AMES, Iowa -- Will Clyburn
picked an opportune time to step up.
With his Iowa State squad continuing its offensive struggles in the first half against Kansas State on Saturday, the senior wing scored 17 of his game-high 24 points after halftime to lead the Cyclones to a 73-67 win against the No. 11 Wildcats at Hilton Coliseum.
Clyburn was influential in the game's deciding stretch. With Iowa State trailing 56-55, Cyclone guard Chris Babb started a 10-2 run with a go-ahead layup with 7:13 left, and Clyburn added four points and a steal that led to a transition bucket.
Kansas State(15-4, 4-2 Big 12) trimmed its deficit to 68-65 with about two minutes to play on a 3-pointer by Will Spradling
, but Clyburn came up big again when he grabbed an offensive rebound with 1:44 left, was fouled and hit both free throws for a 70-65 lead.
Iowa State's leading scorer at 13.9 points per game, Clyburn made 8 of 16 from the field and added 10 rebounds. Georges Niang added 15 points for the Cyclones, and point guard Korie Lucious
had 10 points and eight assists. Lucious also sealed the game with a high-banking layup for a 72-67 lead with 20 seconds left.
After three consecutive halves of low-scoring play -- which included a 56-51 loss at Texas Tech on Wednesday -- Iowa State (14-5, 4-2) rediscovered its offensive touch to start the second half. Trailing 27-26 at the break, the Cyclones retook the lead by hitting five 3-pointers in the first six minutes of the second half, which included back-to-back 3-pointers from Lucious and Clyburn and a banked-in trey from Melvin Ejim.
Kansas State just wouldn't go away, though. Angel Rodriguez's three-point play with 12:20 left drew the Wildcats within 46-45, and Spradling converted a four-point play to tie the game at 49-49 with 11:02 left before Shane Southwell's 3-pointer gave them their final lead at 56-55.
Spradling's 15 points paced Kansas State, and Rodney McGruder added 13.
Kansas State led 15-14 until Iowa State responded with a 10-0 run that began about midway through the first half and was capped by an acrobatic reverse layup from Niang, who is known more for his craftiness than athleticism.
But the Wildcats clamped down on defense, holding the Cyclones to 1-of-7 shooting in the last 6:16 of the half, and Kansas State finished on a 12-2 run to take a 27-26 lead into the break.
Both teams did themselves no favors at the free-throw line. The Cyclones were 10-of-22 on foul shots, and the Wildcats were 4-of-9.
NOTES: Iowa State reserve guard Bubu Palo made his first appearance of the season with 14:33 left in the first half. After being suspended indefinitely, he was reinstated on Jan. 14, the same day sexual assault charges against him were dismissed. He finished with one rebound and one assist in 11 minutes. ... Kansas State entered with the Big 12's second-best 3-point percentage defense (27.6) but allowed Iowa State to shoot 50 percent (11-of-22) from deep. ... McGruder played all 40 minutes for Kansas State.
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