Texas A&M 75, Iowa State 59
COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP)—Iowa State wasn’t in Kansas anymore. The Cyclones probably wished they were.
Antoine Wright scored 21 points, Joseph Jones added 17 and Texas A&M went on a 17-0 run in the second half to end Iowa State’s seven-game winning streak 75-59 on Tuesday night.
“They came in here thinking about the streak,” Wright said. “We could care less about a streak. We’re going to come out and play hard and play the way we can. This is what happens.”
Wright started the decisive spurt with a layup and Jones ended it with a putback, turning a close game into an improbable rout for the resurgent Aggies (17-7, 6-7 Big 12).
Led by first-year coach Billy Gillispie, Texas A&M has tied San Diego for the nation’s biggest turnaround with a 10-game improvement from last season.
The Aggies probably have a slim chance at an NCAA tournament bid, especially considering a weak nonconference schedule that included teams like Division III Trinity and Texas-Permian Basin of the NAIA. But postseason talk is definitely something new at a school that hasn’t been to the NCAA tournament since 1987.
“Coach Gillispie has done a great job with his program,” Iowa State coach Wayne Morgan said. “He’s raised the attention for basketball down here.”
Coming off an impressive overtime win at then-No. 2 Kansas on Saturday, Iowa State’s remarkable turnaround following a 0-5 start in the Big 12 came to an ugly end in College Station.
The Cyclones (15-9, 7-6) went more than 13 minutes without a basket during one stretch in the second half and finished the game shooting 28 percent— easily their worst performance of the season.
“I thought we guarded for 40 minutes as good as we could guard,” Gillispie said. “They missed some shots too.”
Curtis Stinson led Iowa State with 15 points, while Will Blalock and Jared Homan each scored 14.
The Aggies had little trouble solving Iowa State’s “attack” zone, opening a huge lead even though starting point guard Acie Law missed much of the second half with foul trouble. Texas A&M shot 50 percent against the Big 12’s top defense, including 7-of-16 from 3-point range, and committed only 13 turnovers.
Stinson scored on a layup with 15:29 left in the second half, pulling Iowa State within 34-33. Little else went right for the Cyclones from that point.
Wright followed with a layup of his own, Law scored on the next possession, Jones hit two free throws and Dominique Kirk hit a 3 to give A&M a 10-point lead.
Wright punctuated the run by leaping high over two defenders to rebound his own miss and called a timeout as he tumbled to the court. He finished off the possession with a thunderous one-handed dunk that gave A&M a 49-33 lead.
“I was just trying to step up and make shots,” said Wright, who had a career-high 32 points against Colorado on Saturday. “I’ve felt pretty comfortable.”
His defense was also key against Stinson, Iowa State’s floor leader and top scorer.
Stinson, who scored 29 points in the win over the Jayhawks, had a rough night against the 6-foot-7 Wright. He finished with 15 points on 6-of-16 shooting, was called for a technical in the second half and fouled out with more than 5 minutes remaining in the game.
Homan, a senior, was also completely frustrated by the Aggies’ freshman big man, 6-9, 245-pound Jones.
After Jones completed a three-point play early in the second half, Homan turned around and jawed at the freshman before teammates stepped in to push him away.
“Joe knew he had a big battle coming in and did well,” Gillispie said. “Not too many freshmen can adjust like he can. His teammates continue to get more confidence in him all the time.”