Ticket punched: Iowa State beats Kansas to repeat as Big 12 champion
Wayne Selden Jr. did all he could for Kansas with 25 points, but the Jayhawks couldn’t stop Iowa State forward Georges Niang and his teammates on Saturday in the Big 12 Confernece tournament chamnpionship game.
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Niang scored 18 points and led the Cyclones back from a 14-point halftime deficit to win 70-66 and repeat as Big 12 tournament champions. It remains to be seen if the loss will knock the Jayhawks out of a No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament. They will have to wait 24 hours to find out.
Kansas extended its lead to 17 points in the opening seconds of the second half, but the Cyclones went on a 13-2 run before the first media timeout to get back in the game.
The Cyclones finally caught the Jayhawks at the 8-minute mark with a Bryce Dejean Jones dunk.Guard Monte Morris scored all 11 of his points in the second half for Iowa State. It was the third time the Cyclones ahd Jayhawks played this season with the Cyclones holding the edge in victories 2-1.
Iowa State figures to be a No. 3 seed as they return to the NCAA tournament for the fourth consecutive year. The Cyclones lost in the Sweet 16 round last year to eventual national champ UConn. Iowa State has been as far as the Elite Eight only once, in 2000. This season’s team might have the stuff to match that magical 2000 team or even go deeper.
Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg dedicated the victory to ailing ISU athletic director Jamie Pollard who is hospitalized after undergoing triple bypass open heart surgery following a heart attack. Pollard sent a message to Iowa State fans prior to the game.
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[Kyle Ringo is the assistant editor of The Dagger on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter! Follow @KyleRingo