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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — For the first time since 2000, Iowa State is the Big 12 Tournament Champions. The Cyclones rallied past Baylor 74-65 in front of a Cyclone dominated crowd in Kansas City. The game was controlled throughout by Baylor, using their size and zone to make life difficult for the Cyclones. Iowa State would not be denied.
A Melvin Ejim three pointer with five minutes remaining gave Iowa State their first lead of the game at 53-50. The teams exchanged baskets over the next two minutes when Baylor’s Brady Heslip buried a contested three to put the Bears on top 58-56. Enter Naz Long.
The sophomore guard rose up and drilled a three pointer from 24 feet to regain the lead. The Sprint Center erupted. Iowa State forced a Baylor turnover and the Big 12 Player of the Year sent the Bears home packing for good. Ejim received an open look on top of the arc and calmly pummeled the bottom of the net. It was a coronation from there. The Cyclones closed the game on an 18-7 run as the Cyclone fans grew steadily louder with chants of I-S-U reverberating within the arena.
It was a strong offensive finish for a Cyclone team that struggled mightily in the first 25 minutes. Iowa State was held scoreless in the first four minutes of the outing and Baylor opened with an 11-1 lead. Iowa State missed their first thirteen shots from the floor. But the gritty Cyclones closed like they did all tournament. They finished the game making 24 of their final 35 shots, finally solving the Baylor zone defense.
Iowa State had five players in double figures, led by DeAndre Kane’s 17 points and Georges Niang’s 13.
Kane was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player and was joined on the All-Tournament team by fellow Cyclones Niang and Ejim
The Cyclones now wait and see what follows in the NCAA Tournament. The NCAA Tournament Selection Show will be held Sunday at 5:00 on CBS.
DeAndre Kane, Iowa State, Sr., G (Most Outstanding Player)
Andrew Wiggins, Kansas, Fr., G
Isaiah Austin, Baylor, So., C
Georges Niang, Iowa State, So., F
Melvin Ejim, Iowa State, Sr., F