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AMES — With 80 seconds to go, Deonte Burton remembered a piece of advice Monte Morris gave him.
“Monte always tells me to catch and shoot,” Burton said. “I did exactly that.”
The Iowa State men’s basketball team clung to a one-point lead against No. 9 Baylor when Burton caught the ball at the top of the key. A clear path through the paint was there.
Instead, he opted for the in-rhythm 3-pointer. Sometimes it’s better to be lucky rather than good. Burton was both.
“The bank was open,” Burton said. “It was the heat of the moment. I got blessed.”
That shot sent Iowa State to a four-point lead, ultimately proving to be the difference against Baylor in a 72-69 win in Hilton Coliseum. The Cyclones (19-9, 11-5) moved back into a tie with West Virginia for second place in the Big 12 with two games to go.
Burton finished with 22 points on 10-for-17 shooting, adding three rebounds and three blocks, no shot coming in a bigger moment than that triple. Iowa State went on to make six straight free throws and survived a couple late 3-pointers to beat the Bears (23-6, 10-6) for the first time since the 2014 Big 12 Championship.
“It’s helpful for these seniors and also moving forward with Coach’s (Steve Prohm) legacy,” said Morris, who had 17 points, seven assists and no turnovers. “We just wanted to come out and move the tables a little bit. We always have been hit in the face by Baylor so we tried to come out and man up and change things tonight.”
Iowa State has 24 wins against ranked opponents in the last four seasons and four against the AP Top 10 under Prohm, but right now the magic number is five. The Cyclones have won five Big 12 games in a row, with a chance to claim a top-three seed in the Big 12 tournament.
For the fourth game in a row, Iowa State started freshman Solomon Young at center. The 6-foot-8 forward had 11 points and was 4-for-4 from the field while grabbing three rebounds and played the entire second half. He drew most of the defensive assignment on Baylor’s Johnathan Motley, who had 27 points and 11 rebounds.
“The first half was kind of just working it out, see what the refs were going to call and not call,” Young said. “So I think in the second half I got really familiar about how the game was going to go and just changed around.”
Baylor had a 37-17 rebounding advantage, including 20 offensive boards and 26 second-chance points, but was only 3-for-5 from the free throw line — Iowa State was 12-for-15.
After being tied 36-36 at halftime, Baylor got out to a six-point lead less than four minutes into the second half on a Motley jumper.
Al Freeman’s jumper gave the Bears a 48-46 lead, but Iowa State used a 7-0 run in less than two minutes to go up 53-48 — the Cyclones didn’t surrender the lead after that. Guard Naz Mitrou-Long had 10 points and five assists while point guard Donovan Jackson added eight points on 3-for-4 shooting — including a corner 3 to cap an ISU run.
“The energy is just different now,” Prohm said. “I think their focus, their belief. At some point you have to win to get the belief and get the buy-in and we’ve done that.”
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