INDEPENDENCE - For Independence, the prep football season opener bore little resemblance to its winless 2016 campaign.
Even in defeat, a clear message was sent that there are brighter days ahead for the Mustangs.
Independence nearly matc ... »
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AMES — Iowa State waited for the night when its four core seniors would play at a high level on the same night.
The last game they played in Hilton Coliseum turned out to be the night Monte Morris, Naz Mitrou-Long, Matt Thomas and Deonte Burton were all in sync.
No. 24 Iowa State beat Oklahoma State 86-83 on Tuesday’s senior night, pushing the Cyclones’ win streak to six. The Cyclones (20-9, 12-5) are in control of their own destiny to secure the No. 2 seed in next week’s Big 12 tournament.
“I’m just so happy,” said Iowa State coach Steve Prohm. “I was praying we’d win for these guys. They’ve had an amazing career here and I just want to go celebrate and listen to those guys talk about what this program means to them.”
Iowa State’s core seniors combined to score 74 of 86 points led by Thomas’ 25, which included seven 3-pointers. Burton added 20 points and five boards while Morris had 12 points, 11 assists and nine rebounds. Mitrou-Long added 17 points, and all four seniors played at least 35 minutes.
“We haven’t had all four of them play great on one night,” Prohm said. “Tonight we needed it and they did that. We beat a really good team.”
The Cyclones led by as many as 11 points in the second half, but the Cowboys (20-10, 9-8) rallied to make it a one-point game with 13 seconds left after OSU point guard Jawun Evans connected on three straight free throws. Evans had 29 points, six assists and four rebounds.
After Mitrou-Long made two key free throws on the ensuing possession to put Iowa State up three, Morris showcased some defensive prowess. He deflected the inbounds pass, forcing an OSU turnover that gave Iowa State the ball back with 8.8 seconds remaining.
Morris finished with three steals and became the all-time leader in ISU history in steals, passing former Cyclone and NBA point guard Jeff Hornacek.
“He’s been great defensively for us in this stretch,” Prohm said. “I’m proud of him. He’s made a statement, I think, over these last couple weeks.”
After the Oklahoma State turnover, Iowa State got the ball into Morris who rifled a quick pass to a wide-open Thomas on the right side of the lane. His bunny put the Cyclones up five with five seconds left.
Evans’ 3-point attempt on the ensuing possession was good, and ISU junior point guard Donovan Jackson made 1-of-2 free throws on the other end to push the Cyclones to their fourth-straight season sweep against the Cowboys.
After trailing 40-39 at halftime, Oklahoma State went on a 7-0 run out of the break to take a 46-40 lead, its largest, with 17:49 to play. Iowa State responded with a 21-5 run spanning 5:27, which was capped by a Thomas 3-pointer and two free throws from Mitrou-Long.
Iowa State led 74-64 before Oklahoma State made its push, going on an 8-1 spurt to make it a three-point game with less than three minutes left.
Both teams shot at a high clip from outside, with Iowa State going 15-of-31 from deep while Oklahoma State was 13-of-26. Iowa State got 14 points off 13 OSU turnovers while the Cowboys got seven points off seven ISU giveaways.
The win gave Iowa State its first six-game winning streak in conference play for the first time since 2005, and pushed it to the 20-win threshold for the sixth-straight season.
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