Iowa State had a chance to take a comfortable lead into the break, but Southwell scored a fourth-chance bucket with 14 seconds left in the half. Hoiberg called timeout to set up a play, but Kane turned the ball over and Foster hit a 3 before the buzzer.
Instead of leading by double-digits, the Cyclones had to settle for a 44-41 advantage.
They remained one step ahead of the Wildcats until the 12-minute mark, when Thomas made two free throws and Omari Lawrence made another to give Kansas state a 60-59 lead. It was the first time that Kansas State had played from ahead since there was 7:30 left in the first half.
By that point, the game resembled a boxing match.
Every time Kansas State scored, the Cyclones answered the jab. Whenever Iowa State would pull ahead, the Wildcats delivered a blow of their own. And more than once, the officiating crew had to peel bodies off the floor while calming down red-faced coaches on both benches.
The fouls started to pile up, too. Foster picked up his fourth foul with 11 minutes left, and Kane took a seat on the Iowa State bench with four fouls and 9:57 to play.
Hoiberg was the first one to tempt fate by putting Kane back in with about 6 minutes left, but he was called for an offensive foul with 3:55 remaining. Kane clearly took exception to it, staring down the official who called it while the teams huddled during the under-4 timeout.
The Cyclones still led 76-74 at that point, but slowly crept out to a lead down the stretch, and then made due without Kane during a tense final push by Kansas State. Long scored for an 85-80 lead and, after Gipson scored for the Wildcats, Niang's spinning layup made it 87-82.
Foster hit a 3 to give Kansas State a chance, but the Cyclones held on in the final minute.
"They're a really good team," Hogue said. "We were just able to make some stops and hit some shots down the stretch."