Nick Weiler-Babb came close to recording a triple-double and Iowa State hung on after seeing a 16-point, second-half lead nearly evaporate to beat Tulsa 80-78 Friday night in a Puerto Rico Tip-Off semifinal at Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Iowa State (2-2) will now play Boise State for the championship at 6:30 p.m. Sunday (ESPN2).
Weiler-Babb finished with 20 points, 14 rebounds, eight assists and two steals. Donovan Jackson led the Cyclones with 24 points, including two free throws with 18 seconds left that gave Iowa State a 78-73 lead.
After a 3-pointer by Tulsa’s DaQuan Jeffries made it 78-76, Jackson was fouled again and clinched the game for the Cyclones by sinking two more free throws.
Junior Etou scored a game-high 25 points and along with Jeffries (23 points) led the Golden Hurricane (2-2) almost all the way back from the 16-point deficit.
Etou and Jeffries sparked a 14-0 run that cut the Cyclones lead to 64-62.
But Jackson nailed a 3-pointer to put Iowa State back up 67-62. Weiler-Babb connected on a jumper to give Iowa State some breathing room at 69-63.
Tulsa jumped out to a 5-0 lead and led for more than 10 minutes of the first half.
The Cyclones went on a run of their own to take a 39-32 lead into halftime.
Jakolby Long connected on four 3-pointers in just five minutes and spearheaded a 17-5 run to close out the first half.
Long finished with 17 points.
Tulsa cut the lead to five early in the second half on Jaleel Wheeler’s jumper. The Cyclones pushed the lead back up to 16 on a pair of free throws by Weiler-Babb and Iowa State led, 64-48.
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The Golden Hurricane made only 12 of 19 free-throw attempts. The Cyclones weren’t much better at 14 of 20.