Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Iowa State forward Georges Niang (31) shoots as Kansas State’s D.J. Johnson (50) defends during the first half in the second round of the Big 12 Conference college basketball tournament at Sprint Center.

 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Four observations from Iowa State’s 91-85 victory over Kansas State in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 tournament:

Played at Cyclonic pace
All season long, K-State had been a team that matched rugged defense with methodical offense. After holding opponents to a Big 12-low 65 points per game and ranking third in defensive field-goal percentage at 40.8, the Wildcats gave up a season-high 91 points and saw Iowa State shoot 50 percent. That was only the sixth time a K-State opponent made half its shots, and the Wildcats fell to 1-5 in those games.

More atypically, K-State stood a chance to win because it shot its second-best percentage of the year at 54.6—just a tick behind the 54.9 percent day it enjoyed at home against West Virginia.

“If you would have told me they would score 85, I would have told you we’re going to have trouble winning a game because they’re so good and sound defensively,” said Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg.

Bruce Weber was surprised K-State didn’t get more stops: “You shoot 54 percent (overall), 47 from 3, and 73 from the line and don’t win. You know, it’s pretty disappointing.”

Hogue heats up
Big 12 player of the year Melvin Ejim had his 10th double-double (24 points and 10 rebounds), but that’s production Iowa State expects. Not so the 19-point outburst from Dustin Hogue, including 14 second-half points during a 7-minute stretch in which DeAndre Kane and Georges NIang picked up their fourth fouls.

“Normally in a game, we have the playmakers, so I just played my role most of the time, trying to rebound and defend,” Hogue said. “But with a couple of our key guys out, I decided to try to be more aggressive because we didn’t have the playmakers usually in the game and I started hitting some shots.”

Southwell slips up
Shane Southwell, who had averaged fewer than five points during his last nine games, busted out of his drought by scoring 19 (to go along with seven rebounds and two blocks).

He botched a crucial transition opportunity, however, with K-State trailing 87-85 in the final 30 seconds. Leading a break Southwell lost the ball while trying to kick out a pass to wide-open freshman Nigel Johnson, who was in the midst of a season-high 17-point game.

“I had total tunnel vision,” Southwell admitted. “I’m thinking down two, get to the basket, get a layup or get fouled.  I only saw Niang and a couple people trailing back for Iowa State. In my mind I’m thinking get to the basket.  He don’t really want to foul, he has four fouls.

“So then at the last minute, I heard Nigel yell my name, and I looked and tried to pass it to him, (but) when I brought it around and I lost the ball. … If I would have just been a little bit more patient, it probably would have worked out.  Nigel would have had an open shot, and the way he was going, I have a lot of confidence in him and I think he would have made that shot.”

On point
Cyclones freshman point guard Monte Morris continued building upon his almost unfathomable assist-to-turnover ratio, handing out 10 assists against only one miscue. His play was especially crucial given DeAndre Kane’s second-half foul trouble.

“I thought he was great,” Hoiberg said. “It’s hard when you have an 8‑to‑1 assist‑to‑turnover ratio to increase that in a game.  But to go out there and do that as a freshman in his first Big 12 tournament tells you all you need to know about that kid. He loves the big stage. He won back to back state championships in Michigan. He came out and played as poised a game as I think you can have as a freshman.”

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