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Basketball

ROAD RECAP: ISU fades at Texas Tech

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A half-filled (at most) arena. A crazy 32-foot bank shot to beat a shot clock buzzer. Bad omens for ISU?

 Definitely. Again. Somehow.

 Texas Tech erased an eight-point second-half deficit and clipped the No. 14 Cyclones 85-82 Wednesday in overtime at a mostly vacant United Supermarkets Arena in Lubbock. ISU has now dropped three of its last four games — including two of three in conference.

 "We had chances to win the game," Cyclones coach Steve Prohm said on the Cyclone Radio Network. "And we just didn’t do it."

ISU (17-7, 6-5) dropped their second straight at Lubbock to the Big 12 bottom-feeding Red Raiders (14-9, 4-7), who nearly doubled their average made 3s per game by shooting 10 of 25 from long range.

 "We had to match their toughness and tonight we didn’t match their toughness," said forward Deonte Burton, who scored 15 of his 18 points in the second half.

 The worst — or best, for the smattering of their on-site supporters — was a desperate Keenan Evans low-percentage heave from well beyond the top of the key that banked through to give them an 83-80 lead with 1:35 left.

 Evans entered the game with two made 3-pointers in Big 12 play. He hit 2 of 4 Wednesday, including that miracle shot. 

 “We lost,” said All-American GeorgesNiang, who had 18 points, nine rebounds and six assists. “There’s nothing else to it. We shouldn’t have been that close.”

 ISU’s shot before that? A missed goaltending call that could have changed the game. 

 "If it wasn’t a goal tend, it wasn’t a goal tend," Prohm said diplomatically.

 The game started promisingly enough. 

A back and forth first half swung in ISU’s favor thanks to back-to-back bench buckets from Simeon Carter (runout dunk) and Jordan Ashton (a 3-pointer). 

 The Cyclones had built a 30-22 lead at that point, but the Red Raiders resuscitated quickly, forging an 8-0 run fuled by two 3s from Devaughntah Williams to knot the score at 30-all with 4:35 left.

 ISU shot above 60 percent from the field for most of the first half, but dropped in just four of its last 10 and entered halftime deadlocked at 37-37.

 Williams led Tech with 14 first-half points. Abdel Nader (who led his yeam with 19 points) paced the Cyclones with 11 points before the break — one game removed from a scoreless day in the win at Oklahoma State. The Red Raiders nailed five 3-pointers in the first half alone. They’re one of the nation’s worst 3-point shooting teams, averaging 5.3 per game (317th nationally).

 ISU entered the second half with Niang, Burton and backup guard Ashton battling foul trouble with two apiece. Niang still crafted a balanced and productive first-half stat  line with eight points, four rebounds and four assists.

 The pace picked up early in the second half.

 The Cyclones went on a 17-8 run capped by Monté Morris’s 3-pointer to establish a 54-45 lead with 15:26 left.

 The home team would respond again. A mini 6-0 run pulled the Red Raiders within three, at 54-51, on a Justin Gray jumper with 13:14 left, but ISU regrouped and rebuilt the lead to 60-53 in a Niang basket with 13 minutes left.

 But the wild momentum swings continued. The Cyclones led 72-64 with 6:30 left after a Morris jumper, but Tech scored 14 of the final 20 points in regulation to force overtime.

 From there, the weirdness reigned. Missed calls, crazy shots … life on the road in the Big 12. 

 "We should have had that game in the bag," Niang said. 

 

R

Rob Gray

administrator

Rob, an Ames native, joined Cyclone Fanatic in August, 2014 after nearly a decade and a half of working at Iowa's two largest newspapers. He spent 10 years at the Des Moines Register and, after a brief stint in public relations, joined the Cedar Rapids Gazette as an Iowa State correspondent three years ago. Rob specializes in feature stories for CF.

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