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KANSAS CITY — Iowa State defeated Oklahoma in the quarter-finals of the Big 12 Championship on Thursday by a 73-66 final. Freshman Georges Niang scored 10 points int he win. He was as excited as anyone while walking off the court and Cyclone Fanatic grabbed him for a one-on-one after the game.
CF: How does it feel to finally get a win down here?
GN: Getting rid of that seven year curse is great for this program. Like I’ve said, Fred Hoiberg is bringing in a new era here. I am just happy to get that over with and we can focus on other things when we come back next year and stuff like that. Just so people know that we are a top team in this league and aren’t taking a backseat to anyone.
CF: There’s a saying out there about how ugly wins are sometimes the best ones. You guys didn’t shoot well but still found a way to beat a really good team. Is there something to that?
GN: Yeah definitely. I’d rather have an ugly win than a pretty loss, that’s for sure. Our guys just stayed in there with confidence. Babb sunk a big one at the end which was huge for us. Just our seniors and their will to win man. At some point you are down and wondering if you can do it and they pushed us through. Every huddle was positive and I’m just happy to be in a circle with those guys.
CF: Will (Clyburn) took over there for a 10 minute span. What did you think about that?
GN: We have been seeing that for a while. He has had his chance to show that. He did. I’m really happy for the kid and he is a grinder man. He works really hard. He came from nothing and come up from hard work. That shows that hard work can get you anywhere. I think that he was really pushing us in the huddle to show if we push hard, something great can happen.
CF: Talk about Melvin Ejim’s game today…
GN: He is a lunch pail guy. Every night he brings something. He had it going on the offensive end. We were struggling early and he was keeping us in with offensive rebounds and tip backs, stuff like that. And then that bank shot at the end – I don’t know where he pulled that out of. Tim Duncan must have taught him that one. That was a great shot by him. I look at him basically as a senior and I am blessed to play with him another year. He is a great teammate.
CF: You’re a freshman – you’ve probably dreamed of moments like this. How did it feel walking off of the court?
GN: I can’t tell you. It’s just a great feeling. You dream about stuff like this. I remember coming home from school early, don’t tell my mom I’m telling you this, and watching these tournaments. You know what I mean? Sherron Collins in the Big 12 Tournament. Craig Brackins. All of these guys. When you actually get to play in it, it’s a real feeling. It was a great atmosphere and I can’t wait to get back up there tomorrow.