The small lineup has been successful at times for Iowa State, and tonight was no different, as the Cyclones defeated the TCU Horned Frogs 92-83.
Abdel Nader picked up where he left off his previous game, in which he scored an Iowa State career-high 26 points against Baylor, scoring the first 7 points of the game for the Cyclones. Matt Thomas drilled back to back threes to end Nader's run, which forced Trent Johnson and the Horned Frogs to call their first time out less than three minutes into the game.
Georges Niang capped an 8-0 run for the Cyclones out of the timeout by saluting Michael Jordan for his 53rd birthday by impersonating a Jordan throw down. After Malique Trent of Texas Christian ended the Iowa State run, Nader responded with a three of his own. Heading into the first media timeout of the game, ISU held a 20-8 lead over TCU as Jordan Ashton came off the bench as the sixth man.
TCU's Chris Washburn made a nice shot with his left hand out of the timeout to make it a 10 point game, but Deonte Burton responded with a thunderous dunk. Minutes later, Hallice Cooke made his first appearance since sitting against Baylor. After a quick 4-0 run by Baylor in which they pounded down low against Iowa State and their small lineup, Steve Prohm was forced to call his first timeout of the game with 10:43 remaining in the first half with the Cyclones leading 22-14.
The timeout proved to have little benefit for the Cyclones, as the Horned Frogs continued their hot streak as Brandon Parrish nailed a three, followed up by another Trent three. The run finally ended with a Burton two, but Trent hit his fourth three of the first half seconds later to tie the game up at 24.
The game wasn't tied long, as Nader hit his third three of the night to give Iowa State a three point lead. Five free throws later and Iowa State held a 32-28 lead, but was cut in half after a Washburn layup. Niang responded with a layup of his own and drilled a three seconds later to give the Cyclones a 37-32 lead. Burton continued to show off his dunking skills, throwing one that nearly took the roof off of Hilton, in which Nader followed with his fourth three, and Iowa State held a 44-36 lead at half.
Nader was the man of the half for Iowa State, who led all Cyclones with 16 points. Niang added 12 to the total, while Burton and Thomas had 8 and 6, respectively. Morris had 2, but his 7 assists were key in allowing the Cyclones offense to have a hot half.
Cooke and Ashton were the only two bench players, both going 0-3 on shots, while Ashton had two rebounds and added an assist. Jameel McKay didn't record any playing time.
The Cyclones were fortunate to have an 8 point lead, as TCU had 11 offensive rebounds in the half compared to Iowa States 13 defensive boards. Malique Trent's offense was also key for the Horned Frogs, scoring 12 points, all from behind the arc.
TCU started where they left off, grabbing three offensive rebounds in the first minute of the second half helping them score the first four points of the half before Niang hit an open jumper in the middle of the paint. Burton followed it up with a lob pass from Morris that he laid in while getting fouled and capitalized on the old fashioned three point play. A nice side step by Burton followed by a three from Thomas and the Cyclones held a 54-42 lead by the time Trent Johnson was able to call his first timeout of the second half.
The timeout sparked Niang, who scored a quick two then made a nice touch pass to Thomas allowing him to hit another three. Since giving up the first four points of the half, Iowa State went on a 15-2 run. That run ended when Trent was fouled shooting a three. Trent made just one of the free throws, but allowing another offensive rebound to Devonta Abron made up for the two missed free throws, and Iowa States lead was cut to 14, 59-45.
Nader had a nice stop and spin to prevent any momentum from swinging to TCU. The Cyclones sent Abron to the line a few possessions later, in which he missed the second, but another offensive rebound off the free throw allowed Parrish to make a three and their next time down, the Horned Frogs' Chauncey Collins drilled one from deep. In a matter of 50 seconds, Iowa State's 14 point lead was cut in half, and Steve Prohm was forced to called timeout, clinging onto a 61-54 lead.
Playing it smart, Iowa State leaned on Niang to end the run, who made a nice hook shot after TCU elected not to help. Niang continued to carry the team, stealing the ball defensively and handing it off to Burton who made an easy layup a few TCU defenders decided they didn't want to end up on a poster.
But Chauncey Collins would not go away, hitting two threes in a minute and making it a 7 point game again. However, Niang continued taking over, making two free throws and hitting a three to give the Cyclones a 72-62 point lead. JD Miller responded with his third three...of his freshman season, and it remained a 7 point game until Burton made a strong move to the hoop for two more points.
The next few minutes became a back and forth battle in which the Cyclone offense went back to it's first half game plan and began leaning on Abdel Nader, who made a nice three and move to get the to basket to give the Cyclones 5 quick points. Niang also showed his skills in a spin move to the basket to give the Cyclones an 81-70 lead heading into the final media timeout. Collins hit another three to try and keep TCU in the game, but the Cyclone offense would not slow down, as Burton hit a couple free throws and made a nice shot off the glass to give Iowa State an 86-73 lead to force Trent Johnson to call another timeout with 2:32 remaining.
After allowing another offensive rebound, Niang was called for his fifth foul with 2:29 remaining. But that didn't stop Burton from throwing down his third thunderous dunk of the night to give the Cyclones a 10 point lead. After Burton made a huge block with 30 seconds remaining, the Cyclones were able to kill the clock and walk out with a 92-83 victory.
Wooden Award Top 20 nominee Georges Niang finished with 27 points, while Nader had 26 and Burton with 23. Thomas drilled four threes to help him score 16 points. Morris finished with just 2 points, but had 11 assists. McKay sat at the end of the bench, and did very little during the halftime warmups to show that he anticipated playing in the game.
The Cyclones finished the game giving up 21 offensive rebounds, and freshman JD Miller led the Horned Frogs with 19 points and 11 rebounds.
Iowa State plays West Virginia Monday night (Feb. 22) at 8:00 on ESPN.