But the Cyclones were home inside Hilton Coliseum. And that -- eventually -- made for more of the usual -- an 87-76 win over the Oklahoma State Cowboys before a rowdy sellout crowd. Iowa State, as good as anyone in the Big 12 at home, gave its fans a parting gift in the final game at Hilton this season, clinching a winning record in the conference at 10-7, moving to 20-10 overall and adding a statement win to a hopeful NCAA Tournament resume. Having lost two straight -- their only home loss to Kansas and at Oklahoma -- the Cyclones were drifting toward the postseason bubble, prompting a players-only meeting and two days of practice that coach Fred Hoiberg termed "great." "We've come too far and worked too hard to let the season we built up wither away," said Iowa State's Melvin Ejim, who finished with 13 points and a game-high 12 rebounds. Statement delivered. "Give them credit, they played really well together," said Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford. "It's a good win for their team. I think that probably got them in the tournament, if they weren't already." The Cyclones improved to 8-1 in conference home games and 16-1 at home for the season. The No. 13-ranked Cowboys had their five-game road winning streak snapped, falling to 12-5 and 22-7. "I just thought we were a step slow tonight," Ford said. "You knew Iowa State was going to come out and play like a caged lion. They had a lot on the line. I didn't think we responded to that very well. "But you've got to give Iowa State the credit. I thought they played really hard. They played more aggressive than they normally play. They had a lot of things clicking." Iowa State, which led by 15 points at one point, never trailed after the 16:00 mark of the first half. Still, the Cyclones had to fend off Oklahoma State, which pulled within three twice late, and had the lead down to two, 70-68, with 4:29 to play. But on a Senior Night that featured six players in their final home game, it was the veterans who answered the call. Senior Will Clyburn drilled a 3-pointer on the other end, sparking an 8-0 run that included a driving layup from Korie Lucious and a 3 from Tyrus McGee, two more seniors. "All our seniors, I thought, had huge impacts on this game tonight," Hoiberg said. "All they've been doing for this program for two years has been special, getting this program back on the map. And really giving us a boost. I couldn't be more proud of our guys for the way they went out in their last game at Hilton." Clyburn had 20 points to lead the Cyclones, who had five players finish in double figures scoring. Marcus Smart scored a game-high 24 points for the Cowboys, with 16 coming in the second half to spur Oklahoma State's rally. "It did feel like we were down a lot more than what we were," Smart said. "And it felt like we were down forever. "But this team has unbelievable heart. We fought. We knew we had a chance to win, just because of how we play defensively." The Cyclones, the nation's leader in made 3-pointers, finished 7 of 22 from the arc, with the late makes boosting their effort. Iowa State led by as many as 15 points in the first half and carried a 39-29 advantage into halftime. Known for offense, the Cyclones did it with defense through the first 20 minutes, forcing Oklahoma State into difficult possessions and shots. The Cowboys shot just 32.3 percent from the floor and missed all nine of their 3-point tries on the way to a 10-of-31 performance. The Cyclones went on a 30-7 run to take their biggest lead, 30-15, at the 7:22 mark. During that stretch, they scored on 13 of 18 possessions. Iowa State closes the regular season at West Virginia Saturday, while the Cowboys return home to face No. 9 Kansas State. NOTES: It was Senior Day at Hilton Coliseum, where Iowa State saluted six seniors: Chris Babb, Anthony Booker, Clyburn, Lucious, Austin McBeth and McGee. All six started their careers at different schools and only McBeth played more than two seasons with the Cyclones. ISU entered the game having won 10 of its last 14 Senior Day games. ... Cowboys freshman Smart has been named a finalist for the Oscar Robertson Award, one of the national player of the year awards, and the Tisdale Award recognizing the nation's top freshman. ... Iowa State is one of just three teams nationally with five players (Niang, Ejim, Clyburn, Lucious and McGee) averaging double figures scoring, along with Missouri and North Carolina State.
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