What's the best way to cleanse the palate of the horrible taste of losing on the road to a poor team? To come back home and post a win over a ranked team. And that is what Iowa State did Saturday, downing No. 11 Kansas State, 73-67, in Ames.
Three days after losing at Texas Tech, the Cyclones came back to handle the Wildcats and pull even with K-State in the Big 12 standings at 4-2. By the end of the night, ISU and Kansas State will likely be tied with Oklahoma for third place in the conference, behind Kansas and Baylor.
Iowa State goes back on the road Wednesday night, playing at Oklahoma State.
Before Saturday, only one team had scored in excess of 70 points this season against Kansas State, and that was top five Michigan. Iowa State became the second.
The Cyclones only had 26 points at the half and trailed Kansas State by one at that juncture. But ISU rang up 47 points in a big second half and made plays down the stretch to finally put away the Wildcats.
Korie Lucious' driving shot over a defender gave Iowa State a 72-67 lead with 23 seconds on the clock. But the clock had paused for several seconds as Lucious tried to dribble time away. After an ISU rebounding foul on Kansas State's ensuing possession, an officials' reviewed trimmed six seconds off the clock, from 12.4 to 6.3 seconds to play. KSU's Rodney McGruder missed the front end of his one-and-one free throw opportunity and the Cyclones had clinched the victory.
Iowa State used an 8-0 run to gain the upper hand a few minutes earlier. With Kansas State leading 56-55 and 7 ½ minutes to play, a Chris Babb layup triggered the Cyclone surge. Lucious followed with two made free throws, Will Clyburn hit a shot and Melvin Ejim flushed a fast break dunk to give ISU a 63-56 lead with 5:27 left in the game.
A dunk by Clyburn made it 65-58 at the 3:48 mark and after a three by Georges Niang with 2:37 to play, Iowa State was up 68-62. It was 70-67 Cyclones before Lucious drove from near half court on a clear out play and banked in a running one-hander over a KSU defender to put the Cyclones up five with less than a half minute to play.
ISU's biggest lead of the game had come in the first half when a 10-0 run put the Cyclones up, 24-15, with 6:21 to go before halftime. But Kansas State closed the half on a 12-2 run to forge ahead by one at intermission.
Back-to-back threes by Lucious and Clyburn opened the second half and quickly put Iowa State back up by five, 32-27, just a minute into the second half. ISU led from that point until Kansas State tied it at 49 on a Will Spradling free throw with 11:05 to play. K-State had one brief second half lead on a Shane Southwell three-pointer that made it 56-55 Wildcats with 7:33 left in the game. ISU's game-turning 8-0 run followed.
Clyburn led Iowa State with a 24-point and 10-rebound double-double performance. Niang scored 15 for the Cyclones with Tyrus McGee (11 pts.) and Lucious (10) also in double figures.
Iowa State finished the game hitting 50 percent of its three-point field goal attempts (11-of-22). The Cyclones only attempted seven treys in the first half, making three, but then drained 8-of-15 long distance shots in the second half. That three-point shooting helped ISU overcome a dismal day at the free throw line as it made only 10-of-22 attempts.