Cyclones fall 0.1 short of buzzer beater in loss to No. 18 Baylor

Feb 3, 2024; Waco, Texas, USA; Iowa State Cyclones forward Milan Momcilovic (22) does not get the final shot off in time as the Baylor Bears defeat the Iowa State Cyclones 70-68 at Paul and Alejandra Foster Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Chris Jones-USA TODAY Sports

Milan Momcilovic canned a deep 3-pointer as time expired in Iowa State’s 70-68 loss to Baylor Saturday at Foster Pavilion in Waco, Texas.

However, Momcilovic didn’t get the shot attempt off in time, and the made basket would not count. The freshman said after the game that he thought he had a little more time on the clock.

Iowa State had grabbed a rebound off of a missed free throw from Baylor. Officials blew the play dead to review a clock malfunction, and ended up taking 0.8 seconds away, leaving 1.2 left.

“It feels pretty good to have my number called there at the end,” Momcilovic said on the Cyclone Radio Network postgame show. “I didn’t know there was 1.2 seconds on the clock. I thought — well I knew it wasn’t two, but I thought there was 1.5 or something. If I knew that I would have got it up (quicker).”

Even if Momcilovic had hoisted up the shot a slipt second sooner, there’s no guarantee that it would have found the bottom of the net. After all, it banked off of the backboard to go in in the first place.

“I’m proud of our guys’ competitive effort,” ISU head coach T.J. Otzelberger said after his team fell to 16-5 overall and 5-3 in Big 12 play. “It’s a tough environment to play in on the road, and our guys kept fighting, (we) just came up one play short.”

Baylor (16-5, 5-3) got out to a 15-point lead in the closing seconds of the first half, but as he did throughout the game, Keshon Gilbert stepped up with a 3-pointer to help Iowa State trim a deficit.

Gilbert finished the game with 24 points, making five of his six 3-point attempts during the game.

“I thought (Gilbert) making the three right before the half gave us a little bit of a boost coming out (of the break),” Otzelberger said. “We did an unbelievable job fighting back, competitively. (There was some) execution on a few things (down the stretch) that we could have done a little bit better.”

Coming out of that break, the Cyclones found themselves down by 12 before the chaos would start to pile up.

Iowa State had kept the deficit rather steady for the first part of the second half, but officials assessed Baylor head coach Scott Drew with a technical (his second of the game), so he was ejected with 11 minutes and 20 seconds to play.

Curtis Jones drained three free throws to cut the Baylor lead to six, before the Baylor bench was assessed with a second-straight technical, sending the sharp shooter back to the line.

Jones hit a pair of free throws, and Momcilovic connected on a jumper on the ensuing possession.

Just like that, the momentum had done a complete 180, kickstarting what ended as a 20-0 run and a 7-point lead for the Cyclones.

Baylor would battle back and retake the lead behind the team’s 3-point shooting prowess. The Bears finished the game with a 12-for-23 (52.2 percent) mark from long range.

Between Iowa State’s weakness in defending the 3-point line and lack of success at the free throw line (19 of 32 for 59.4 percent), the Cyclones couldn’t quite close this one out.

The Cyclones will stay in Texas throughout the weekend before returning to the court to face Texas on Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. on the Longhorn Network.