By: Michael Mainzer
Ames, IA – Going up against a 9th ranked Baylor (23-6, 10-6) team, the Iowa State Cyclones (19-9, 11-5) needed a full effort to win their fifth straight game. The Cyclones did just that, overcoming a rebounding deficit of 20 and winning 72-69 in a nailbiter that was exciting from start to finish. This marks the first time in 12 years that Iowa State has won five straight conference games.
Both teams got out to a hot start, especially star forward Johnathan Motley of Baylor, who finished the day with 27 points and 11 rebounds in the loss. The height of Baylor gave the Cyclones fits all night, but it was the X-Factor in Deonte Burton, who came up with both a huge block and steal in the latter part of the second half. Burton dropped in 22 points and was a valuable asset for the Clones, tearing up the middle of the Bears zone in the first half.
Monte Morris also proved consistent once again for ISU, totaling 17 points and 7 assists in the victory. He played 37 minutes and accumulated zero turnovers, further cementing his place as the nation’s leader in assist to turnover ratio. Morris also had a crucial late game tip on defense that resulted in a backcourt violation, helping the Cyclones push the lead to 6.
Iowa State is playing their best basketball at a good time, and that was evident in this game. ISU shot 57.8% from the floor, aiding them in their attempt to take down the stronger, more physical Baylor Bears team. Baylor had 20 offensive rebounds and 26 second chance points, but only finished with 3 free throws made on the day as Iowa State stayed out of the penalty throughout the contest.
With the win, Iowa State still sits at 2nd place in the Big 12, tied with West Virginia.
The Cyclones have 2 games left on their schedule before the Big 12 tournament, hosting a red hot Oklahoma State team, also winners of five straight on Tuesday before traveling to Morgantown, West Virginia on Friday in what presumably would decide who takes the 2 seed in the Big 12. You can catch the Oklahoma State vs Iowa State game live on KURE Sports with Taylor Mankle and Blake Acri on the call.