Monday night was the last time Georges Niang, Jameel McKay, and Abdel Nader played in Hilton Coliseum. Tears were shed, rightly so, but business was still open for Prohm and Co. who had Oklahoma State on their mind.
With the Oscars being last night, the Cyclones decided to give out their best acting performances of the year. The first half, the two teams got together to make a Big 12 game look like a Big 10 conference game. But the second half was much different, as the Cyclones were able to perform their own version of Fast and Furious, putting up 22 points in the first 10 minutes of the half to lead them to a 58-50 win over Oklahoma State.
It appeared the Cyclones came in with a game plan to allow the seniors to be the first ones to get points; as Niang, Nader, and McKay took 12 of the first 13 shots of the game. Niang and Nader started the game appropriately, as Niang made some old man moves and Nader had two hard dunks and a three to combine for the teams' first 18 points of the game.
The offense struggled to get going, much like they did their first visit to Stillwater, but were fortunate to also have a slow start from the Oklahoma State Cowboys, who used seniors of their own in Chris Olivier and Jeff Newberry to lead them to an 18-16 lead at the 7:37 mark in the first half.
But Niangs' 99 awareness rating tied up the game, as he rebounded the front end of a missed one and one while the Cowboys watched and dunked it. Seconds later, Matt Thomas drilled a three to get the Hilton crowd going. But Oklahoma State's Joe Burton made a nice backdoor cut to slam one home to give the Cowboys a 23-21 lead.
McKay tied the game at 23 apiece off an alley-oop dunk with a soft pass from Niang. Burton followed up with an assist of his own to Niang three minutes later to give the lead back to the Cyclones. Niang returned the favor, giving Burton the ball for two more points. Iowa State was able to keep Oklahoma State from scoring the final 5:16 of the half until Newberry drilled a long two at the buzzer for the Cowboys. At half, Iowa State led 27-25.
The Cyclones held a 20-13 rebound advantage at the half, with the negative mark against them being 8 turnovers. Niang and Nader each had 10 points, while no other player had more than three.
Niang started the second half like the first, with a tough shot that he made look easy off the glass for two points. He also had another lob to McKay seconds later, who slammed it home. With the Hilton crowd now awake, Ford was forced to call a timeout just 1 minute and 19 seconds into the half.
The hot start continued as Monte Morris found Niang on a pick and roll. McKay then had a put back layup and on the next possession kicked it out the Thomas, who drilled a three to give the Cyclones an 11-0 start to the half, and a 38-25 lead and forcing Ford to call his second timeout of the half just over 4 minutes in.
A free throw by Tyree Griffin ended the run, but Niang kept the party going hitting a jumper and Nader drilled a three on the next possession. His next opportunity, he performed his Oscar nominee performance of his acting as Blake Griffin, dunking on Mitchell Solomon with such force that it is considered a felony in 38 states.
Nader with ANOTHER #SCTop10 WOW!!!! https://t.co/TDgGJ67Fec— Cyclone Basketball (@CycloneMBB) March 1, 2016
Nader hit another three the next possession and just like that, the Cyclones held a 49-32 lead with 11:35 remaining.
Hallice Cooke was nominated for an Oscar award for his performance as David in "David vs. Goliath," after he stuffed Oklahoma State's 7 footer Anthony Allen Jr. but Joe Burton drilled a three in response but a Jordan Ashton layup gave the Cyclones a 53-37 lead.
But the Cyclones got cold, allowing a 10-0 run to bring the Cowboys back within 6 points while Iowa State made just 1 of 10 - though a McKay dunk that should've been called goaltending was somehow missed by all three officials. The run was finally ended when Niang made the front end of a one and one. After a defensive stand, Morris hit two more free throws with 57 seconds remaining in the game, giving the Cyclones a 56-47 lead. Morris laid it in his next time down the court to make it 58-48.
After the Cowboys made two free throws, Morris brought the ball up and called timeout with 17 seconds remaining. During the substitution timeout Prohm took out his three seniors one by one: Abdel Nader, Jameel McKay, and Georges Niang received their individual curtain calls.
The Cyclones made just one field goal the final 10:39 of the game, but by scoring 22 in the first 9:21 of the second half, Iowa State was able to pull out the 58-50 victory.
It was a sweet end to the 4 year career of Georges Niang, who finished the game with 17 points, 10 rebounds, and 4 assists, while Nader led the team in points with 19 and 5 rebounds. McKay did his job as well, grabbing 10 rebounds while putting up 6 points.
The Cyclones head to Phog Allen to take on the Kansas Jayhawks Saturday at 3:00 PM on ESPN.