KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg wanted to see an up-and-down game against plodding Kansas State, one where the scoreboard would spin like a slot machine as points piled up.
He certainly didn't want to see the Wildcats with 85 points by the end of it.
"They do such a good job of slowing you down," Hoiberg said. "If you would have told me they were going to score 85, I would have told you that we were going to have trouble winning the game."
He was right in one respect: The Cyclones did have trouble. But behind another big game from Melvin Ejim, the Big 12's player of the year, and plenty of help from his supporting cast, the No. 16 Cyclones held on for a 91-85 victory in the Big 12 tournament quarterfinals.
"They match up really well with us," said Ejim, who had 24 points and 10 rebounds. "That's why it's always so close. They're a great team and they always play good defense."
Well, except when they're facing the Cyclones, who advanced to Friday night's Big 12 semifinal against the winner of Kansas-Oklahoma State.
No. 4 seed Iowa State (24-7) was clinging to an 87-85 lead with just over a minute left when Ejim missed a layup and the No. 5 seed Wildcats (20-12) got the rebound. They raced the other way, but Shane Southwell lost control of the ball going toward the rim and Iowa State came away with it.
Long was fouled and made both free throws with 16.2 seconds left. Marcus Foster missed a 3 at the other end, and Long scored a layup in transition to put an exclamation mark on the win.
Dustin Hogue finished with 19 points and 10 rebounds, Georges Niang added 18 points and Naz Long had 14 points for the Cyclones. DeAndre Kane scored 11 before fouling out.
Foster scored 21 points to lead the Wildcats, who had been holding opponents to 64.9 points, best in the Big 12. Southwell added 19 points, freshman Nigel Johnson had a career-best 17 and big man Thomas Gipson finished with 13 points.
"I guess it was an entertaining game," Wildcats coach Bruce Weber said. "You shoot 54 percent and scored 85 points and you still don't win, it's disappointing."
Iowa State shot poorly in the first half but dominated on the boards, while the Wildcats couldn't seem to miss, yet coughed the ball up nine times.
Continue reading this story on the...