No upset for North Carolina Central in 93-75 loss

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 22, 2014 at 12:36 am •  Published: March 22, 2014

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Too fast. Too strong. Too balanced.

Iowa State was simply too much for North Carolina Central's dreams of pulling off yet another big upset.

Georges Niang scored 24 points to lead third-seeded Iowa State as the Cyclones pulled away from the No. 14 Eagles in the second half for a 93-75 win Friday night in the East Region.

The Big 12 tournament champions found themselves in an early struggle with a program making its first NCAA tournament appearance in just its third year as a full-time Division I program. But the Cyclones' quickness and balance eventually took over.

Iowa State (27-7) had five players score in double figures. Niang's two 3-pointers early in the second half keyed Iowa State's run that put the game away before he left with a broken bone in his right foot. Niang will miss the rest of the tournament.

Jeremy Ingram scored 28 for North Carolina Central (28-6), which came in on a 20-game win streak and won the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference this season.

Eagles players said they were proud of a breakout season that ended far from home.

"Of course it's a little tough to end our season here," Eagles guard Emmanuel Chapman said. "But regardless, we're going to always stay together."

Matched up against a tournament newcomer, Iowa State players said they wouldn't look past the Eagles. As this year's tournament has shown, hubris breeds upsets and the Cyclones weren't taking any chances, especially after a first half in which the Eagles took an early lead and stayed within six at halftime.

The Cyclones were wary of a team that dominated its league, even a lightly-regarded one like the MEAC. The Eagles had notched an upset win over North Carolina State and nearly took down Wichita State, the nation's only undefeated team and the No. 1 seed in the Midwest Regional.

And earlier in the day, North Carolina Central saw their neighbors from Durham, perennial power Duke, get knocked off by Mercer in one of the tournament's biggest upsets so far. They dreamed of making their own spectacular tournament debut.

"Those kids walked into here expecting to win a basketball game," North Carolina Central coach LeVelle Moton said. "I'm so proud of what they accomplished (but) we didn't give our best performance on the national stage."