Are things back on track? It sure looks like it.
For the first time since Wilt Chamberlain was storming through the Big 6 in 1957, Iowa State knocked off the #1 team in the country. The Cyclones held off another red-hot shooting night from Buddy Hield to take down the top-ranked Sooners, 82-77.
Iowa State was led by the trio of Georges Niang, Monte Morris and Abdel Nader, who all scored 20 points or more. It was a total team...or at least starting 5 effort though, as Jameel McKay (13 rebounds and 4 blocks) and Matt Thomas also came up huge in the monumental win. Deonte Burton and Jordan Ashton appeared off the bench, but each failed to score.
Hield was borderline unguardable at times, but Thomas may have turned in the most complete defensive effort against the Wooden Award candidate to date. Hield finished with 27 points and knocked down 7-14 from deep, but Thomas made him work for every single point throughout the evening.
Isaiah Cousins was equally brilliant for Oklahoma, scoring 26 points for Lon Kruger's team. Unfortunately, the Sooners struggled to get much more production out of their starting five as Jordan Woodard, Ryan Spangler and Khadeem Lattin combined to score 7 points on 3-16 shooting. The inside duo of Spangler and Lattin was especially ineffective as Lattin attempted only one shot and Spangler was a woeful 1-7 from the field.
The Cyclones led 41-35 at the break, led by a strong effort from Nader, who paced Iowa State early as Niang failed to score until under the 10-minute mark in the opening stanza. Down the stretch, it was Morris, who shifted, shimmied and slipped through the Sooner defense to seal the Cyclone win, including what was effectively the game-winner, hitting a jumper off the right elbow with 20 seconds left to break a 75-75 tie. From there, the Cyclones managed a stop and Morris knocked down another pair of free throws to put the lead at 79-75.
After a Sooner score, Steve Prohm dialed up a genius inbounds play, having Niang take the ball out, but then Matt Thomas ran to the baseline to take the legal out-of-bounds pass, except, Cousins chased Thomas out of bounds, which resulted in a 1-shot technical. Thomas knocked down the free shot and then Nader was fouled on the inbounds pass and he hit both free throws to set the final margin.
Oklahoma shot 17-32 from deep, but Iowa State outshot the Sooners from the floor knocking down 46.9% of their looks to only 42.4% from Oklahoma. Both teams did a remarkable job taking care of the ball as each squad turned it over 9 times. The Cylones dominated the glass as they were +11 on the evening and grabbed 13 offensive rebounds.
With the win, Iowa State moved to 3-3 in Big 12 play and will travel to Fort Worth on Saturday to take on TCU before returning home to host Kansas next Monday evening.