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Big 12 Basketball Tournament Recap: Cyclones Repeat as Big 12 Tournament Champions

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The Mayor cuts down the nets at the Big 12 Tournament for the second year in a row
The Mayor cuts down the nets at the Big 12 Tournament for the second year in a row
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

For the second time in as many years, your Iowa State Cyclones are Big 12 Tournament Champions.

Iowa State overcame yet another big deficit to defeat the Kansas Jayhawks 70-66 in what capped a marvelous stretch of five games that saw the Cyclones come from behind in the second half to win five times.

In the first half, ISU once again found themselves in a shooting slump. As a team, they only shot 1-11 from the 3-point line and 10-29 overall.

Georges Niang and Abdel Nader were the only Cyclones who could score in a somewhat consistent basis for the first period. Niang led the team with 10 points and Nader chipped in seven points off the bench to keep ISU from falling too far behind.

For awhile, Kansas was having their own problems on offense, but the Jayhawks picked it up after the second media timeout, outscoring Iowa State 30-14 from that point until halftime. The score was 37-23 at the half, and Bill Self couldn't help but grin through the pre-halftime interview with reporter Holly Rowe.

Luckily for Cyclone fans watching in the Sprint Center and around the world, that grin quickly changed to a scowl in the second half, when ISU came out with a mission.

Iowa State cut the deficit to 42-36 as soon as the first media timeout behind a run sparked by Jameel McKay and Niang. The run brought the ISU faithful in the stands back to their feet, and also prompted announcers Brent Musburger and Fran Fraschilla to salivate over the team's ability to fight back, no matter the deficit.

Not much later, the Cyclones tied the game at 51-51 on a Bryce Dejean-Jones breakaway dunk. The often-criticized senior showed his worth tonight, and helped contribute when ISU needed him the most.

Another Dejean-Jones bucket finally put the Cyclones back into the lead at the 7:05 mark in the second half. Nader added an acrobatic spinning layup and Iowa State led by four, 55-51.

At the last media timeout, Fred Hoiberg's squad held a 61-56 lead. Kansas cut it to one point after free throws from Devonte Graham and Wayne Selden, but Monte Morris added two free throws of his own to stretch the lead back to three points.

With 1:29 remaining, things started to get a little iffy for Iowa State. Niang picked up his fourth foul on a Wayne Selden made bucket, and the Kansas swingman made the ensuing free throw to tie the game at 63-63.

On the next possession for Iowa State, Niang missed a 3-pointer, but Nader grabbed the rebound and was fouled by Perry Ellis. Nader made both free throws to give ISU the lead.

Kansas came down the floor looking to answer, but Niang stole the ball from Graham and threw the outlet pass to Morris, who was fouled by Frank Mason III.

The junior point guard made one of two free throws to increase the Cyclone lead to three points. Mason then missed a layup on KU's next possession. Dustin Hogue grabbed the rebound and was sent to the free throw line. Despite being one of the worst free throw shooters on the ISU roster, Hogue swished both free throws in the clutch to all but seal it for Iowa State, as they led 68-63 with nine seconds left in the game.

Of course, Brannen Greene drilled a 3-pointer for KU on the other end of the floor to cut the game to 68-66 with 4.1 seconds left, but Naz Long iced it with two made free throws to ensure Iowa State took home this year's tournament hardware.

The Kansas lead was 17 points at its largest, but Iowa State once again proved that no lead is too big for them to overcome.

Here's a stat for you to take to the water cooler on Monday... Iowa State: 15-6 against Big 12 teams this year. Kansas: 15-6 against Big 12 teams this year. Iowa State: 2-1 against the Jayhawks in 2015. Everyone knows who the real champions are.

Other key figures from the game: Selden lead all scorers with 25 points, which included a perfect 8-8 mark from the free throw line. The Iowa State leading scorer was its best player: Georges Niang. The versatile junior scored 19 points while hauling in five rebounds and dishing out two assists.

Niang also happened to grab Big 12 Tournament MVP honors.

For other stats, be sure to take a look at the game's box score.

Next up for the Cyclones is the NCAA Tournament. It will be interesting to see if the Cyclones will be a 2-seed or 3-seed when the field is announced tomorrow. You can tune in to CBS at 5 p.m. CST to see where Iowa State ends up.

That's it from this sports writer. Enjoy the win, Iowa State fans! Go Cyclones!