The 13th ranked Cyclones, despite leading most of the time, pissed away a game they should have won against the Baylor Bears in Ames for the second straight year.
Iowa State opened up a double digit lead in the first half on the shoulders of a 22 point performance by Georges Niang, and even led 52-40 with 15 minutes left in the second half. But Baylor rode a pair of 10-0 runs and neutralized Niang with a triangle-and-two defense en route to a 60 point second half, securing their second victory ever in a subdued Hilton Coliseum.
Abdel Nader continued his season-long Jekyll-and-Hyde act, turning in 20 points and 7 rebounds, but also getting called for a pair of arm-bar charges on the offensive side of the floor that allowed Baylor to stay in the game just long enough to mount an eventual comeback. Every error of his was seemingly followed up with a great play, which would then be followed up by yet another error.
The Bears kept making runs and hanging close throughout the game, but the turning point came with 3:43 left in the second half, as over the course of thirty seconds Lester Medford drilled a three, corralled a rebound from a Monte Morris 3-ball attempt, and then drove the lane to score a layup-and-one as Matt Thomas was whistled for a foul. Suddenly, Baylor had a seven point lead that they would never relinquish.
Possibly the most telling stat in this game was the bench scoring; Iowa State lost that particular battle 40 - 5. There is an insane amount of (sometimes flawed) talent on this team, but for the third game in a row the lack of depth has been exposed as this team's ultimate weakness. Dreams of conference championships and final fours now give way to night terrors of the 4-5 game in Kansas City and first round upsets. To quote the great David Byrne, "Same as it ever was."
Iowa State will return to action on Tuesday for a rough road test against Texas. Game will be broadcast at 7:00 Central on ESPN2.