Despite getting hammered for the best part of the first-half, Iowa State proved that second-half miracles do occur when they managed to turn the game around and win 77-70 against Oklahoma. And whether a technical foul represented the game-changing moment for Iowa State, the Cyclones storm past Oklahoma in their hopes for a share of the Big 12 title.
The first half had been going marvelously for Oklahoma from an offensive standpoint: the Sooners had forced the Cyclones to turn it over 10 times and neatly jumped ahead of Iowa State 37-18.
At the beginning of the second-half,Oklahoma seemed to still have the momentum over Iowa State, managing to further increase their lead (48-28). But one game-changing moment would occur: Ryan Spangler, Sooners junior, blocked Georges Niang’s shot. This play caused Isaiah Cousins to be called fora technical foul as a result of his vituperation on the play. Cousins had begun yelling at Iowa’s State bench. This was the chance that the Cyclones needed to climb back to the top, and so they did.
Niang immediately hit both of his free throws and went on to score a three-point play. In a bit over 5 minutes, the Cyclones managed to score 22 straight points following Isaiah Cousins’ technical and went on to secure their first lead of the game.
“That’s two points. […]Isaiah just applauded the blocked shot and he should’ve have done it.”
Lon Kruger, Sooners coach said, mentioning that this had not been the second-half that his team had wished for. And while the team had already experienced similar scares in its previous games (with overtime allowing them to secure the lead over Texas Tech and narrow wins against Texas and TCU), it seems that Iowa State was in it for the win.
When asked about the technical that got Iowa State back in the game, Niang had a different viewpoint than Kruger, who seemingly downplayed the moment’s impact.
“I think when someone gets in your face telling you how they’re kicking your butt, you’re going to retaliate in some way and luckily we retaliated in the right way.” Niang said.
He went on to lead Iowa State with 23 just before the second-half’s final minute, when he fouled out. Morris and Jameel McKay ensured the remaining 19 respectively 14 that the Cyclones needed to secure the win over Oklahoma.
Buddy Hield, Oklahoma junior guard, explained that the Sooners weren’t comfortable in the second half and that despite their planned approach (remaining poised), the Cyclones still manages to steal the win from under their noses.
Ultimately, The Cyclones managed to not only score big for the Big 12 race, but also for the NCAA Tournament. Before their game with Baylor last week, Iowa State had been enjoying a 21-game home winning streak.