It was another tough night in the Big 12, as Iowa State went on the road to take on Oklahoma and fell just short of pulling the upset against the No. 3 Sooners, 87-83. ISU's preseason All-American, Georges Niang, scored 29 points and added 8 rebounds, but it wasn't enough to defeat the Sooners in the opening game of the conference season for both teams.
Abdel Nader started the scoring off by nailing a jumper a minute into the game, then Niang had five straight points on a floater and a trailing 3-pointer. Ryan Spangler started the game off hot for the Sooners, scoring six straight points on two layups and a jumper to put Oklahoma up 8-7 at the first media timeout.
Matt Thomas played some good defense early on Buddy Hield, keeping the Wooden Award candidate from getting in a rhythm on the offensive end of the floor. After contesting a 3-pointer from Hield and causing him to miss, Thomas leaked out and received an outlet pass in transition near the elbow. He quickly stepped back and drained a 3-pointer from the right wing to put ISU up 16-9 with 12:50 left in the first half.
Deonte Burton made his presence felt by drilling a 3-pointer after he was inserted into the game for the first time to help ISU extend their lead to 23-12 heading into the under-12 media timeout. During the next stanza, Thomas drained his second triple of the half and Burton hit another jumper as the Cyclones kept OU at an arm's length. A Niang layup gave Iowa State an eight point lead at 32-24, then Steve Prohm called a timeout to get his team's defense set.
Out of the timeout, Oklahoma's Jordan Woodard and Monte Morris both made a couple free throws. Then, Hield made a 3-pointer from the left corner and drove past Thomas straight down the lane for a two-handed dunk. At the last TV timeout of the 1st half, the score was 37-31 in favor of ISU. The Sooners managed to cut the lead to four entering halftime.
Niang added three more field goals in the opening stretch of the 2nd half. Meanwhile, Spangler stepped out and hit two 3-pointers and the score was 54-53 with 14:01 remaining.
Once he was subbed in during the second half, Deonte Burton began to put on a show. He scored on an isolation play in which he bullied his way into the post for a layup to put ISU up 56-53, then hit a smooth 3-pointer a few possessions later. The score was 61-57 at the under-12 timeout.
Burton made another strong drive to the left side of the hoop and hung in the air to put in a layup. Then, a Matt Thomas foul on Oklahoma's Khadeem Lattin triggered the media timeout with 7:51 left in the game. ISU held a 71-68 advantage.
After the timeout, Burton continued to produce. The junior transfer hit a fadeaway jumper, then used a strong behind the back dribble in the lane to get to the bucket for another layup. Unfortunately, Oklahoma made a run of their own. Isaiah Cousins hit a 3-pointer, then hit another two possessions later to put the Sooners up two points. Spangler then made another layup to push the lead to four points, and Coach Prohm was forced to call a timeout to quiet the sold-out Lloyd Noble Center crowd.
On the ensuing Iowa State possession, Burton found a wide open Jameel McKay under the hoop for a two-handed slam to get the Cyclones back within one score. A layup from Hield once again put OU in front by four.
ISU got the ball back down 83-81, but in an extremely rare occurrence, Morris dribbled the ball off his foot and it rolled out of bounds for a turnover to give Oklahoma the ball back. Woodard would proceed to hit a jump shot on the following possession for the Sooners.
However, a Niang jumper with 46 seconds left gave Iowa State hope. The Cyclones forced a turnover after Spangler mishandled a pass and got the ball back with 21 seconds left on the clock.
Steve Prohm elected to not call a timeout and Morris found Georges Niang on the right corner with a pass. When Morris' man went to double Niang, the Iowa State forward passed back to a wide-open Morris on the right wing. He let the shot fly, but it careened off the back iron and went out of bounds off a crashing Deonte Burton. Oklahoma got the ball in play to Hield, who was then fouled and converted on both free throws to seal the game for the No. 3 Sooners, 87-83.
The loss drops Iowa State to 11-2 on the year, while Oklahoma improves to 12-0 ahead of their trip to Lawrence to take on Kansas this Monday.
Burton finished the night with 19 points off the bench. He had an efficient night shooting the ball as well, going 8-11 from the field and 3-4 from 3-point range. McKay fell just short of a double-double, registering 10 points and 9 rebounds.
Hield led the Sooners with 22 points on 8-23 shooting. Spangler played a great game, tallying 20 points and grabbing 12 boards.
Iowa State's next game is against Texas Tech in Hilton Coliseum. The game will tip at 8 p.m. on Wednesday and will be broadcast on ESPNU.
You can see the full box score of tonight's game here.