Iowa State retained its Big 12 Conference lead and its current unbeaten streak with a late rally and a thrilling three-point win Friday night over in-state rival Iowa.
The 17th-ranked Cyclones came close to dropping their first game of the 2013-14 season, trailing by five points with about a minute and a half remaining in the game. Sophomore George Niang hit a jump shot for two of his game-high 24 points with 18 seconds left in the game to give the Cyclones a one-point lead, and Iowa State held on from there for an 85-82 win in a game in which the Cyclones trailed most of the way.
Niang’s 24-point performance was a career best, exceeding the 22 points he scored in Iowa State’s previous game against Northern Iowa a week ago. Senior Melvin Ejim added 22 points in a helping cause in the victory over Iowa. Ejim hit two free throws to narrow the Iowa lead to a single point before Niang’s jumper gave the Cyclones the lead for good. Iowa Stateheld the lead for just under three minutes the entire game.
Iowa State is now 8-0 to start the season, its best start in over 70 years. You have to go back to the beginning of the 1940s since the Cyclones last won their first eight games to start the season.
The Cyclones shot just 64 percent from the free-throw line against Iowa, but they were six out of six down the stretch when it counted the most. Iowa State forward Dustin Hogue, who was the Oscar Robertson National Player of the Week as well as the Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week, contributed 12 points and a team-high 16 rebounds in the game.