Second Half Rally Pushes ISU Past Oklahoma
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Melvin Ejim and Will Clyburn spearheaded a second-half Iowa State (22-10 overall, 11-7 Big 12 Conference) rally to down Oklahoma (20-11 overall, 11-7 Big 12) 73-66 Thursday afternoon in the Big 12 Championship quarterfinal tilt in the Sprint Center. Iowa State's win snaps an eight-game losing skid in the league tournament.
Clyburn posted seven key points in a 12-0 ISU run that saw the Cyclones tie the game at 60 with 4:10 remaining after Iowa State had trailed the entire contest. Clyburn went onto finish the game with 17 points and eight rebounds, scoring 13 in the second half.
Iowa State struggled shooting the ball for most of the game before going 7-10 from the field in the game's final eight minutes. The Cyclones were flawless from the free throw line, hitting all 14 of their attempts from the charity stripe.
Melvin Ejim posted his Big 12 leading 14th double-double with a career-high 23 points and 12 rebounds. Ejim has now recorded a double-double against each team in the league this season.
Clyburn entered the game needing 15 points to amass 1,000 for his career. Clyburn now has 1,002 career points.
ISU had a slim 68-66 lead with 36 second remaining before Chris Babb drilled a 3-pointer from well beyond the arc to push Iowa State's lead to five (71-66).
A Will Clyburn traditional three-point play gave Iowa State its first lead of the game (63-62) with 3:19 remaining in the game.
Tyrus McGee nailed his first 3 of the game with 2:44 left to give ISU the 66-63 edge, and ISU would retain the lead the rest of the way.
The Cyclones started the game cold, missing their first six shots before Georges Niang converted a bucket in the paint to cut Oklahoma's lead to 6-2. The Cyclones did not heat up after Niang's basket and missed their first 10 3-point attempts.
Babb hit a 3 to snap Iowa State's cold streak from downtown with 1:57 left in the first half. Babb's 3 cut Oklahoma's lead to 32-25.
ISU trailed Oklahoma by eight (37-29) at the break, shooting 11-31 (35.5 percent) from the field. Babb's 3 was the lone long-range bucket by a Cyclone in the opening stanza. OU's Romero Osby led all scorers with 12 in the first half. Will Clyburn had a game-high six rebounds at the break.
Iowa State advances to the Big 12 Championship semifinal Friday at 6:30 p.m. CT in the Sprint Center. The Cyclones will face the winner of the Kansas, Texas Tech quarterfinal game.