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Iowa State rallies for OT win

The SportsXchange

AMES, Iowa -- It was not a miracle, but it was close to one for Iowa State.

The 16th-ranked Cyclones overcame a 16-point, second-half deficit, needed nearly a half-court 3-pointer to force overtime and used five free throws in the final 30 seconds to beat Oklahoma State 85-81 on Saturday.

"It was just a great game," Iowa State forward Melvin Ejim said.

After getting blocked, Iowa State guard DeAndre Kane hit a two-footer to put ISU up 80-79 in overtime with 25.6 seconds left.

After Kane and Oklahoma State guard Markel Brown traded free throws, the Cyclones went up three thanks to two free throws from guard Matt Thomas. Kane sealed the Iowa State win with a free throw with 1.7 seconds left after Brown missed two foul shots.

"Iowa State made a lot of great plays down the stretch and went on a run in the second half," Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford said. "It was probably the difference in the game.

ISU almost never made it to overtime.

After Oklahoma State guard Phil Forte, an 89 percent foul shooter, missed the back end of two free throws, Iowa State guard Naz Long hit nearly a half-court shot to tie the game 71-71 at the end of regulation.

"We wanted to foul," Ford said. "We were telling guys and they didn't hear or react."

Long also hit a 3-pointer to force a third overtime in a 98-97 triple overtime win at Oklahoma State in February.

"I just put it up there and gave it a chance and it went down and it felt good," Long said about his shot to force overtime on Saturday.

The Cowboys looked poised to win the game in regulation after guard Marcus Smart hit three free throws in the final minute. But Forte was unable to convert on two foul shots with five seconds left that would have put Oklahoma State up by four.

Both teams played overtime without their leading scorers after Iowa State forward Melvin Ejim and Smart fouled out.

Kane scored 27 points and dished out eight assists. Iowa State forward Georges Niang had 22 points.

Smart led the Cowboys with 27 points. Brown added 26 points. The loss snapped a four-game winning streak for the Cowboys.

Oklahoma State built a 32-25 halftime lead by draining five first-half 3-pointers. The Iowa State offense never got going in the first 20 minutes. The Cyclones shot 36.7 percent. They were also two of 13 (15.4 percent) from the 3-point line.

The Cowboys opened the second half with a 14-4 run, with Smart scoring 12 points, to build a 45-29 lead. The Cyclones responded after a timeout with a 12-0 run. ISU was able to take the lead at 57-55 with an 8-0 run, capped off by Thomas' 3-pointer at the 7:48 mark.

"It was just sharing the ball, holding the ball, running in transition, getting stops, getting the ball off the glass and running," Kane said. "That is when we are at our best, when we are running in transition, where we don't have to take the ball out of the net."

The Cyclones got back into the game without Ejim, who picked up his fourth foul with 9:44 left. Ejim fouled out with 3:42 left. Ejim finished with 12 points and eight rebounds. He became the fourth Big 12 player to record 1,500 points and 1,000 rebounds.

"Melvin had four years in this building and DeAndre had one," Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg said. "Both had some pretty special moments in here and you want to go out with a big one and both of those guys did that in a big way today."

Cyclone Alley, the Iowa State student cheering section, organized a group flop for Smart, who has developed a reputation for flopping this season. The student section flopped to the ground when Smart was introduced pregame and again when he went to the foul line.

NOTES: Iowa State F Melvin Ejim finished second in the Big 12 in scoring with 18.2 points. West Virginia G Juwan Staten averaged 18.4 points to lead the conference. ... Oklahoma State G Marcus Smart has scored at least 20 points in all four games against Iowa State. He is averaging 23.0 points against ISU in his career. ... ISU honored Ejim on senior day by playing "O Canada" before the game. Ejim is Canadian.
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