Baylor vs Iowa State

No. 16 Iowa State beats Baylor to win Big 12 tourney title


KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- In the days after DeAndre Kane decided to transfer to Iowa State, the former Marshall guard sent a simple, five-word text message to new teammate Georges Niang.

It said: "I just want to win."

Kane did everything in his power to deliver on Saturday night, scoring 17 points to jumpstart a struggling offense. Niang had 13 points, and together they helped the No. 16 Cyclones rally for a 74-65 victory over Baylor and their first Big 12 tournament title since 2000.

"We play with each other. We fight with each other. We're brothers on the court," said Kane, who was dismissed from Marshall for unspecified reasons, but has made the most of his second chance with the Cyclones.

"Even when we get down," the tournament's most valuable player said, "we trust one another. We keep fighting and we find a way."

The Cyclones were buoyed by a group of supporters dressed in red, eager to see whether coach Fred Hoiberg -- who has already restored Hilton Magic -- could start bringing home trophies, too.

When the final buzzer sounded inside Sprint Center, Hoiberg rounded the court with his finger raised -- No. 1, as in the top of the Big 12, for only the second time in school history.

"The fist pump was such an emotional feeling for me," said Hoiberg, who dedicated the win to his beloved mentor, Johnny Orr, the former Cyclones coach who died in December.

"This one is for him," Hoiberg said. "The fist pump was in honor of Coach, and also to thank the fans as well. I just wanted them to know how much we appreciated what they brought."

Naz Long and Dustin Hogue had 12 points apiece, and Big 12 player of the year Melvin Ejim finished with 10 points and nine rebounds for the fourth-seeded Cyclones (26-7), who knocked off top-seeded Kansas in the semifinals before ending the Bears' tremendous tournament run.

Kenny Chery had 16 points for the seventh-seeded Bears (24-11), who have never won a postseason conference tournament final. They've lost all three tries since the formation of the Big 12.

Brady Heslip finished with 14 points, and Isaiah Austin and Royce O'Neale each had 10 for the Bears, who were trying to become the first champion to win four games in four days.

Instead, they ran out of steam when they needed it the most.

"We weren't tired," Heslip insisted. "They just made some really tough plays."

Still, the Bears have won nine of their last 11 games, moving from a precarious position on the NCAA Tournament bubble to firmly into the field to be announced on Sunday night.

"We don't have time to look back on this game at all," Baylor coach Scott Drew said. "We need to focus, get better and get ready for the NCAA Tournament. The worst thing we could do is dwell on this game and let that affect us in the NCAA Tournament."

For most of Saturday night's game, it appeared as if they'd be an automatic qualifier.

The rim seemed like a hula-hoop to the Cyclones in a semifinal victory over No. 10 Kansas, when they shot 54 percent from the field. But it turned into a thimble in the first half against Baylor, the Cyclones missing their first 13 shots against the Bears' 2-3 zone defense.

Baylor was especially effective against the Cyclones' big three of Ejim, Niang and Kane, who had carried them to the finals. They combined to miss their first 10 shots.

"It wasn't looking real promising there," Hoiberg said.

Still, the Cyclones never allowed their deficit to grow to more than 10 points, and two big baskets by Niang in the closing minutes drew Iowa State within 32-27 at the break.

Baylor, which had led for all but 97 seconds in its first three games, maintained control throughout much of the second half, but Iowa State finally pulled ahead when Ejim answered a chant of "Let's Go Cyclones" from the sea of red with a 3 that gave them a 53-50 lead with 5:45 to go.

The game turned into a tug-of-war down the stretch, the Cyclones taking the lead, the Bears grabbing it right back. Iowa State eventually persevered, once again relying on its stars.

Ejim drained a 3-pointer to give the Cyclones a 62-58 lead with 2:45 to go, and after Heslip made two free throws for Baylor, Hogue converted a nifty reverse layup to restore the lead.

Niang's two free throws with just over 2 minutes left gave Iowa State a 66-60 lead, and then he sealed the game with his driving layup with 36 seconds left, starting a party among Iowa State fans that had been more than a decade in the making.

"We didn't lose our composure," Hoiberg said. "Just a gutty, gutty performance by our guys."

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
DeAndre Kane scores a game-high 17 points as Iowa State wins its first Big 12 title since 2000. (USATSI)
DeAndre Kane scores a game-high 17 points as Iowa State wins its first Big 12 title since 2000. (USATSI)
Baylor (24-11)323365
Iowa State #16 (26-7) «274774
BAYLOR:K. Chery 16 Pts
BAYLOR:C. Jefferson 9 Reb
BAYLOR:K. Chery 5 Ast
IOWAST:D. Kane 17 Pts
IOWAST:M. Ejim 9 Reb
IOWAST:D. Kane 7 Ast

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BaylorIowa State
Kenny Chery
DeAndre Kane
Baylor Bears
I. Austin, C374-152-472310
K. Chery, G365-125-505216
C. Jefferson, F332-91-29325
R. O'Neale, F314-70-060410
B. Heslip, G304-62-201214
T. Prince, F153-41-32017
G. Franklin, G141-20-02113
R. Gathers, F40-20-00030
I. Wainright, G-F10-00-00000
L. Lowery, FDid Not Play
C. Rykhoek, F-CDid Not Play
A. Freeman, GDid Not Play
J. Motley, FDid Not Play
J. Heard, FDid Not Play
Totals 23-5711-1626121865
Iowa State Cyclones
D. Kane, G384-88-877217
G. Niang, F375-153-590313
M. Ejim, F333-82-493310
D. Hogue, F264-74-571112
M. Morris, G192-20-02215
N. Long, G314-60-030312
M. Thomas, G132-20-01114
D. Edozie, F30-01-20001
B. Palo, GDid Not Play
P. Gibson, CDid Not Play
A. Nader, FDid Not Play
S. Dorsey-Walker, GDid Not Play
T. Ellerman, FDid Not Play
K. Bluford, GDid Not Play
K. Jackson, GDid Not Play
Totals 24-4818-2438141474
Big 12
TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
Kansas St.0-03-0205
Oklahoma St.0-03-0175
Texas Tech0-02-0128
Iowa St.0-02-2291
W. Virginia0-01-1287
Other games
PITT 48 Final
UVA 51
TENN 49 Final
FLA 56
OHST 69 Final
NCST 67 Final
GW 55 Final
VCU 74
MIST 83 Final
UCONN 61 Final
LOU 71
UCLA 75 Final
NMEX 64 Final
PROV 65 Final