit. We were fortunate to get out of there with a win.”
Tech completed its comeback with a layup from Crockett that put them ahead 62-61 with 3:02 left. But Iowa State answered with six straight points and survived despite a terrible afternoon from the free throw line (9 for 19).
Toddrick Gotcher had 14 points for Texas Tech, which fueled its comeback in part by shooting 20 of 24 from the line.
”I saw some faces in that huddle when they were making that run that suggested a little bit of bad body language,” Hoiberg said. ”We pulled it together. Georges made some big plays for us down the stretch. Matt (Thomas) made a big basket…and DeAndre made a lot of big plays for us.”
After allowing 102 points to West Virginia in a blowout loss on Monday, Iowa State’s main directive this week was to improve its defense.
The Red Raiders got what they wanted early on – and for key stretches in the second half as well.
But Monte Morris found Kane for an alley-oop dunk, and Morris maneuvered through four Red Raiders for an inside assist to Ejim. Naz Long, who had 14 points, then buried a transition 3 and Iowa State led 31-25.
Iowa State allowed just two baskets in the final 5:41 of the first half, and Niang’s 3 from the corner with 19 seconds left made it 39-29.
The Cyclones opened the second half with a 12-4 run and looked set for an easy victory. Instead, the win proved to be among the toughest of the season.
”Happy to walk out of here with a win. But we still have a lot of work to do to get to that next level,” Hoiberg said.
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