Niang Layup Sinks Mountaineers
AMES, Iowa - Will Clyburn found Georges Niang under the hoop for the game-winning bucket with 0:02 left, as Iowa State (12-4 overall, 2-1 Big 12 Conference) defeated West Virginia (8-8 overall, 1-3 Big 12), 69-67 Wednesday night in Hilton Coliseum.
Iowa State held an 18-point lead (56-38) with 9:04 left in the game, but the Mountaineers bounced back by making eight 3-pointers in the final nine minutes to tie the game at 67-67 with 0:11 seconds left.
Niang's bucket then sealed the victory for the Cyclones.
Melvin Ejim tallied 16 points and 13 rebounds, his seventh double-double of the season, before fouling out with 2:01 left in the game.
The West Virginia defense was stout as usual, as the Cyclones quickly found out by falling behind 7-0 early in the game. ISU was just 1-of-8 from the floor to start the game while falling behind, 11-3 with 14:15 remaining left in the first half.
Iowa State used the great equalizer, the 3-point shot, to slowly crawl back into the game. ISU's first four baskets counted for three points. When Korie Lucious hit ISU's fifth trey of the opening period, the Cyclones took their first lead of the game at 17-16 with 7:04 remaining.
Lucious later hit a floater in the closing seconds of the opening period to give the Cyclones a 29-26 lead at the break. Both teams shot under 35 percent from the floor in the first half, but six ISU 3-pointers to WVU's zero gave ISU the slim lead at intermission.
Iowa State came out after halftime on fire, outscoring WVU 11-2 to begin the second period while forging a 42-28 lead with 14:30 left. Ejim gave ISU a 17-point lead (47-30) after his career-high-tying third trey with 12:24 left in the contest. ISU made 8-of-its-first-12 shots to open the second period to help increase its lead.
ISU went up by as many as 18 points after four-straight free-throws from Chris Babb and Clyburn to make it 56-38 ISU with 9:04 remaining.
The Mountaineers fought back. An 11-0 run behind a trio of 3-pointers cut the Cyclone lead to 56-49 with 6:00 left in the game. Niang finally ended the run on a dunk from a nifty feed from Lucious to move ISU back up 58-49.
Back-to-back treys from Matt Humphrey cut the ISU lead to 60-57 with 3:36 left, as WVU mounted a 19-4 run behind five 3-pointers. Lucious hit a big jumper, then got a steal on the other end and made a pair of free-throws to push ISU back up 64-57 with 2:11 left.
ISU increased its lead to 66-58, but Eron Harris and Humphrey made treys on back-to-back possessions to cut the Cyclone lead to 67-64 with 1:04 left in the game.
ISU failed to score on its next possession, giving WVU a chance with under 30 seconds left. Jabari Hinds then drilled a 3-pointer with 11 seconds left to tie the game at 67-67.
Clyburn then found Niang for the winning bucket with 0:02 on the clock.
The win was ISU's 17th in a row at home for the Cyclones, the fourth-best winning streak in school history.
Iowa State hits the road for its next game. The Cyclones travel to TCU to face the Horned Frogs Saturday at 12:45 p.m. CT.